I first met Ioana Vintu at the "Artists Alley" section of the 2007 RIT Anime Club ToraCon, where I brought several gallery-sized prints to compete against other artists who instead had several-hundred A4 and wallet-sized copies of fanarts and doujinshi (fan-manga).
Well, I hadn't a modicum of business acumen, and considering I had no more money left to make smaller copies after having paid for the gallery prints, I thought I could if not sell at least one work (for the low-low price of $150), then I could hit people with the sheer size of the original work and come back next year with greater success.
I got attention and compliments by the baleful, although no undergraduate otaku could likely afford to shell out their savings for one of my huge prints—not after artbooks, wallscrolls, apparel, food and other swag, not to mention the cost of admission to the event itself—let alone have room in their dorm to hang it. I was convinced in the first two minutes of my being there that I wouldn't make dollar one, much less anywhere near a profit.
And then a lovely young woman with a Germanic accent seemed quite taken with the shot of me in my tattered jean-jacket, lying supine in a lava-colored stairwell.
I promised to hack $50 off the price, and she guarded the piece with me until the Alley was closed, during which we talked. And during which we also unfailingly broached the subject of her husband. She very kindly drove me and all of my prints (which that morning I schlepped to the convention under my own meager muscle power) back across campus to my apartment.
Ioana taught German part-time at RIT, so she could probably afford to spend a bit more than the majority of us morbidly indebted undergrads, but that didn't explain why her uncommonly pretty self showed up at a small anime convention in a small city near the banks of the smallest Great Lake, where the probability of us meeting seemed infinitesimal.
Back at my place we chatted some more, and I tried (as I do with all of my guests) to impress her with my Fisher-based hi-fi, which I could jack up to concert volume since my neighbors were students of the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. ;)
Oh, and forgive the leap backwards but she did mention back at the convention that she was also a jazz singer and had a small band, and that their first album was very nearly done. That was when, after I turned the hi-fi off, she let rip with her hi-fi. Jesus...
It's one thing to hear a vocal through loudspeaker, but when you've got someone in your room with you who can really sing—with a golden pitch and no inhibitions—it can really tear down the walls, if not paint them (and you) all sorts of tasty colors. Especially if, like me up until that point, you'd never before experienced such a thing.