That time that my second job was International Detective

This is a story of a small business owner who played international detective to solve a mystery.

One day, I got an order for a customized ketubah. The customer had ordered the ketubah with filled-in text, when I sent them an email asking for the information I need to fill in their text, something unprecedented happened --- the email bounced. The phone number on file also had the wrong number of digits – so all I had to go by was the name and shipping address. One would think that would be enough to find someone in this day and age, but all my Googling did not turn up anyone by that name at that address.

The next morning, I got the following email (from a disguised email address):


I replied to the email, but of course it bounced again. Now, a normal person might have waited, assuming the customer would try to reach out again, or cancel their order and place it with the correct email address. But I am not a normal person. 

So I put on my overcoat and took out my large magnifying glass. 

These were my clues:

  • The name “Oren” on the shipping address
  • A shipping address in Brooklyn
  • The name “Catalina” 

Eventually I found an online gift registry for an Oren and Catalina who were getting married soon. So this confirmed that Oren and Catalina were indeed, most likely, the bride and groom's names. But still no contact information… I found an Oren and Catalina who were engaged on Facebook (luckily there was only one such couple!) but this presented another mystery, this particular Oren and Catalina lived in Costa Rica!

Could these really be my customers? Why was their shipping address in Brooklyn?  I tried messaging them, but since we had no mutual friends, my messages landed in that frustrating desert known as the “other” folder.

A normal person would have let it go and trusted that the hands of fate would lead Oren and Catalina to me  – if these guys were even the right Oren and Catalina!

But this is not the story of a normal person, so I didn’t give up. 

The Spanish language Google Gods led me to the gorgeous Los Altos Resort in Costa Rica, where there was a manager named Oren. How many Orens could there be in Costa Rica? Yes, you are guessing right about where this is going.

A normal person would not place an unsolicited call to someone’s job (who may or may not even be their mysterious customer). But as we know, this is not the story of a normal person, so I proceeded to dial the Costa Rica phone number and attempted to explain in my very elementary Spanish who I was and why I needed to speak to the manager. Kids, don’t try this at home.

The conversation went something like this: 

Nice Resort Employee: Hi! How can I help you?

Crazy Ketubah Artist: Hi! I need speak Oren. Please.

Nice Resort Employee: Oren is not available right now, can I take a message?

Crazy Ketubah Artist: My name Anna. I call about wedding. He buy a thing for wedding. A paper for wedding. (in my defense, you go try to explain “Jewish premarital contract” in a language you only studied through the third grade!)

Luckily, the kind employee took pity on the frantic lady with the Neanderthal Spanish and shared his manager’s email address. The rest is history.

Oren and Catalina got married at the incredibly scenic Los Altos Resort in beautiful Costa Rica and loved their ketubah – and they loved the story of how the ketubah artist found them even more.

Now we are Facebook friends, and I have a feeling that this is only the first of many times that our paths will cross.

Photos by El Velo Photography, Costa Rica

So thanks, Oren and Catalina, for not getting mad at this slightly crazy small business owner for finding you in such an unconventional way. Wishing you a huge Mazel Tov and many, many more happy years together!  


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