Alexandra and Justin

How We Met

It was the first day of the fourth grade. Everyone was waiting to be called by their respective teachers. I looked around to all the familiar faces and then my eyes (& heart) stopped on one particular “new” boy. It was love at first sight. I snapped back to reality when my name was called to Mrs. Montano’s class. I sat at my desk, patiently waiting to see if he would be called in to my class. And he was. He was introduced to us as a new student named, Justin Rodriguez. My heart again stopped and also melted. I told only one friend that I was “in love” with the new boy. Later to find out, that he too was “in love” with me.

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The year flew by and we again, were assigned to the same fifth grade class. This time around, Justin’s best friend came up to me one day and said, “Justin likes you, do you like him?”. I couldn’t believe it, but I said, “Yes!” Shortly after, he began giving me teddy bears and cards for Christmas and Valentine’s Day (all of which are securely put away in a box). However, the “I Love You”, surprisingly, I technically said first. I came to class one day and placed a picture of me on his desk that said “I love you”, which he also still has today. I was embarrassed that I actually did that, but I guess it doesn’t matter at this point.

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We were so young at the time, barely even 10 years old. The years rolled by, and finally we reached our last year at the school, that being the eighth grade. That is when we actually started talking, “seriously”. We went on our first date, obviously a group date with friends and our parents, because we were only 14 and 13 years old, but it counts to us. Justin asked me to be his girlfriend on February 24, 2007.

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We stayed together throughout high school, while attending different schools. We also stayed together during four years of college, even though he moved to Virginia for those years. He came back after college and asked me the best question of my life on February 25, 2016. Even after all these years he still makes my heart stop.

How He Asked

In December 2015, Justin and I decided to make our Christmas gift that year a trip to New York, since he had never been. We booked the trip to take place during our 9 year anniversary, which was February 24, 2016. We invited his parents, my parents and our siblings, but they all “regretfully declined”. (I had always told Justin that it was important for me to have our immediate family with us when he proposes.) The next couple of months flew by and it was time for our trip. We landed early morning on February 24, 2016. We dropped off our bags at the hotel and we began our day there. It had been raining, but we didn’t let that stop us from exploring the city. That night, he took me to one of the coolest and most delicious restaurants I had ever heard of to celebrate our 9 years together (Beauty & Essex, I highly recommend it). The next day, once again it was raining. And, once again, we didn’t let that stop us. (Although, Justin was freaking out because his proposal plan was outdoors that night).

That night, I was excited for us to go to our first “rooftop bar” in the city. We got to the Z Hotel around 8:45 PM. He told the front desk that we had a “reservation” at the rooftop. The guy quickly ran downstairs and came right back to us and said, “Okay, take that elevator to the roof.” So we did. As the elevator doors opened, we were struck with how beautiful the scenery was from up there. We saw a beautiful bridge and everything. In this state of shock, I didn’t even realize that the bar was empty and there was no one there. I saw a flash before my eyes as we began to walk down a path of candles together. All of a sudden, I heard my dad scream “Surprise!” and our families came out. At this moment, I knew what was about to happen. Tears rushed down my face, as Justin walked me to the front of the rooftop.

He got down on one knee and said, “Make me the happiest man in the world, will you marry me?” It was the happiest day of my life. My childhood crush, my boyfriend of 9 years, and the love of my life asked me to spend forever with him. We all celebrated that night at the hotel restaurant. It was the most amazing experience of my life, so far. (Not to mention, he had a photographer capture every moment of this, and that was good, since all our family members were too busy crying to take photos.)

The rest of our trip was spent together with our families. It was the most memorable and special trip that I have ever been on. And now, we are counting down the days until we say “I do”, which will be on our 11 year anniversary, February 24, 2018.