Ali and Mike

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How We Met

Mike and I met while studying abroad in Rome 5 years ago. The first time I met Mike was at a pizza party that was being thrown by one of the priests at our school. I noticed right away that he was cute and tall. I began spending more and more time with him, and I quickly learned that he was hilarious. He always seemed to have a group of people around him in the library (not actually doing any work) but just making people laugh. After a few weeks of talking, we began going for walks together to the piazza near campus.

Since our school had about 200 students all living in the same small building, everyone was in everyone business. We began receiving criticisms for going on walks just the two of us and received many inquiries as to what was going on between us. As a way to divert their attention (or at least we thought we were being sneaky), we both began skipping the dinners provided at our school in order to have an excuse to go to a local pizza place every night.

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After a few weeks of this, and realizing how expensive it is to get pizza every night when dinners at school where already paid for, we would stop at a bench down the road and just talk and people watch. On the very last day of our semester, I finally agreed to start dating him. We had the conversation to start dating over Facebook message from across the library, because we were trying to keep things quiet. I will never forget Mike’s reaction when he read that message; he was leaning back in his chair and had to catch himself before he fell backwards! I was trying so hard not to laugh! Over the next few years, our relationship moved all over the midwest from Chicago, to Indiana, to Milwaukee, to Cincinnati, and finally settling in Madison. Our love for travel and each other sent us back to Rome in July 2016.

How He Asked

On July 9th, 2016 Mike and I went back to the city where it all started, Rome. We met and started dating there 5 years before while studying abroad. We visited all of our favorite spots, especially all the gelaterias! We went back to our old university and reminisced about all the great times we had there. Mike and I had rented an airbnb that overlooked Piazza Navona. The first night there, Mike had suggested we eat somewhere close by for dinner. We were both exhausted from traveling and running around all day, so I was completely fine with staying close by and going to bed early. As we were heading out to dinner, Mike asked if we could walk over the one of the fountains at the end of the piazza. We took a few pictures and then started making our way towards the middle of the piazza.

All of a sudden Mike stops and drops to one knee!

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Mike is not one to express his emotions (that me in the relationship) and has always been a man of few words when it comes to serious topics, so his proposal was short and sweet. Everything was such a blur that I believe I said “yes” but said it again a few hours later just to confirm.

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Mike, being on top of his game, set up a photographer and photoshoot with a local photographer. I was in such shock that I had no idea what I was suppose to be doing or how to take a nice picture, and since the photographer spoke Italian, he was unable to give us much direction. After about 15 minutes following the proposal it hit me that we were getting married! Once we were done taking pictures, Mike and I found a place for dinner and celebrated. Now if you ask Mike what his favorite part of that day was, it won’t be getting engaged, nope, it’s the fact that he got a litre of wine for 10 euros. Yep, that’s the kid I’m going to marry. :)

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