Arántzazu and Christian

How We Met: Christian (Chris) and I met about 6 years ago in my Chemistry II Laboratory course at the University of South Florida- he was my lab teaching assistant. The location could not be more appropriate, we both felt an instant chemistry between us. I was a very hardworking student, attending all of his office hour sessions to make sure my reports were impeccable, but spending time with Chris was my favorite part.

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After several hours of study and conversation, we became good friends and I always felt he had a very special place in my life. Unfortunately, we could not take our friendship any further at that time and we parted ways for a while. After years of dedication to achieve both of our ambitions, we reconnected and it was as if we had never spent any time apart. It appeared that destiny was biding her time to bring us together at the most ideal moment- when neither of us were expecting it. And we have been inseparable ever since.

How He Asked: Christian invited me to a”fancy” dinner the night after he arrived back home from a weeklong work trip to Wisconsin. He suggested I dress up and the rest of the details were a surprise. I had no idea what he had planned up his sleeve. It was the 19th-straight day of rain in Tampa with incredible flooding, something that is uncommon. Chris expressed throughout the week that he hoped the weather would clear up for dinner.

Well it didn’t and he had to carry me over puddles to get in the Uber we called. We didn’t have an umbrella so Chris over-paid the Uber driver $5 for the flimsiest umbrella to have ever existed. Walking briskly across Curtis Hixon Park while Chris was getting soaked from head-to-toe in his nice suit, wondering where the heck we were going to dinner and why we couldn’t be dropped off closer, I started to get annoyed.

I realized he had put forth all this effort to make this a nice night, so I decided to keep quiet and ride it out until we got to this mystery restaurant. Finally, we seeked cover under the Tampa Museum of Art, where there were a few different groups of people taking photos and playing music. I was baffled as to why anyone would want to take photos on such a rainy day. We finally turned the corner and Chris swings back around, drops everything we were carrying and says, “Babe, I need to talk to you.”

Now, the fact that he was nervous made it come across a little rough, which made me nervous! He started talking about how we were both graduating soon, without secure job offers and how it was hard to plan our future because of this situation. He went on to say that through all of the uncertainty, he knew without a doubt how much he loved me and that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me. He stepped to the side, got down on one knee and asked (using my full name) if I would marry him!

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I was so shocked that he had to ask twice, before I replied,”Of course!”

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After we shared that moment, I looked around and realized that he had hired a professional photographer to capture our story as it happened.

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The skies cleared and we shot our engagement photos for the next hour all throughout the park, including Chris’s first choice of engagement spot by the water before the rain made him change plans. We ended our night laughing about all the day’s events and talking about our love story at that elusive mystery dinner location (Malio’s Steakhouse).

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Photos by: Karolak Photography