Ashley and Gareth

How We Met

On the 15th of December 2013, Gareth and I first spoke. I live in Brockton, MA and Gareth is from Belfast, Ireland. We texted for a few months and finally skyped for the first time on Valentines Day in 2014. We both made so many plans to meet but nothing was going right. We kept working towards it and one day, we received news that Gareth was given the opportunity to move to Decatur, IL to place ice hockey! We went from being 3000 miles apart (AKA the Atlantic Ocean) to around 1200, only 5 states away! When Gareth was settled with his new team and billet family, we decided it was time to finally meet. On September 26th 2014 I flew to Chicago to see Gareth for the first time, where he was waiting to surprise me with my favourite flowers. We had the most amazing 3 days together. Gareth flew to Boston and spent a few days there with me, meeting my family while we spent more time together. We flew together to Belfast where I met his family and we spent Christmas together. We had to part ways again, but Gareth was injured and had to end his season early. When he found out he couldn’t play anymore, he decided to come spend more time with me. We were together in Massachusetts in February 2015 when there was about 6 feet of snow, so it was very fun being snowed in together. Gareth’s visa ran out and he had to go home, but we spent the summer together in Ireland.

Ashley and Gareth meeting

Giants Causeway Trip 1

How He Asked

I came back to Belfast on October 1st of this year. My birthday was on December 11th and Gareth told me he booked a hotel and we were going to the Giants Causeway (for the second time, because I loved it so much the first time we went) for 2 nights. We got to the causeway and walked along the cliffs and eventually made our way down to the actual causeway. We walked around some more down there and we climbed to the top of a higher rock pile. Gareth told me to wait there while he went to set up the tripod so we could take our picture there. He just bought the tripod on Amazon and we have been using it to take a lot of pictures of ourselves, especially on this trip. We had already used it a few times, and I thought nothing of it. When Gareth climbed back up to where I was standing and waiting, he pulled the red box out of his pocket and got down on one knee. He asked me if I would marry and spend forever with him. I was so completely surprised, and it feels like a dream now, but I can remember bursting into tears and nodding my head like crazy. The other people there clapped and said congratulations. We walked around the rocks a little more and one of the rangers told us that just after Gareth proposed, dolphins swam by. We looked out past some more rocks and sure enough, there were about 10 dolphins in total jumping and swimming through the water. The woman said that they hadn’t seen dolphins in the area since the summertime and it is unusual for them to be there at this time of year. Gareth was so thoughtful when it came to planning the proposal and it was a complete surprise. He is my soulmate and I believe that we are meant to be together forever. We overcame 3000 miles of distance between us, when so many people doubted us.

Gareth Proposing

Showing off my ring :)

Top of the cliff