Barbara and Shaun
How We Met
Shaun and I are both junior lawyers in Toronto. In 2014, Shaun was recently called to the Ontario bar, and I was still a law student studying for the bar exam. At the time, I was working at a law firm in Toronto that had offices all over the city. I was totally swamped with life and studying, on top of long hours at work, with absolutely zero time to meet anyone (let alone time to sleep and breathe!). One afternoon, my boss told me about a new lawyer named Shaun who they recently hired at one of our other offices. Over the next few weeks and months, this new lawyer and I spoke on the phone many times about work, but never had a chance to meet. I thought he was a super senior older lawyer based on his serious, stern voice, and he thought I was a high school summer student (I swear my voice isn’t that high pitched!). We got along well on the phone, but it never once crossed my mind that he could someday be someone special.
I was so wrapped up in my work and responsibilities, that I didn’t realize something and someone special could and would creep up on me. At the time, my parents kept putting off getting their Wills and estate documents done by a lawyer (I mean, who plans and looks forward to getting a Will done?! But, also, FYI, think about getting a Will if you don’t have one!). They finally told me they wanted to stop procrastinating on getting their legal documents done, and asked if I could arrange to get their Wills done at my firm. My parents wanted to come in on a Sunday, and, lo and behold, as the new lawyer at the firm, Shaun was stuck working at the office on a Sunday. I called Shaun during the week, and we agreed over the phone that my parents would come in on a Sunday afternoon to get their legal documents done with him.
Once again, I was totally oblivious that this could be someone special – after all, I totally thought he was a dinosaur and probably some stuffy old lawyer that would bore us to tears. My parents and I walked into the office that Sunday afternoon, and lo behold, Shaun definitely wasn’t the old dinosaur lawyer I’d envisioned him to be – totally the opposite, and definitely a lot more special and engaging than I expected (read: superrrr cute!) We met for the first time that afternoon while he took care of my parents (he billed them a total of $0.00. ;)). I later found out he was super nervous the whole time, and couldn’t believe I wasn’t what he’d imagined either. We eventually both left that law firm later that year, and became very good friends – the rest is history! By the way, yes, this also means he met my parents at the same time he met me. What a trooper.
How He Asked
After about two years together, on January 27, 2017, Shaun invited me to Toronto’s Distillery District for the first evening of the Toronto Lights Festival (a whole week where a portion of Toronto is lit up with various sculptures and light exhibits). The Toronto Distillery District had also been the site of our first date, at Soma Chocolatier (we spent our first date trying out Mayan hot chocolate at Soma – if you’re ever in the city, you should try it!). Soma was the first place we ever met up outside of work, and we loved going back to visit (not just for the hot chocolate, obviously, but also for the memories!) I hadn’t realized that Shaun had arranged for a number of our friends to follow us “undercover” (read: covered in a larger jacket with a hood of fur, so I wouldn’t recognize them). It totally speaks to my powers of observation (none) that I didn’t notice people following us around!
After strolling through the festival, Shaun took me to an area of bright sculptures and lights, right in front of Soma Chocolatier, and asked me to marry him. I was definitely not expecting it (once again – totally immersed in work, was completely caught off guard, and had no clue what he had been planning). I burst into tears, yelled out a super excited “yes”, and knew that in the midst of all the stress we had both been under when it came to career, work, school, and life the last couple of years, we both finally found a partner in each other who fully understood who we were, what we were, and who we hoped to be.
A couple of months after our engagement, we went back to the site of our very first trip together – San Francisco, California. We rented a car and spent a week travelling up the Pacific Coast Highway 1, stopping off in Los Angeles, Malibu, Santa Barbara, Monterrey, and all the cute little towns in between, to celebrate our engagement. We ended our trip at the Palace of Fine Arts, in San Francisco, where we first talked about our future together over two years ago. We’re getting married on Sunday, September 24, 2017, and we’re so excited to spend our lives together, working to balance our careers, future aspirations, and all the possibilities and opportunities we’re looking forward to pursuing in the coming years. Most of all, we’re so excited to do life together.