Brenda and Ryan

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How We Met: It was a beautiful early May weekend when Brenda and Ryan’s adventure began at a poolside resort. They were each attending a celebration of their respective friend’s bachelor and bachelorette parties in Palm Desert, California. While catching some rays, Brenda saw Ryan enter the pool and thought, “I have to meet him”. Conveniently, an hour or so later, Ryan nonchalantly swam up to her and introduced himself. After a bit of flirtatious chatting they went their own ways, but met again later that evening at the resort’s nightclub. Dancing the night away and talking for hours; the spark was ignited! Knowing they both had to go their separate ways at the end of the weekend, they both decided to see if this encounter was able sustain a long distance relationship. And so it did!

Ryan was stationed with the United States Coast Guard in Galveston, Texas, when they first met, and Brenda’s life was in San Francisco, so, they began relying on Skype for hours every night to get to know one another. A month or so later, Ryan visited Brenda in San Francisco while en route to Juneau, Alaska for his next assignment. They spent eleven wonderful days together, sailing the magnificent Bay, traveling up the Sonoma coast, attending the U.S.G.A. Open, taking Lacy (Brenda’s German Shepherd) to the beach, and enjoying one another’s company.

Two months later, Brenda and Lacy ventured up to Juneau. With everyone sporting their outdoor gear, even Lacy, they experienced the raw beauty of the great outdoors that ‘The Final Frontier’ has to offer. There was no shortage of fresh air, bears, porcupines, salmon, mountain goats, trails, waterfalls and glaciers. Their relationship grew with every adventure! Unfortunately, Brenda had to return to life in San Francisco and the Skype sessions were necessary, once again.

From the very beginning, they each made an effort to make the LDR (long distance relationship) work. Sundays have always been date night. They would make a list to buy the same groceries, cook the same dinner and watch the same movie; only somewhere between 2,500 and 3,000 miles apart (depending if you are a crow or not), yet making it feel like they were together. It was somewhere around two days or so to travel out of Alaska, not including a pricy plane ticket. They have always been creative in keeping the relationship alive. The more they spent quality time on Skype, the more it came natural to go about their daily lives, all while fitting with one-another perfectly.

Their next trip took them back to Brenda’s hometown for a long Labor Day week in Cleveland, Ohio. It was time for Ryan to meet the family and friends. Ryan and Brenda enjoyed quality time in Northeast Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and New York. He would experience a Browns game (converted fan now), attended an Indians game (caught a tee shirt and a ball – lucky duck), visited Great Aunt Rose (the family Matriarch), and even made it up to Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada (one the world’s natural wonders). What little time they would get to spend physically together always seemed to make up for itself during their travels.

The LDR continues throughout the autumn. In November, Ryan made another visit to San Francisco, on the way to Southern California. Brenda surprised him with a festive birthday party. Friends joined and they shared a big, early Thanksgiving meal together. The happy couple headed south to visit with Ryan’s family in Huntington Beach, California. They were thankful for so many things; including getting to meet Ryan’s grandfather, who was in the ICU at the time. Watching his grandfather improve brought extra smiles to everyone’s face. It was a beautiful week with the family.

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Fast-forward and many more memories and air miles documented… The spark turned into a fire and the fire into amazing true love. And with this love, Ryan and Brenda knew they wanted to spend the rest of their lives together. Waiting for just the right moment, Ryan planned a surprise that was quite hard to pull off (if you know Brenda, you’d understand). That moment included an impeccable day, weather-wise included, in Juneau, Alaska. The two love-birds took flight on a sea-plane headed to the Taku Glacier Lodge.They landed on the river, shared a fresh (caught that day) King Salmon, and found themselves surrounded by trees, a pretty snow from the winter, warm abundant sunshine, and of course the sparkling glacier. His proposal, warm and heart-felt, came preapproved by her parents, and he was down on one knee in the middle of beautiful God’s country. It was exciting and very romantic. Well, and as you know, she said “yes!”

And they lived happily ever after…