Carly and Jarrod

How we met

I am from a small town in south Georgia. Jarrod is from a small town in South Africa. After college, I took a job teaching English as a second language in Yeosu, South Korea. I was looking for adventure and what screams adventure like a fishing town on the other side of the world! I was there for almost a year before meeting Jarrod. Yeosu has a relatively small expat population so when he arrived the following year, I knew about him before he knew about me. A friend of mine saw Jarrod in a group of guys we have never met before going for a run on her street. As setting up a well-placed lemonade stand was out of the question, I had to wait for a causal introduction a week later. After a month or so of being friends, we started dating and soon realized the relationship was pretty serious. We spent the year traveling, singing karaoke, eating and basically having all the fun that could be had. We were literally best friends (that could kiss)! At the end of our contracts, Jarrod asked me to come to his home country of South Africa. It was a risky decision to make since we were dating just under a year but life with him was so much fun and I could not imagine allowing it to stop based on geographical differences. So I went. After a few months, Jarrod’s job relocated him to Maputo, Mozambique leaving me behind in Durban. I had just landed a pretty cool job and could not leave until the end of the year. It was another brash decision but life is full of them. It definitely seemed like ours was going to be.

Our year apart was hard, but luckily Jarrod was able to visit often. At the end of that year, I moved up to Maputo. I travelled across borders often for work and immigration requirements. After two years, I felt unsatisfied with my career and we decided perhaps moving to America would be our next adventure. January 2016, I went home to Georgia to begin the immigration process for Jarrod to join me. Not knowing how long it would take, he remained working in Mozambique. After months of paperwork, interviews and heartache, we got the news that we were finally approved as of the end of May. However, the exiting consultation required for visa holders could not be scheduled until October due to high volumes in Johannesburg. Crushed. Another hurdle Jarrod and I had to overcome just so that we could be together. Time and time again we have had to remind each other the life we chose may be difficult at times but loving each other is the only option we had.

How he asked

Finally, Jarrod was to arrive October 27th in Atlanta. Flights were booked and plans were made. As I was gushing on Facebook that my boo was starting the 25 hour journey from South Africa, he had actually flown into Atlanta 3 days prior! Jarrod wanted to ask my father for my hand in marriage in person and surprised him at his front door in south Georgia. He has been lying to me for days and faking the time zone differences! He then organized with my best friend, Dustin, to make sure I would be in Piedmont Park on October 26th. Dustin devised a plan to have me meet him somewhere and then have to walk through the park to go meet others for a drink. A couple I am friends with were plotted near the lake to stop me on my way over. I somehow did not find this unusual at all.

The thought had crossed my mind that if Jarrod was going to ever surprise me with an engagement, he would have to pull something as elaborate as showing up in America unannounced. I was an event planner, after all. I was speaking about my plans for picking up Jarrod at the airport and how excited I was. In mid-conversation, the small group grew a little quiet which caused me to turn around to see Jarrod walking towards me holding flowers.

I, in total shock, screamed “What are you doing” over and over and fell into tears as he gave me a huge hug. The months of waiting and missing those hugs melted away as he told me some very sweet things that I do not remember a word of. As the sun was setting, Jarrod went down to the traditional one knee and asked for me to be his wife so that we never had to be apart again.

Special Thanks

Aline Marin Photography
photographer