Carole and Ethan

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How We Met

I had just moved back to the rad city of Oakland, CA after teaching English abroad for a few years, so I had a ton of free time. I wanted to get to know Oakland, and wanted people to do it with, so I joined Okcupid. Ethan was my first date.

We discovered that we’re both lovers of the ocean and mountains, and our first date reflected our love of sports. We decided to go on a night hike up a mountain in Berkeley with head lamps and camp stoves. As we hiked up, owls hooted through eucalyptus and pine.

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At the top, we sat in the middle of a Stonehenge-like formation. The full moon was one of those really dark orange moons you get in October, and it rose between the formation’s pillars. I was impressed!

He took out a camp stove and cooked me up some ramen, made more delicious by post-hiking hunger. We did some acro yoga under the full moon. We spent half the night up there talking even though we both had work the next day. And by the time we got back to his truck, I was sold on him.

I was spoiled enough to have done all my scuba diving in the tropics. When Ethan first suggested we go diving mid-winter, I was in. For my birthday, he bought me a dry suit course so I could join him in the frigid Monterey waters.

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After the course, we were explorers in the sea. The life here is mostly small – nudibranch, tiny shrimp – except for the playful seals that nibbled at our flippers.

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We spent the next year in the Sierras, Utah, Hawaii, and the Cascades – rock climbing, ice climbing, mountaineering, diving. I was so happy to have his willingness to go on adventures with me.

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How He Asked

With the risk of sounding googly-eyed, I knew I wanted Ethan in the rest of my days. I always knew I’d rather propose than be proposed to. And since we’re ocean lovers, I knew I wanted to do it in the Pacific. (I’m the anenome to his clown fish!)

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We did a shore entry under a foggy sky in Monterey. We paddled out past the rocky shore and descended to the sandy bottom. I led us out to a field of matridian that we love. The white matridian is a soft, wavy coral that waves in the current. We were surrounded by these cauliflower trees. I unzipped a pocket and unfurled a series of signs. “I would be lucky if you would be my protagonist forever. Will you marry me?”

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I could hear his laughter underwater. We had to remove our air regulators to kiss for just a second, then we finished our dive. (Which turned out to be an awesome dive! We saw a dungeness crab EATING AN OCTOPUS.)

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Our wedding is next summer in a forest, and we’re so excited for a lifetime of being adventure partners!

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