Chanti and Joe's Proposal at Daytona Beach
how we met
A little over a year after we met came the day that would change my life forever. You see, when Joe proposed, he got to the essence of who I am. It all started with a smile and a click. Joseph liked the smile he saw on my profile picture and sent me a message complimenting me. Earlier in the fall we had both signed up on a dating site and were giving love one last chance. Of course I was pleasantly surprised by his compliment and thought he was cute. His next message was so open and honest that I didn’t quite know what to think. It scared me a little, but at the same time I was drawn to him. Messages turned into emails, then text messages, and eventually phone calls.
All was well except that Joe lived in California and I was in Florida at the time. I wasn’t able to move for the next few years due to a contract and I let him know this early to so that we wouldn’t be hurt in the future. I expected him to stop contacting me, but just the opposite happened! He called more often and our conversations would last for hours. A month later he was ready for our relationship to be exclusive and so was I. My feelings were all over the place, but at the same time I felt a sense of peace. Life as I knew it would become so much more than day-to-day living.
In March 2015 Joe made his first trip to meet me in person. I was so nervous when I drove to the airport that I started crying as I parked the car. All these emotions were going though my system and I didn’t know what to do. As I walked up to him at the airport I felt a sense of calm come over me even though I was still a little scared. The first few minutes were awkward because even though we knew each other, we were still technically strangers. It took us a few minutes to figure each other out, but once we did we flowed seamlessly together. It almost felt as if we’d shared the same space for quite some time. Joe left after three days and took my heart with him. After this trip, we were very blessed and could see each other each month for the rest of the year.
December 2015 brought with it many changes that brought us closer together. Joe accepted a position in a company a few miles from where I live which meant he would be moving to be closer to me. In January of this year Joe and I were finally able to see each other whenever we wanted. We were now “normal” and enjoyed our extra time together. I was able to appreciate who he was on a daily basis and he met me each day whether I was at my best or at my worst.
how he asked
In April Joe invited me to go on a helicopter ride. It was a few weeks away but I could tell that he was very excited about it. On April 24th we set out to a small quaint town called St. Augustine where we would take the helicopter ride. I thought he might propose during the flight while we looked at the beautiful scenery, but he didn’t propose. We then drove to Daytona Beach where we would attend an “event” on the beach outside of a hotel. After we left the hotel Joe and I walked on the beach towards the pier. This was the location of our first date when he had come to visit me a year earlier and being there brought back many memories. As we walked Joe started talking about who we are as individuals and as a couple. He summarized where we were a year ago and how far we’ve come. Everything he said was so meaningful and beautiful that I wasn’t paying attention to anything else around me.
When we were getting close to the pier I heard a saxophone playing in the background. I looked up and recognized the musician as the one we had gone to see at a jazz club for our Valentine’s Day date. Joe then asked me to slow dance on the beach, but that turned into a tight hug when I realized this was all for me. The song changed to “God bless the Broken Road” and I knew without a doubt that Joseph was about to propose. He told me to close my eyes and guided me to the pier where he hugged me once again before turning me and telling me to open my eyes.
By now we were under the pier and the first face I saw was of his Dad, Herman. I was so happy to see him that it barely registered that my sister was standing next to him with her phone out taking a video for posterity. As Joe handed her his bag I finally realized the biggest surprise of all. Joe had flown in my parents, all the way from Puerto Rico, just for this special day. That is when I broke down. My heart was so full it overflowed with emotions I never knew I had. My family means everything to me and Joe pierced my heart with that one act of love. He didn’t mind sharing this special moment with the people I love most in this world. Joseph then came to me and got down on one knee and tearfully asked me to marry him.
All I could say was, “I will, I will!” and kept crying through it all. As I looked up again my mind registered more faces of people I love. He had invited my closest friends here in Florida, my pastor of 20 years and his wife, and he had my friend Melissa from Georgia fly down with her daughters. We have been friends since kindergarten and I absolutely love her daughters. Each person there wore something in navy blue, my favorite color, and he had dozens of blue roses for me. By now I can’t stop the tears of love and joy flowing down my face and I can’t stop hugging Joe close.
He always had my heart, but with this proposal Joseph went above and beyond anything I could ever imagine. There are no words that can describe how I felt that day and how I feel each time I dwell on my memories of April 24th. He had a photographer and a videographer so that we would always have our proposal fresh in our minds. He put so much effort into the day and to top it off, he worked with my sister and my friend Melanie to have an amazing engagement party right after the proposal. The “event on the beach” he had referenced was the event that flipped my life and pushed it into high gear. Joseph and I thank God constantly for the indescribable way He brought us together. Neither of us could have imagined the kind of love we have discovered. We respect, support, encourage, and love each other through thick and thin. Gaining the love and support of our parents and family was a priority, and we experienced this tenfold on that day. I look forward to our life together and what God has planned for us. I thank Him every day for bringing such an amazing man into my life. This is just a summary of what has been an incredible beginning to our lives together and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us.