Ellery and Jeffrey

How We Met

It was the day before Ulpan started – Jeff and I had just moved to Israel for medical school, and neither of them knew any Hebrew. Jeff was in the little store on campus looking for his new dorm at the Technion, when I recognized this English-speaking red-head with a huge backpack and a giant suitcase and figured it had to be Jeff, the Canadian guy in my class. I pointed him in the right direction, and so our friendship began. We spent the summer attempting to learn Hebrew, exploring this beautiful country that was our new home, and quickly discovering that our new-found friendship was a special one. However, we did not start dating until December of first year. As time went on, Jeff tried to woo me by downloading my favorite movies for movie nights (cue the corny Disney music), cooking (he made salmon, but I hated fish at the time), and helping set up (and clean) my new apartment. By December, we were inseparable, and we officially became “Jellery.”

The next four years were spent studying together, traveling together, and spending time with our classmates who would become lifelong friends and family.

Ellery's Proposal in Maderas Volcano in Nicaragua

Ellery and Jeffrey's Engagement in Maderas Volcano in Nicaragua

Where to Propose in Maderas Volcano in Nicaragua

Engagement Proposal Ideas in Maderas Volcano in Nicaragua

How He Asked

Jeff’s version of the story: After several months of research, I was able to design Ellery the perfect ring. I was nervous, because there were so many options… round, oval, size, clarity, brilliance, 4 prongs, 6 prongs, diamonds on the sides, and baguettes. Fortunately, Ellery had given me many not-so-subtle hints. Additionally, I had recruited Ellery’s Mom, Hannah, Cousin Dani, and our close friend Brigitte (who happens to be a jewelry expert). Ultimately, I was able to design a perfect ring, but the big question remained– how to propose. We had been planning a trip to Nicaragua for a while, which was not particularly known for being a romantic getaway, however, I figured I could make it work! The options were a romantic sunset horseback ride on the beaches of San Juan Del Sur or a grueling 10 hour hike up a volcano. For better or for worse, I chose the latter. It turned out the hike was more a vertical climb. The hike was brutal at baseline, but to make matters worse, we had to traverse a cloud forest before getting to the top. During this already difficult trek, it started to pour. We had to jump from rock to rock to avoid getting stuck in the mud as we climbed. Despite all this, when we reached the peak, it was absolutely beautiful and worth every minute and every puddle we had to climb through to get there. At that point, I was regretting my decision because we were both covered in mud, exhausted, and the beautiful ring I had designed was in still in Detroit for fear of having it stolen (I borrowed a fake for the trip!). I decided to go for it anyway because what could be more special than getting engaged on top of a volcano in Nicaragua?!… nothing. I got down on one knee, took the fake ring out of my pocket, and muttered a proposal that was barely English because I was so nervous… even though I knew she was going to say yes (even to a fake diamond). She said yes, and the rest was history. We barely made it down the muddy slope, and we could barely walk for 3 days, but it was definitely the best hike of my life.

Ellery’s version of the story: It was fall of 2016, and we were deciding where to go for vacation in the spring. We decided on Nicaragua based on barely any research and one recommendation from a barely-acquaintance. At that point, Jeff and I had been together for 5 years, and it was no question we would eventually get engaged. After we booked the trip, I told Jeff “don’t even think about proposing to me in Nicaragua, it’s probably not safe to bring a ring there!” (I was more concerned about losing it during our adventures than having it stolen). As it turns out, Jeff listened to me!… kind of. Aside from some questionable clues a few day leading up to the proposal (secret texting with Zach, seeing Tapper’s website hours in Jeff’s phone’s browser, and finding a bottle of champagne in his backpack), I was extremely surprised!

When we got to the island of Ometepe, we knew we would hike to the top of Nicaragua’s second tallest volcano, Maderas. Jeff let me decide which day, and I picked day #1 (lucky for him, as that ring was burning a hole in his pocket!). When we finally reached the top of the volcano, we ate the sandwiches the hotel had packed for us for the trip and rested for a few minutes. After finishing my sandwich, Jeff just started giggling out of nowhere (a little creepy). When I asked him what was so funny, he said “you just have egg salad all over your face. Wipe it off so we can take a picture to prove we made it up here!” I did, and he handed his phone to our guide. The guide attempts to hand back the phone to Jeff saying “it’s on video, not photo!” Jeff says “it’s fine, it’s fine, just go with it.” (This is when I knew). Jeff fumbles in his pocket, gets down on one knee and says “(unintelligible gibberish)…but this isn’t the ring!..(something about adventures together)…but this isn’t the ring!…” I stop him and say, “I see that it isn’t the ring! I’ll take it anyway!” I let Jeff put the fake (but still pretty) ring on my finger, and we hug and kiss, etc. We start our trek back down the mountain (thank goodness he proposed because I might not have made it back otherwise, I was so tired), and five minutes later I realized he never actually asked if I’d marry him. When I brought this to his attention, he insisted on a do-over! He handed our guide his phone, got down on his knee (again), and ACTUALLY popped the question. I could never have imagined a more fun or more “Jellery” proposal. It was perfect.