Proposal after Salsa Dancing

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How We Met (his point of view): The first time I met Emily was my sophomore year of undergrad at A&M. My friend Kevin was in the same organization she was, and one day when we were walking through the Langford Architecture building where we lived throughout most of our undergrad, we passed Emily sitting on one of the couches on the first floor. He stopped to talk to her, and introduced me. We parted ways, and I remember thinking, “Wow those were some blue eyes.” Emily remembers absolutely none of this.

The first time Emily met me was at the “Welcome First Years” party right before my first year of grad school began at A&M. I was making the rounds introducing myself to people I didn’t know, when that girl with the beautiful blue eyes I had met two years previously caught my eye a little on down the way. “Wow,” I thought, “I didn’t know she was still around. Totally going over to talk to her ASAP.” I didn’t want to seem too desperate though, so I kept making the rounds as if I hadn’t just been knocked off my feet. She totally stole my thunder though, and walked right up to the conversation I was having with someone else and introduced herself! After some quick back-and-forth, she asked me if I would like to go salsa dancing with her and her friends after the party. I managed to fumble something out of my mouth in the affirmative, and made a mental note that I was going to make every effort to get really good at salsa dancing. For the rest of the night, I hung out at the party very casually and smoothly keeping track of the whereabouts of “Emily, the salsa dancer.” I tried to have a few intelligent conversations with her, but when you’re struck dumb, you’re struck dumb, sooooo yah. I managed to lose (barely!) in a dance off on some video game, making a fool of myself in the process.

At some point I lost track of Emily and she left the party, and I left soon after. I missed out on salsa dancing, but planned on getting in touch with Emily as soon as I could. This proved exceedingly difficult, as I didn’t have her number and I rarely saw her in person. So don’t judge me, but I contacted her over Facebook messaging and struck up a very casual conversation about when the next time they were going salsa dancing was and where it was held. I was so smooth, she had no idea I liked her. I met her and her friend Rachel at salsa a couple days later and it was literally one of the best nights of my life. I had so much fun with her that night, I got my first nickname from her (Bubbles?), we had our first long conversation (4 hours!!) outside after salsa, and I got her number so no more Facebook messages!

Our first date did not really go according to plan. I forgot to make a reservation at Cheddars, so we had to move to Olive Garden, which wasn’t too bad, except that it was so loud we couldn’t hear each other without shouting across the table. We were supposed to see Lion King 3D in theatres afterwards, but I mixed up the movie time so we missed the showing. We rented a movie at Redbox instead, but in the middle of watching that movie my sister calls me and asks me to take her to a retreat for her organization at a local church. So we had to stop the movie and take her (Jessie had no idea that I was on a date), but I learned later that I got brownie points for being nice to my sister so it worked out.

Shockingly I did enough right on that date that she was ok with going on a second. The rest, as they say, is history.

How We Met (her point of view): By my third year of grad school, I was not expecting to meet my future husband in the Viz lab & I had kind of accepted that I would have to wait until I left College Station to meet him. However, God decided to surprise me with a pretty attractive first year that caught my attention at the meet & greet party the Saturday before school started for my last semester.

While sitting on the porch outside fellow n-th years, I saw this guy in a comic t-shirt that had to be a first year because I didn’t recognize him. (By this time, I was considered an n-th year. I had been there so long that I didn’t deserve a number anymore. True story.) The first thing I noticed was that he obviously worked out & wasn’t short. Two checks so far!

He was talking with a girl that occasionally went salsa dancing at the same place my friends & I went, so I casually stopped to say hi to her & ask if she & her boyfriend were going that night. I then turned to the new cute boy, introduced myself, & invited him to come along. (How smooth was that?!) He said “Oh yeah! Maybe!” Then that was that.

Later in the evening, Kinect was keeping everybody entertained & I happen to walk into the room as Jake was losing in the dance-off. (I still don’t know how he lost.) He moseyed over to where I was standing & I could not for the life of me think of anything to say to him. Turns out, neither could he. See photo:

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A few days later, I got a Facebook message from Jake, & as soon as I saw who it was, I thought, “Oh no. He likes me…” Jake said that he was glad to meet me, he was bummed that he missed salsa, & that I needed to tell him next time we went. I emailed my friend, “Uh…I think this first year kid likes me…” I didn’t know yet if I was interested in him, & I was honestly getting hung up a little that he was 2 years younger than me.

We continued talking on Facebook which morphed into real-life conversations. A few days later, I invited him salsa dancing again with me & a friend, & it was that night that Rachel leaned over & whispered “I like him” with that you-should-definitely-date-him look. After she left, Jake & I found ourselves sitting outside at a table for the next 4 hours talking. The only reason we left was because the restaurant closed, & as he walked me to my car, the homeless man made us hug goodnight.

After that, we hadn’t run out of things to talk about yet, & eventually we got into an argument over which Ocean’s movie was the best. A marathon was the only way to answer the question. (In case you were wondering, Ocean’s 11 is the best.) After we finished the third one (we spread this out over two nights), Jake walked me to my car & told me that he would like to take me to dinner. We had our first date on September 23, 2011, which did not go according to plan but was still really fun.

It was during dinner of our second date a few days later that I had the sudden realization that this was the boy I was going to marry. I guess it is true what they say, when you know, you know! The way he belted out the songs during The Lion King in the movie theater later that night that convinced me even more. I only had to wait 556 days for him to propose!

How He Asked: Several weeks ago, I received a Facebook message from my friend Rachel informing a group of us that she & her new husband were visiting College Station & wanted to celebrate her birthday with Salsa dancing. Of course I said yes! I hadn’t been in so long that it was high time that we go. But first, Jake & I had a formal to go to.

Jake’s sister is part of the Philadelphia Sisters & Friday night, after a delightfully romantic take-out dinner of Subway in the corner of the Astin Mansion, Jake & I manned a photo booth for a few hours:

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Saturday, after a wonderful lunch at Fuego, Jake played video games while I stressed over taxes. Five hours later, I finally hit a breakthrough & we celebrated by going on a walk. I know, we’re super exciting people. Side note: Quickbooks is awful. Don’t use it.

We met up with a few people for dinner, then headed home to get ready for Salsa. We had two hours before we had to be there at 10, but because I was feeling tired, I debated on taking a shower. I was just going to get sweaty again, so why bother? “You sure?” Jake kept asking. “No, let’s just go watch Once Upon a Time, then I’ll go change clothes.” I don’t know if it was planned or not, but Jake’s roommate had commandeered the TV & Once Upon a Time wasn’t an option. I finally went back to Jessie’s & showered. It’s a good thing I did.

Salsa was wonderful, as usual, & after a few open dance floor songs had played, Jake & I decided we were tired & hot, so we stepped outside. Two feet from the door, Jake suddenly whips out a journal & smiles, “I want to read you something.” “…ummm…ok? But let’s move down the sidewalk a little bit.”

Jake starts reading, “July 31, 2012.” What happened on July 31? I don’t remember that date…? Hmmm… By this time, he was halfway through the first paragraph & I was totally lost. From the few words I was hearing, I finally realized “Oh my gosh! Is he proposing?!?!”

“I apologize in advance for how long it will actually take for me to ask you to marry me.”

Oh. It’s not happening. But this is still sweet!

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What I hadn’t realized was that this entire journal entry was written on July 31, 2012. In other words. YES, IT WAS HAPPENING. Then, I looked up & saw a camera poking around the corner. WILL??!?!?!?!!

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As Jake pulled me down the sidewalk & down the steps, I noticed some musicians set up. I kind of dismissed it with a “Oh, it’s Bryan, people are always playing instruments on the sidewalk. NO WAIT! I KNOW THEM ALL!”

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By the time I realized Jake was actually proposing, I kind of quit listening. Not because I wanted to, but because I was in such a state of shock! I’m sure what he was saying was beautiful & well rehearsed. In the photo above, I actually remember telling myself to pull my hands away from my mouth so I would end up with photos of my full face. Always aware of the cameras!

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So, in the end, I found out that Rachel’s Facebook message to everyone was all Jake’s idea. She took it a step further & included people on the list that I didn’t know so that I wouldn’t get suspicious. Jake’s sister had treated me to a mani/pedi on Friday as “payment for doing her hair & makeup for the formal.” My sister Ellen was extremely sneaky in helping me pick out an outfit to wear Saturday & masterfully handled my sudden how-funny-would-it-be-if-Jake-proposed-because-my-nails-are-done comment. Excellent work was done by all.

Some celebratory photos with the family!

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Proposal Photos by Will Todd Photography // Emily is also a photographer (the ring shot above is her photo!)