Emily and Mark
How We Met
Mark and I met probably over 8 years ago! We had a bunch of mutual friends (including his younger brother) and had met a few times at some college parties. We actually went to different colleges but would end up at a few of the same parties. It’s funny because if you ask us how we met we have different stories. I remember meeting at a Halloween party but barely speaking. He remembers meeting a whole month earlier at a different party (and I definitely don’t remember seeing him or meeting him then).
Regardless, fast forward 3 years… I was with an ex of mine and one day randomly got a message from this acquaintance named Mark. At the time I was hosting a small and relatively unsuccessful fashion blog. He had stumbled upon it and checked it (and me) out so he decided to message me. He told me I looked great and the blog looked great. As I mentioned, I was with one of my exes and didn’t think much of it.
Fast forward another 5 months or so and I was now single and in my final year of college. We still had a bunch of mutual friends and through one of them, I had heard that he was now working in California! We’re originally from Toronto, Canada so living and working in California is a pretty big deal. Hearing this definitely piqued my interest so I decided to be brave and send him a message on Messenger/Facebook.
3 days later he responded with something super bland and typical indicating he probably wasn’t interested. That didn’t stop me. I continued to bother him every couple of days and eventually, he got better at responding and much more engaged in the convos. A few months passed and we were doing a kind-of long-distance friendship thing where we messaged often and occasionally FaceTimed. He wasn’t due to come back from California for another couple of months so we kept our relationship relatively platonic.
Finally, the day came, Mark landed in Toronto and the first thing he did was a beeline to see me at 5 am. The first day we re-met (if you discount the random college parties) was definitely something I had yet to experience. It was a strange cross of shy and embarrassed yet excited. We chatted for hours.
How He Asked
One thing that we share is that we both love to travel. We’ve been together for over 5 years and visited over 13 countries together. We’re always planning our next adventure together and looking forward to crossing things off our bucket list. So, when Mark booked a surprise trip to Hawaii for our 5 year anniversary it wasn’t all that crazy and didn’t really prompt me to think anything was off.
So we head to Maui, Hawaii at the beginning of March 2018 and all normal… it’s day 2 of our trip and we’re heading out for a hike. We wake up at 5 am to get ready and head out to Haleakalā National Park to hike the Pipiwai Trail. It’s about a 3-hour drive from where we were staying so we had to get up early.
Finally, we get there and I’m super relieved to be out of the car. I get carsick relatively easily so the 3-hour car ride was not the most fun. We get prepped the beginning of the trail and make sure we’ve got our water and camera gear ready then we set off.
The day we went hiking the already super narrow and uneven trail was SUPER muddy.. clearly, it had rained recently and super smart me had worn my brand new all-white Nike sneakers. The hike was 1.5 hours up and I probably complained for a combined 45 minutes.. we biked up past an epic Banyan tree, a beautiful bamboo forest and then finally ended up at the end of a trail near a waterfall.
The waterfall was in the distance and a sign was in front of us that read “Do not go any further, fatalities have occurred”. I didn’t think too much of it and started to turn around to head back down… Mark then asked: “Hey do you wanna hike past the sign and go see the waterfall?”.
I was like “.. oh no… people have died..”. Then a friendly stranger pipes in and adds “I’ve actually been on this hike a bunch of times and this sign is super new.. I was here 2 months ago and it wasn’t here. I’m sure people still hike down to the waterfall”.. I was not convinced. Mark saw it on my face and decided not to push it any further and let me continue to hike back (little did I know this was his original proposal spot).
So as we’re heading back down which is just the original trail but backward, we get to the beautiful bamboo forest. Mark suggests we take a picture together as we often do on our trips. I look around and the same friendly stranger that chatted with us near the waterfall was a few steps behind us. So I asked him if he didn’t mind taking our photo with our camera. He agrees and helps us take a few with our camera.
After a few shots, he offers to take some on his camera (his camera is obviously significantly nicer than ours) and says he doesn’t mind emailing them to us as his lens offers a much wider shot. We agree (why not) and he snaps a few pics for us. Just as I take a step towards him to grab our camera and gear back from him .. Mark pulls me back and says “Nono, let’s take one more!”
This is when it clicks to me… why? Because Mark never wants to take more pictures together. He’s firmly in the ‘one or two is enough’ camp. So I look over to him and I can see it on his face! He’s super nervous and gears are turning in his head!
The rest of mostly a blur and honestly I don’t remember all the details but he got down on one knee, said something super sweet and then I must have said yes!
Turns out the friendly stranger was a photographer Mark had hired so we got the whole thing photographed :)