Geoffrey and Erica
How We Met
Some of the most magical moments in my life have taken place while I have been traveling. I met Geo on a cruise I boarded out of Miami the spring of 2015 for my best friend’s bachlorette party. At the time, I was single, living my best life, and ready to have an awesome time with my girls. On the first night of the cruise, while dancing the night away with my sister, Geo introduced himself with his friends – who also happened to be celebrating a bachelor party! Immediately our groups clicked, and we spent much of the remainder of the trip together. On the last night of the cruise, Geo asked for my phone number to stay in contact. He told me if he were ever in Miami again (he was going to school in South Dakota at the time), he’d give me a call to hang out. I gave him my number, thinking I’d probably never see him again – but the thought of it was nice. Little did I know, I had just met the man I was going to marry!
Geo went back to South Dakota to study for his nursing boards, and I went on with my daily routine in South Florida. I got texts from him just a few days after the trip. We reminisced on the great time we and our friends had, and slowly started to get to know each other. Short texts became day-long banter, which turned into all-night phone calls, and then into 2 impromptu flights to Miami before he made up his mind that once he passed his nursing boards, he’d apply for a job in South Florida. Fast forward 3 and a half months from our cruise encounter, and Geo landed all 3 interviews he had lined up and became permanent resident of Florida – living only minutes away from me.
It didn’t take long for us to establish our relationship as “official,” and just a year later, he took me back “home” – Brussels, Belgium – to meet his family. It was my first time in Europe and I had fallen in love with the city, the food, the people, and his family and friends. He planned a short getaway for my birthday during the trip to Paris, and it was better than my dreams. Once we got back, I told him that with Brussels being so central, we should always pick a new city to explore for a couple days each time we come visit his family – and he agreed. At the beginning of 2018, I bought my first home, and a month later Geo moved in. Just a couple months later we were planning to return to Belgium for a family visit, and this time we would escape to Rome.
How He Asked
On June 13th we landed in Brussels, and the morning of June 18th, got ready to head over to Rome. Geo had told me he had made reservations at a really nice restaurant at 5:30 pm for that night that had a spectacular view of the city. I asked him why he had made the reservations so early (we are late eaters), to which he responded it was the only time slot available. That made sense, so I went with it. It was a short flight – we were set to leave at 7 am and arrive at 9 am in Rome. I was so excited! Rome had been on my bucket list for… forever! But what started off as an exciting adventure, quickly turned into a near mission impossible…
We went to the wrong airport of the two that are located in Brussels, and missed our flight. As usual, I panicked, and Geo stayed calm. By pure luck, there was one other flight set to leave at 10 am to Rome with only 2 seats left. Unfortunately, we had to pay a fee and wait till our original flight had left before we could reserve the two seats on the next flight out. I prayed for an hour. 200 Euros later – we were off to our destination! We got there 4 ours later than our original plans, and the baggage claim/transportation shuttle took up a good chunk of time on our first day. Arriving to our Air B&B at 3 pm, we were starving. Geo insisted that I start getting ready for dinner (if you’re wondering – yes, I take a “little” while to get ready), and I insisted on grabbing a snack. Geo can’t turn down food very easily, so we rushed downstairs to find something to munch on. Our room was located on a busy side street, walking distance from nearly every large attraction in Rome, so it was perfect! We ate the most amazing pizza in a little grab-and-go shop at the end of our street. Finally our hunger was satisfied and we headed back up to the room to get ready.
Geo finished in 15 minutes and stayed on his phone while waiting for me. Just 30 minutes into me getting ready, it started to rain. No, not rain – pour! With no umbrella, or shelter from the rain on the street, Geo told me it would be best to wait for the rain to die down before leaving. He had been pressuring me so much throughout the day to be ready on time, so I told him to call the restaurant and explain our situation, but he declined. “We’ll just figure it out,” he said. I found his approach a little strange, but I took advantage of the extra time mother nature was giving me and kept curling my hair. A half hour later the rain stopped and headed off to the restaurant – or so I thought.
We got to a main street and Geo called an Uber. As we were driving, he was pretty silent. I asked him if everything was okay and he said he was fine. I got so excited as I saw we were driving straight towards the coliseum! I started taking pictures and videos, as Geo told the driver to pull over to the side. I figured we were at the restaurant and I got out of the car. Geo took my hand and lead me up a little hill. When we got to the top, there was a a small, nearly vacant area surrounded by greenery, with a perfect view of the coliseum. The sun was shining so beautifully on the ruins that it really was a breathtaking sight. I asked him, “is this where the restaurant is?” He said, “yeah I think it’s this way.” and then started walking aimlessly around this small area, as if he was trying to find something. I said, “what are you doing?” To which he replied, “oh, just looking around… isn’t this beautiful?” I said, “yes, it really is. But don’t we need to get to the restaurant?” and he answered, “We will. Just take a look. Let’s enjoy the moment.”
He pulled me close to him and gave me a big, long, bear hug, and I started to laugh. He told me he loved me and then looked deep into my eyes and said, “Are you happy?” to which I responded, “of course I am.” (I mean, seriously how couldn’t I be?) “I’m so happy to be with you… you make me really happy,” he said, along with a bunch of sweet kisses and whispers I can’t remember word for word because it all felt like a dream. After a few minutes of holding each other, he stopped and said, “Well, I have one more thing for you…” And a moment later, the man of my dreams was on bending knee, with the most perfect ring in his shaking hand. “Will you marry me?” he asked as tears filled his eyes. I sobbed, literally, for a good two minutes before I could get actual words out. “Yes? Yes??? Take it!” he said! I shook my head ‘yes’ and started laughing. We shared multiple kisses and the best hugs. He put the ring on my finger. More tears. I was shaking – I was floating – I could not stop smiling.
“Bravo! Magnifico! Bella!” we hear from behind us. Not only had my boyfriend planned the most romantic proposal – he hired a photographer to capture the moment! What more could a girl ask for? The photographer, Gianfranco, took us around ancient Rome for an hour, as we celebrated our engagement together. We shared more laughs, smiles, and kisses as we went around the city. Our night was then followed by a delicious dinner with a spectacular view of the city at Roof Garden at the Hotel Forum. Rome will forever hold a special place in my heart.
We haven’t talked too much wedding details just yet – being so newly engaged – but we’re thinking a destination wedding next summer in the Caribbean (or possibly another cruise) might be the route we take. For now, I’m looking forward to our next adventure and having magical moments with Geo all around the world, for the rest of our lives.