Hanna and Gregory
How We Met
We met in the study lounge of our college dorm through mutual friends. Neither of us was particularly interested in being the first to express interest, so we both tried to stage run-ins with the other, but missed terribly. He started taking the elevator (I lived on the 6th floor) and I started taking the stairs (he lived on the 4th); he started studying in the coffee shop of the International Studies building (my major), and I started studying in the art building (he was a music minor). After a few weeks of assuming that the other must be actively avoiding the other, I finally admitted it to him and we had our first date that night – Chinese takeout in my dorm room.
How He Asked
He coordinated his entire family coming in from Nashville and my family and friends, both local and from my hometown in Connecticut, to be there. I knew his family was in town, I thought just to celebrate the completion of his masters degree, mid-way through his Doctorate in Psychology. After lunch my mom suggested that I walk her home and meet up with Greg and his family a bit later, on the way, we ran into my sister (who lives 6 hours away) sitting on a park bench – I was completely surprised to see her and her only response to my repeated “why are you here?” and “why didn’t you tell me you’d be in DC this weekend?” was only answered with “because I have a clue for you”. The scroll read, “Go to where beauty abounds like Spanish moss and the first steps of a Saturday afternoon stroll may begin.”
We made our way to the Spanish Steps where two of my friends were waiting with their own clue, “Go to where our shared passion for social justice stands in the form of a statue.” And off we were to the Gandhi statue, where another friend that had made the trek from Connecticut was waiting. “Go to the place you shared with me to keep my hair looking ‘Dupont Fresh’.” After a brief pit stop for a photo shoot in front of some conveniently painted wings, we found my mom outside a hair salon with the final clue, “Go to the circle of love where the promise of our future awaits you.”
At this point, I have finally figured out what’s happening (it all happened so fast, I was still concerned why my sister hadn’t told me she was coming to town) and am completely giddy with excitement! The six of us walked into Dupont Circle to find Gregory’s whole family waiting with cameras ready, our friend and musician armed with his guitar and Gregory standing in the middle with the biggest grin. Our friend played an acoustic mashup of Taylor Swift songs while Greg and I hugged, and laughed, and cried.
We held hands as he read the speech he had prepared before he got down on one knee for the last line. In one of my favorite moments, he had to stop mid-sentance, and ripped his coat pocket a bit, to get the box out. I exclaimed, “Yes! Absolutely!” before our friends and family rushed in to hug us.
We all made our way back to our apartment where Gregory had planned a surprise engagement party, our friends had made a fabulous spread of all our favorite foods and we spent the evening looking at the pictures and laughing about all the times “I thought I had lost my clue!” or “I almost said something in front of you!”
It was an incredible day. I was so impressed that he had orchestrated the whole thing (organizing 12 people that live in different states can’t be easy) and I am so grateful that we got to share it start to finish with our friends and family.