Heni and Thomas
How We Met
Our story goes back to 2004 when I was in my first year of high school. I was a young girl in constant search of love. One day I was preparing to go home from boarding school, when one of my roommates introduced me to her boyfriend. I can’t recall all the details as it was a brief encounter, however I do remember his curly hair and his lovely dimples. His name was Thomas. I thought he was an interesting character. At that time I used to wonder what it would be like to be able to see my future. I was always wondering what my life will be like, and what my future husband would look like. I strongly believe that this encounter was written in the stars and my wish to take a glance at my future was granted.
I did not see him again until 2011, when I was in college in another city in Romania, and our paths crossed again. We ended up volunteering at the same non-profit organization, we kept seeing each other at different events, and we were again formally introduced at a youth camp. I knew who he was right away, I remembered his face. He did not remember me at all.
After the camp we talked on messenger every single day, sometimes we would even stay up all night and wait for the sunrise, and talk about all sorts of things. About life. About love. About things we wanted in life. We felt that we’d found something special. It was definitely a “butterfly-in-the-stomach” moment.
Our first date was at a wine tasting, and I remember not being able to keep my mouth shut from all the smiling. After our date we had our first kiss, which was again absolutely magical.
However, we were both coming out of broken relationships, and the butterflies quickly vanished. We sat down one day and agreed to stay friends. Looking back at that moment, we believe it was the best thing that could have happened to us. After we went separate ways we both had the opportunity to find ourselves and grow into the people that we are today. We still kept seeing each other here and there, and we almost ended up meeting at a New Year’s Eve party in Prague, however we slowly disappeared from each other’s lives.
After 6 years, we were living on different continents with an ocean between us, him working in London, and myself studying in Buffalo. By that time I was ready to settle down after so many failed relationships. He was in a broken relationship for a very long time, and was ready to move on to the next chapter of his life. So it happened, that he was traveling to the U.S. and I saw his post on Facebook. I commented on his photo that he should come visit me, and he called me on my mobile. We started catching up on each other’s lives and what we had been up to the past couple of years. We talked for hours and hours again without even noticing the time difference, and finally we decided to meet up in North Carolina. The moment when I saw him at the airport I felt that instant connection again. Suddenly everything made sense. We felt that we were preparing for this encounter our whole lives. I always used to tell my best friend: “When you know, you know…”, but I’m not sure I always knew what that meant. We believe that we both knew that moment that we had found something so unique and special, that we should hold on to that for the rest of our lives.
After an unforgettable weekend on the beach of the Atlantic Ocean, where we had our first second kiss at sunrise, we both returned home with the hope of continuing our cross-Atlantic relationship.
How He Asked
I was living in the U.S. and he was living in the U.K., and we were commuting between the two continents like other people commute to work. There were many flights, many hours of FaceTime and countless text messages. There was no difficulty in our relationship, not even thousands of miles away, until something unexpected happened…
We used to surprise each other often. I once surprised him when he come over to Buffalo by making him believe we are going to a work event at a hotel, and instead took him to a fancy hotel room with a Jacuzzi, champagne and romantic setting. He said never in his life was he that surprised. One day he also wanted to surprise me. He had it all figured out and it was supposed to be a huge surprise because I wasn’t expecting him to fly to Buffalo that weekend. He even asked someone to send text messages on his behalf from London so that I didn’t suspect anything. He wanted to meet me at an actual work event of mine and send me an envelope with the waiter to come outside. He also booked a romantic suite at the hotel where my work event was taking place. Unfortunately, that night he got stuck in Canada, as he flew to Toronto, on the other side of the Niagara Falls. They stopped him at the border because his many travels to the U.S. started to become suspicious, and they wouldn’t let him cross the border. That day we were only able to wave at each other at the U.S.- Canadian border, him being on the prettier side of Niagara Falls in Canada. That day was very important in our story for two reasons: it made us think about the future and about moving in together, and it was also the day that I was supposed to receive a very special gift from Thomas. The gift was for our third monthiversary and it was a collage of our FaceTime screenshots, with a secret hidden message that said: “Will you marry me?”. Of course, the message was only visible on the digital version of the photo collage, but Thomas wanted to give that to me so that when he proposed he would be able to prove that he already knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me back then.
After the border incident, we started preparing my move to London, as Thomas was still not able to travel to the U.S. Our long distance relationship became slightly more challenging as I was the only one who was able to travel. We set a date for my big move, which was in December, and I was supposed to travel to London for Thanksgiving weekend. I almost did not make it to the airport in time, then my flight got delayed, but after the 7-hour flight I finally got to London on the day of Thanksgiving. We were invited to dinner by our lovely American friends (Merrin & Gabe if you are reading this, we’d like to thank you again for helping with our proposal). We barely made it on time, I was so exhausted and jet-lagged, however we had an amazing time with them.
I remember they kept giving me coffee so I didn’t fall asleep. Looking back, I should have suspected something was going on. On our way home, Thomas said that he needed to make a quick stop at a hotel in the city center to see a client from New Zealand who had an emergency and needed his help. Later on I found out that there was a lot of brainstorming going on while I was in the bathroom to come up with this idea. I was very understanding and said it wouldn’t be a problem, thinking it probably was on the way home (I didn’t know London that well at the time, and did not know that the hotel was actually not on our way home at all). We were then on our way to the hotel in our car, listening and singing Coldplay’s Up&Up song. I remember being so happy to finally see him again, and being able to spend some time with him, as I knew soon I would be boarding that plane again.
By the time we arrived to the hotel I really had to pee, so I asked him if I could come in. Initially, I did not want to intrude and wanted to wait in the car, so he was lucky he didn’t have to come up with another plan to get me into the hotel. We went upstairs to the top floor and were trying to find the room. There were no room numbers, and I suddenly noticed the sign “Lucy”, and said “This has to be it.” He knocked on the door, and for a minute I thought I heard someone approaching the door. Thomas heard that noise too and freaked out a little, as he knew there wasn’t supposed to be anyone in that room. After no one answered he reached to his pocket to get a key, and said “This might open it.” That moment I knew he pulled the “Heni card” on me, however I did not think more to the story. I just thought, he managed to surprise me the way I did back in Buffalo. We entered the room, which was full of candles (special thanks to Iza & Zsolt who decorated the room). The room was called “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” after the Beatles song, whom I love tremendously. The candles were leading me to the balcony, where there was an outdoor Jacuzzi with the view of the beautiful London skyline. I still had no idea this was a proposal, as the Jacuzzi was kind of our thing. He popped the question in the Jacuzzi. I was first shocked, then happy, after which I cried like a baby.
We are now planning our wedding for next year. We want to elope and have our civil wedding on a beach at the Atlantic Ocean, where we had our second first kiss, and want to have our religious wedding back home in Romania, where we first met and had our very first kiss.