Brittany and Jim
How We Met
Jim and I both went to Oak Forest high school..only that is not where we our story began..besides having a few classes together over the four years, we didn’t talk much and hung out in different groups. I do remember seeing him at a few high school parties that our mutual friend Lauren would have, and I remember him being friendly. I was a theater girl and had a small group of very close friends, and he was an athlete (swimmer & baseball) and I didn’t think I was even on his radar! Fast forward to Sophomore year of College, I was attending Columbia College in Chicago studying Musical Theater and my good friend Lauren invited me to go away with her to a party at a college up north over Thanksgiving break. She picked me up in her parents mini van and said she was grabbing a few other people along the way (Jim being one of those people). I don’t think I’d seen him since senior year of high school. I remember sitting in a room chatting with people and ending up next to Jim Strale or “Strale” as all his buddies called him. We talked and ended up.. (here comes my embarrassing moment) making out later in the night!! This was something I definitely didn’t do, but he was cute and my friend Lauren encouraged me to go for it! I remember he was sweet and not a “bro” as I assumed he would be..he was very shy in fact! The car ride home the next morning was quiet, mostly because everyone was asleep, and I remember just being super awkward about the make out. As Lauren dropped Jim off there were no numbers exchanged.. just a simple goodbye. I didn’t think anything of it and went on with the rest of the Thanksgiving holiday. A week or so later I got a call from Lauren, who attended University of Illinois with Jim. She told me he had been talking about me and asked her for my number. I told her that was fine, and the next day I got a text from him. From then on we talked on the phone and eventually went out on our first date. We were very opposite but we fit together well..I was very outgoing and he was quiet but we found common ground and turned out to have so many similarities! The rest is history..5 years later!
How He Asked
My two very best friends from high school live in LA pursuing their acting careers. I love that city and try to get out and see them at least once a year! This year Jim and I bought a condo in Chicago, after we were finally settled we began talking about taking a trip to California. We recently saw my best friends over Christmas when they came home, and began talks of a good time for us to come see them in LA! February it was! Only a few days before we were going to book our trip, Jim told me he was going to have to miss a day or so to be at a work conference. He was to be in Texas and said he would fly straight from there to California and meet me. I was disappointed but didn’t mind a day or two with just my friends. Thursday morning around 5am Jim left for “Texas”, kissing me on the forehead as I still slept. My flight to Los Angeles was not until 11 so I woke up and headed to the airport. After a very long 4 hour flight I was there!! Upon picking me up my friend Vince told me it was his good friend Everetts Birthday and that he wanted to make him a video for his birthday. We headed up to the well known Mullholland Drive where you can see all of LA. That was going to be the backdrop for our “dance video”. As we began dancing for the video we were facing the city away from the camera, as my other friends Ryan and Bridget told us to turn around I continued to dance until I saw someone I recognized walking up to us..it was JIM! He held flowers and something else that he handed off to Ryan. I was so entirely confused and as he walked up to me and handed me white roses I just kept saying “what are you doing here??” My friends backed away (while still filming) and Jim continued to explain how he didn’t have a work conference and that he had been waiting in California for the past few hours..he reached in his pocket and got down on his knee and I was at a loss for words. He asked me to be his wife and we both had tears in our eyes. As I accepted we kissed and it was the most perfect moment. We spent the rest of our trip with my closest friends; eating, drinking, and celebrating our love! It was absolutely perfect and the one of the best memories I’ll have for the rest of my life!