Ashley and Jonathan
How We Met
The Spring of 2008 held a lot of adventure for us as we each embarked on a study abroad journey to Madrid. Little did we know the amazing journey that was ahead of us…
As Jonathan spent our first hour of class correcting our Madrid History teacher and cracking jokes, we caught eyes and smiles as he could tell that he was making me laugh. While we weren’t officially introduced until under the bright lights at JOY- a popular study abroad night spot – those laughs are what started it all. We spent that fairy tale semester eating, traveling, laughing and growing closer than we ever dreamed possible.
After returning to our respective homes and back to a long distance reality, many trips ensued over the next two years between Michigan, Arizona, and eventually Florida where Jonathan moved after graduating in 2009. In 2010, I took a leap of faith and moved across the country to be with Jonathan in Miami.
That was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Over the last five years we have grown together, learning how to love and live as a family, and supporting one another as best friends – all of course with our baby English Bulldog, Sushi.
How He Asked
Over winter vacation 204, while visiting my family in Tucson, Jonathan gave me a handcrafted gift. He had put together a collage of our favorite places and special memories while we were in Madrid surrounding a picture of us at Julian de Tolosa, the restaurant where we had our first date. This was the way Jonathan told me we would be going back to Madrid… and “unknowingly” to me, the beginning of our engagement.
As the months went by and no date for our travels, I began to think it was all a hoax…until one night when I got home from work to a balcony of candles, flowers, and cava to reveal the trip details. Jonathan had a mock itinerary written in a card and video messages from three of my closest friends… it was beginning to seem like more than just a “trip”.
May 24th, 2015 we landed back in “our city”. It was so surreal to be back together in Madrid after seven years and to think about everything that had changed in our lives between now and then. The next day we wondered around the city, exploring a market and then at Parque Retiro laying under the tree that we used to spend many Madrid afternoons kissing under. We had plans to go to Julian De Tolosa to celebrate and reminisce about our first date while enjoying the best steaks we’ve ever had… however before dinner Jonathan said that he had a special twilight walking tour planned, one I was expecting to end with a great meal being the highlight. Boy did I under-estimate the highlight!
Our walk down memory lane started at the metro stop we would take to school, from there we took a short stroll to our campus a few blocks away, where we reminisced about meeting and time spent at our school building. After grabbing a quick drink at a local spot up the street from school that we had frequented while abroad, we took a short ride on the metro to Jonathan’s stop – Puerta de Toledo. We walked to his apartment and on to the beautiful cathedral next door that we used to marvel at and watch the beautiful sunsets in the garden courtyard.
Jonathan then began to hurry me along, saying that we needed to get to another spot on the other side of Plaza Mayor. I remember saying that I didn’t remember the spot he was talking about and wanted to slow down a bit, but he insisted we go. Walking towards the plaza, he began to shoot a video of me asking where we were heading, while I answered, I remember being a little sassy as this was not the first video he had taken that evening.
As we walked into the plaza, I whipped out our selfie-stick (don’t judge me!) and begged to take a selfie… we hadn’t taken a good one the day before and this seemed like the perfect time – to me at least. Jonathan shook his head as he gave me that all too familiar line, “You are something” and amused me with a hurried selfie shot. He walked me around the statue of King Philip III in the middle of the plaza, held my hands in his and kissed me. As Jonathan started to speak, I could hear cameras clicking away and remember thinking, is this actually happening. As you can see from many of our engagement photos, the surprise and shock was written all over my face. Jonathan got down on his knee and asked me to be his wife.
That moment and trip will forever be in our hearts!