Joyce and Chris

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How We Met

Chris and I met through mutual friends down the Jersey Shore in 2006. My best friends from pre-school and Kindergarten were his best friends through high school. At the time, I was in a relationship and never pictured us together. You know how they say things happen at the right time, at the right place, with the right person? I believe that because of Chris. I moved from New Jersey to Florida after the passing of my father in 2001, but thankfully, always kept my Jersey girls close to my heart. I visited them from time to time and Chris would be around for get togethers.

In early 2013, I applied to graduate school at Seton Hall University where one of my best friends, Debra, was a physical therapy student. Thanks to her encouraging words, I took a chance and applied to their Master of Science program in Speech-Language Pathology. I soon found out I was accepted and made the decision to move 1,000 miles from home to pursue my dream career. Who knew I would return to the state I used to call home and end up falling in love with a boy I met 10 years ago.

In my last year of graduate school, I reached out to Chris to ask him the go-to spots in Jersey City where he was living at the time. Harmless in my opinion but to this day, he likes to think I made the first move even though I didn’t invite him out with us. He invited me for a night out in Morristown the following weekend and the rest is history.

How He Asked

This August, I visited my family in Florida after spending months being apart from them. What a rare occasion to have my mom, sisters, and I all in the same state. Chris arrived a few days after I did and during our drive home from the airport, he told me he booked an escape room in Orlando for us the next day. For those of you who haven’t experienced an escape room, it’s a room full of puzzles and riddles that must be solved within a 60-minute time limit. Why we love doing them? We leave with pride knowing we completed the challenge. I questioned why my sisters or cousins weren’t invited but Chris was insistent we attempt to complete an escape room for the first time, just the two of us.

The following day, Chris and I drove to Escapology in Orlando, Florida to take on the challenge ourselves. Immediately upon walking in, we were greeted by the game masters and told to wait for our room to be ready. Our game master, Victoria, came out with blindfolds and informed us that the room we signed up to do was different from the others. My heart was beating out of my chest but with Chris’ hand in mine, I was more excited than anything.

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Victoria directed us to communicate with her through walkie talkie if we needed any hints or clues and not remove our blindfolds until we were told. Chris let go of my hand and I heard the door shut behind me. “3… 2… 1.” I removed my blindfolds and right before my very eyes were my two cousins with cameras in hand.

I looked around and saw Chris and I’s keepsakes (photographs, photo books, and menus of restaurants we’ve been to) that were from our apartment in New Jersey. I was beyond overwhelmed yet had several riddles to solve that pertained to us.

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The time was ticking. I wiped the tears from my eyes and began the room by opening and reading a welcome letter from Chris. The first riddle? “Do you remember the outrageous color blazer I was wearing our first night out? It was a clear knock out. _ _ _ _ 1 – Chris and Joyce 0.” The answer? S-O-N-A. The bar in Morristown, NJ where we first hung out. I looked for the picture from that night and found a key to a box behind it. I continued completing several other riddles as well as a puzzle with lyrics from one of our favorite songs. I gave the artist and song title over the walkie talkie as I was directed and was given the last clue to exit the room.

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When I opened the door, I was greeted by my love who looked so handsome dressed up in a suit and tie. I looked to my right and saw my dear family and Chris’ father. All the people I loved in one room. “Honey, I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Will you marry me?” Of course, I said yes to forever with my best friend.

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Special Thanks

Aldrey Romero | 
Photography
Lloyd Romero | 
Videographer