Kahla and Ben

How We Met: Ben and I have been dating for almost 3 years now, which is impossible to believe. Time really does fly when you’re having fun – and it doesn’t hurt when it’s with the love of your life either. We met about 3 1/2 years ago. I had interned with the City of Clearwater’s events department for a semester. When my internship ended I stayed involved working for them during weekend events here and there whenever they needed the extra help.

One night, all of the city workers had a get together at a local Five Guys restaurant. I anticipated seeing all of my friends, having laughs, etc., but what I didn’t anticipate was an unfamiliar face. Immediately trying to figure out who he was and why in the world he was at our get together, I was told his name was Ben, he was here from Illinois, and he was the new events intern for the semester. Go figure – I got to meet my replacement. After an intro, and a few laughs here and there – things kind of just took off.

The more we saw of each other, the more we knew we liked each other. We would work city events together, and he’d find any excuse to walk over to the booths I was working. We hung out with the same people. Our only problem was that he was here on borrowed time. He was due to go back to Illinois at the end of his internship, which let’s not forget – is only a semester long aka a 4 month period. It was almost like our version of an extended spring fling.

On one of our beach night dates, he popped the question – no, not the “will you marry me?” (not yet, anyway!), it was the “will you be my girlfriend?”. I of course responded “yes” – but then quickly remembered our expiration date and told him “no”. We couldn’t set ourselves up for that heartbreak. We spent almost every day and night together enjoying the time we had left knowing that we had to make the most of it.

Ben had applied for jobs in the area, but nothing was guaranteed. We knew we couldn’t let ourselves depend on the “what-ifs” of anything working out.

Until it did.

I got the call one afternoon when I was leaving Target – it was Ben. He was offered a position with the city at a local recreation center. I couldn’t believe it. HE HAD A JOB. HE COULD STAY. This was it, this was what we had been waiting for. Somehow, someway it had all worked out. We finally dubbed ourselves a couple, and never looked back.

How He Asked: For the whole time that we have been dating, even early on I have told Ben that I’ve always wanted my proposal to be a story. Something touching. Something unique. Something with meaning. Let me tell you. He delivered.

On Christmas Eve of 2014, I was home getting ready for my mom’s annual hot chocolate party. Ben wasn’t home from work yet and I had gotten off early, so I decided that I’d get some cleaning done and take my time getting ready. When Ben got home, he acted surprised to see I wasn’t fully ready yet. “Ben, the party isn’t for another hour and a half – I definitely have time”, to which he replied that he had something special for me that I could only open if I was fully ready.

Intrigued, I picked up the pace. What kind of gift required me to be fully ready to open it? It didn’t make any sense – the box wasn’t even overwhelmingly big. “Is it going to take a picture of me?” I asked jokingly.

When I was ready I eagerly took the box from him. I opened it slowly – again unsure of exactly what to expect. It was a Coordinates Collection box. I couldn’t believe it. I had said months ago that I loved the idea that this company had, and how unique it was. I opened up the box to find their Meridian style bracelet and let me tell you, it was gorgeous in gold! “What are the coordinates?” I asked, as I admired it – “Well”, he said, “Why don’t we go find out?”.

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I was too excited. This gift was perfect, and the idea of being driven to the location was just as exhilarating. Ben had me close my eyes and told me not to peak. I promised I wouldn’t and off we went.

With so many twists and turns, I couldn’t even guess where we were going to end up. It had to be somewhere that was special to us. Could it be Five Guys where we first met? Coachman Park where we worked all of those city events together? When we reached our destination I was a little shocked – it was our friend Erin’s house.

“Do you know why I brought you here?” he asked. I couldn’t figure it out. He continued, “Erin’s house is where we had our first kiss. It’s where we had our first ‘I love you’. And can you remember what happened in the backyard?” The first thing that came to mind was that we had been beer pong partners back there time and time again, but why would that be important? “Let’s go see”, he said and we got out of the car to walk around back.

The whole back pergola was decorated with lights, tulle, and bows. There was a vase with a dozen roses sitting on the table. I couldn’t believe it – it was beautiful. How did he do this? How could he have pulled this off?

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We walked up to the roses and while I was fully engulfed in the moment he dropped down on one knee. All I could say was “nuh uh, nuh uh, nuh uhhhh” I couldn’t even wrap my mind around what was happening.

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When I finally got out a “yes” I could not stop staring at the ring. It was just gorgeous. Everything I had ever wanted, he nailed it.

After tears, many “I love you”s, and a whole bunch of x’s and o’s, Ben took me aside and faced me one way pointing out a video camera that was pointing right at me. As if that wasn’t enough, he faced me the other way to show me a GoPro that was facing his direction. Amazing. The whole proposal was caught on video.

When I asked how he had the time to setup the pergola, he explained he had some help. His family who was in town for the holidays had been there setting up during the day and while I was getting ready. It really could not have been any prettier.

The coordinates of our first kiss, our first “I love you”, and now our proposal will forever be on my Coordinates bracelet. This gift and his proposal had more thought and meaning behind it than I could have ever imagined.