Kala and Jesse
How We Met
My college bestie was on the trip of a lifetime, studying abroad in Sydney, Australia in the Spring of 2009. As someone who LOVES travel, I jumped on her offer to come visit. I knew we would have a blast exploring the city, and she had already met some great friends there that she wanted me to meet. One night, we were getting ready to go out on the town when she mentioned two of her friends from down the hall were going to come over and have a few drinks with us before we went out. I met Jesse in that dorm room at Sydney University with a bottle of cheap sparkling wine in his hand. We hit it off right away, and they crashed our night out. I left Sydney a few days later, without any clarity on when I would ever see this guy again. At the time, he was at school at Arizona State, and I was in Massachusetts about to become a senior at Endicott College. He kept popping into my mind, but I hadn’t heard from him, so I tried to stop thinking about him. That fall, a few months after we’d met, he called me out of the blue, and we began talking constantly. About a month later I took a leap of faith and jumped on a plane to go see him in Tempe. Since that flight, there’s been countless more, and almost 8 years worth of adventuring together, with the biggest of all being our engagement trip.
How He Asked
I was knee deep in schoolwork as a first year MBA Candidate at Arizona State University. Jesse was traveling back and forth from his job in Vermont, and our apartment in Arizona. One day he said ‘We’ve been working really hard, lets go on a trip during your winter break!’ and of course I thought that was a great idea. Leading up to the trip Jesse had really taken on most of the planning. We had decided to go to Thailand, a place neither of us had been before. A couple months before the trip, Jesse said that we had a layover somewhere fun, but that he didn’t want to tell me where. Always up for a surprise, I embraced it (but also tried to beg for clues several times). I knew Australia was a possibility, geographically it made sense, but we had also talked a lot about visiting Japan or the islands of the Pacific. The day of the trip, we boarded a plane from Phoenix to LA, and I still didn’t know what our destination was. At LAX he finally revealed to me that we were headed back to where it all began, Sydney, Australia! The first day of our trip was a whirlwind. We checked into the beautiful Shangri-La Sydney and found our room with stunning panoramic views of the city. We spent the day exploring, strolling through Circular Quay to the Opera House, and lounging in the Royal Botanical Gardens. That night, Jesse told me he had made a dinner reservation, so we went back to the hotel and got refreshed and dressed for a night out. We enjoyed a cocktail and the sweeping views at Blu Bar on 36 then left for dinner. As we left, Jesse insisted in walking along the water, I obliged. As we were walking with the perfect view of the Opera House, I saw a photographer setting up a shot. Jesse walked right between him and the Opera House and stopped. Not knowing what was going on I said ‘Honey, I think you’re ruining that photographers shot.” He then turned to me and started talking about how he had been ‘wanting to do this for a while, but wanted to wait for the perfect time’. It was honestly a blur. Then he got down on one knee and opened a handmade wooden box to reveal the most perfect ring I had ever seen. Of course I said ‘Yes!’. Tears and Champagne poured. The photographer turned out to be Kurt George, who stayed with us capturing the engagement and taking our engagement photos, and the ring box turned out to be made by my dad out of a tree from our home in Vermont. We celebrated with dinner at Bennelong Restaurant in the Opera House, and Tania from My Proposal Co had decorated our hotel room and left us with wine and dessert. All that, and we got to celebrate our engagement all week long throughout Thailand before coming home to celebrate with family and friends. Jesse (and his team of helpers) truly made it the most magical engagement I ever could have imagined.