Kate and Sayed

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how we met

I walked out of my hotel room wearing ripped blue jean shorts and a t-shirt that said “LaLa Land.” Casual was an understatement. I had just arrived in New York for Apple’s leadership program training. A few of us were heading to get some frozen yogurt before the events kicked off. Closing my door, I was introduced to Sayed, who was also in my program. We got into the elevator and I couldn’t help looking him up and down. He was wearing dark denim jeans, perfectly shined boots and a crisp pink button down. I laughed and asked, “Do you always look this good?!”

We spent the weekend getting to know each other. He was an enigma. He studied art history, economics and chinese, loved to cook and had scuba dived the continental divide. He kept everyone around him laughing. And had unbelievable manners. I hadn’t seen chivalry like this in my life. I told him “I have a lot of friends who’d love to date you.” We hit the town, went to karaoke and he sang “I’ll make love to you” by Boyz II Men. I almost died. Who the hell was this guy? And why did I find him so captivating?

Nothing happened and we parted ways. He lived in Connecticut and I lived in Boston. Until one night, after I’d been on another depressing date, he called me. I laid down in my bathtub fully clothed – as you do after a bottle or two of wine – smiling like an idiot. He said, “I don’t know what to do about this but I like you a lot.” I was pissed because the wine was making me vulnerable, and I couldn’t play hard to get…instead I just said, “I like you too.” One week later, it all started… 6 years and 18 countries later, Sayed still dresses way better than me and we have seen the world together. Can’t wait for what our lifetime together will bring!

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how he asked

I squinted my eyes as the alarm went off. 5:45am on vacation is rough. We were in Banff, Canada, my top bucket list item for the past 10 years. I peeked over at Sayed who immediately sat up in bed and said, “Baby let’s go!” In our whole relationship, Sayed had never woken up before me or had so much energy pre-coffee. I chalked it up to him being excited about sunrise.

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We drove to Vermillion Lakes, a series of lakes in the Canadian Mountain Rockies known for their reflections of the mountains. We arrived to an empty lake. We setup our camera in the marsh, already in awe of the colors coming over the mountains. Moments later, another photographer arrived, and then another, and then another…until there were 4 other people around. Sayed couldn’t believe it. He was visibly angered by their presence. I told him to chill – “Are you serious?! There were like 100 people in Bagan and every other sunrise we watched in Southeast Asia.” He let it go and we watched the purples and pinks paint the lake. It was stunning.

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Hopping back into the car, Sayed said, “There is one more place I want to check out.” I was confused, but mostly sleepy so I just went with it. We arrived at Tunnel Mountain Meadow and took a little walk into the woods. On our way back, we stopped in the meadow. The gray dark clouds were covering the tops of a mountain range. It wasn’t ideal, but we decided to take a picture.

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Sayed set up the tripod and I looked over the mountains and took a breath. It had been a big year. My grandma had died in amongst some stressful times at work. Just at that moment the sun burst through the mountains, dancing along the top of the peaks. A huge gust of wind swooped in. I got goosebumps. I could feel my grandma. I turned to Sayed and said, “This place is spiritual. I can feel it.”

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He came and stood by me. I waited for the camera to go off and it never did. I asked him if he was taking a photo or not. He said he wasn’t taking a photo, he was taking a video. Tears welled into my eyes and I asked, “Why are you taking a video!?” He got down one knee and everything went black. “Yes” I said.

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