Kristen and Aaron

How We Met

Aaron and I met while I was getting my PhD in Behavioral Neuroscience at Purdue University. He was the lab manager in the lab I was doing my dissertation research in. We became very close as co-workers, then friends, and eventually started dating!

How He Asked

The background story is that on our first Valentine’s Day, Aaron took me camping at Turkey Run, a popular site in Indiana. However, it turned out to be much colder than we expected (about 10 degrees F at night), and this California girl didn’t even have real snow boots! But, we persevered, mainly out of stubbornness, and it has made a great story about our relationship. I eventually graduated and accepted a postdoctoral research position back in San Diego, and he agreed to move with me. We have been here for 3 years, and had not been camping again since the survivalist camping excursion years prior.

The first weekend of November in 2017, I finally had a weekend off of work, and Aaron suggested we go camping again and try not to freeze to death this time. We decided to go to Lake Kumayaay Mission Trails, and since it was November in San Diego, it was a nice 70 degrees F and sunny! After setting up our tent, we went to explore the grounds. We came across this somewhat terrifying bridge over a part of the lake, and I reluctantly agreed to cross.

We got to the middle, and Aaron stopped and told me he had picked up a pressed penny for me in the camp store. I have collected pressed pennies since I was a kid; I carry a bag of pennies and quarters with me everywhere. Aaron quickly learned that pressed pennies are the one souvenir I will never pass up.

He handed me a penny, which read, “Will you marry me?” He got one on knee, told me how much he loves me, and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. Once I realized what was happening, I, of course, yelled, “Yes!” Camping with Aaron holds so many memories, and it will always be my favorite thing to do with him.