Madeline and Ryan

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How We Met

Ryan and I met 8 years ago at a high school bonfire in Half Moon Bay. I didn’t know many people there that night, so I sat by the fire to warm up. When I turned to my right, there was Ryan, also by himself. I could tell from the moment I met him that he was a kind soul, and knew my suspicions were correct when he handed over his jacket to keep me warm. We talked for the rest of the night, getting to know each other, only to be interrupted by rocks and eggs flying down off the cliff towards our bonfire. The local high schoolers of Half Moon Bay decided we were unwanted visitors, and before I knew it all of the girls were running up the beach to our cars, and all the boys stayed back in case a fight broke out. As I was turning to leave, I tried to hand back Ryan’s jacket, but he wouldn’t let me… little did I know this was his insurance to see me again! After spending the rest of the summer together, Ryan finally asked me out, on a night that neither of us realized at the time would turn into an incredibly meaningful, though of course at times trying, but beautiful 8-year long relationship.

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How He Asked

The morning Ryan asked was as normal of a Saturday as we’d ever spent together. We recently moved to San Francisco, but still enjoyed going to other parts of the coast on the weekends to get out of the city and enjoy the ocean. Half Moon Bay had always been special to us, since it was where we met, and we often go there on weekends to enjoy a coffee or sandwiches on the beach. Ryan mentioned that his aunt from out of town would be here that Saturday, and that his mom and her would like to get lunch with us in Half Moon Bay. We had been talking about going on a bike ride along the coast for a long time but never had an open weekend, so Ryan suggested we could do the bike ride before our lunch. It was such a nonchalant request, that I didn’t think anything of it. We woke up that Saturday and drove to the coast with our bikes in tow. Luckily I’d grabbed a rain coat and a beanie, because it was an especially foggy and wet morning, even for HMB standards.

When we got to the beach we parked and got our bikes ready to roll. I couldn’t believe we were going to go biking in the rain, but Ryan seemed so set on the idea that I bit my tongue (for the most part!) and rode along. As we chugged along the path Ryan pointed out whales off the coast, and we both stopped to admire them. We continued on until Ryan pulled over saying that he wanted to look or more whales.

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After a little convincing I got off my bike, and noticed a blanket set out along the coast with a bucket of Champagne. I immediately mentioned how adorable it was and said something along the lines of “Wow, someone’s having a romantic day!”, only to realize that Ryan was walking over to it, and eventually ON to the blanket. At first I was bewildered why he would walk onto someone’s blanket so carelessly, until I looked up into his eyes and saw the most genuine, smirk of a smile on my guy. It hit me so hard I don’t remember how I ended up on the ground but I did. Only then did I realize there was only one reason he would be standing on that blanket, and then he motioned for me to look out onto the beach, the very beach we met 8 years ago, and read the words “Will you marry me?” written in the sand. He got down on one knee and proposed on the blanket.

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Seconds later, our two best friends ran onto the blanket and we hugged and cried and drank that bottle of champagne. They had been there all morning, setting up the words in the sand, setting down the blanket and champagne, and taking photos of the whole proposal. It was a moment of overwhelming love and shock that I’ve never felt in my whole life. I couldn’t have dreamed up a more perfect way to begin the next chapter of our lives, let alone in the very place it had all started.

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