Mandy and Michael

How We Met

We met in grad school. I was in an unhealthy relationship at the time, and he was in a long-distance relationship as well.

When his his relationship ended, we started talking more. His lab was in the same building as mine, so we would see each other getting lunch sometimes and sit together.

Talking with him was so easy, and he never made me feel bad about who I was– something that the person I was with would tend to do.

When I was finally strong enough to break it off with my ex, he was there for me. We stared dating, and it’s been four years and we’ve moved halfway across the country together. We still don’t live right in the same area, but it makes the time we do get to spend together that much better.

How He Asked

On Friday night, Michael and I went to dinner. When we came home, there were candles everywhere, along with his guitar and a bottle of champagne.

I walked in and he grabbed a chair from the kitchen and told me to sit. He took out his guitar and played and sang “la vie en rose” to me.

Then he pulled a box from his guitar case out for me. Back story:

When I was a kid I went to an art show with one of my friends. There was a guy there named Gary who carved jewelry boxes out of camphor wood. I was only like 12 so I couldn’t afford one of his boxes, but I took his card. A few years later, my parents had Gary make me a box with secret compartments in it. He drove it up from West Melbourne to Jacksonville to give it to me for my birthday. Ten years later, I was going through some old things and I found Gary’s card again. I emailed him, but didn’t get a response until the following year. I told him who I was, and he remembered making the first box for me. He said he would be at an art show in Jacksonville that summer, and when I went to see him, he had made a box especially for me. He even called it “the Mandy”.

Fast forward to Friday, as I’m watching Michael pull the most amazing puzzle ring box out of his guitar case. He had messaged Gary over a year ago — and Gary had spent his free time last year making the perfect ring box for me.

I am so unbelievably happy to be marrying my best friend. This has been the best weekend ever! Such special thanks to Gary Smith of Camphor Unique, and to my wonderful roommate Ashley who went over the top and set everything up for Michael while we were at dinner.

I’m so happy!!!

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