Maria and Aldrin

How We Met: We both grew up on a small US Navy base in Japan, but never really got to know each other. I had joined the service and she went off to college, but during one Christmas break, we both went home to Japan –that’s when she really caught my attention. Long story short, we decided to try our hand at a long distance relationship.

In the eight years since we started dating, the closest we lived was four hours away. With that said, we only spent a handful of holidays and special occasions together, but deep down, we knew we had plenty of time to make those up.

How He Asked: At the time I decided to propose, I IMG_8942was stationed in Texas and she had just moved back to Michigan from two years of teaching art in Beijing.

Having only had a long distance relationship, we never had any specific place or places of sentimental value. We didn’t have a restaurant, overlook point, etc. that belonged to us, so I had difficult time adding some weight to where or how I was going to ask.

Then it hit me. The ONE place we always made a point to visit, whether it’s in a different city or country, was their art museum. Rewind about six years. I had joked about proposing to her by making her choose one: “yes” or “no” and continued to push that idea until the day I proposed.

She ABSOLUTELY hated the idea because it was too juvenile, but always maintained that she would still say “yes,” but asked that I “please don’t do it that way.”

So of course, I’m now obligated to do it that way.

I decided to still make her choose “yes” or “no” but in a much grandiose way: on a large canvas, hung inside an art museum. I still had make sure she was going to be surprised, so I couldn’t just openly paint “Will you marry me?” on the canvas. I’m probably the last person you’d call creative, but somehow, I was able to figure out a way. A lot of lights, glue and duct tape.

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I visited and emailed numerous art museums and art galleries. I was finally able to enlist the help of El Paso’s International Museum of Art. They were great.

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They found a perfect spot to hang the canvas, even greeted us at the entrance and pushed us towards a specific route, so we would end up at the canvas I previously created. It worked out perfectly.