Meredith and Ryan
How We Met
I met Ryan in 2011 during a study abroad trip to Madrid, Spain. We went to the same school, but didn’t know each other prior to the trip. I remember meeting him in the lobby of our dorm and actually watched him walk away thinking he was super cute. I remember thinking, wow, he’s such a surfer and no way is he my type. You see, I thought I was into the “tall, dark and handsome” ones, but it turns out I’m actually into the tall, blonde and handsome ones (no complaints here). I had just gotten out of a long-term relationship and a pretty messy breakup, so the last thing I was looking for was a relationship. Ryan and I hung out in a group setting for most of the trip and really started to get to know each other on our excursion to Barcelona where we spent lots of time together. Toward the end of the trip, I really wanted to visit the Reina Sofia Museum to see Picasso’s Guernica. I asked if anyone wanted to go with me, but no one did, except Ryan. I’m pretty sure he bribed people to turn me down so he could go with me alone… I kept saying it wasn’t a date, but he saw things differently. I’m very glad he did because looking back, it was definitely our first date. We got even closer during our trip to Paris. On the flight home he even concocted a complicated trade network with about 6 different people to get a plane ticket next to me. We dated until my college graduation at the end of 2012, then I moved away and we ended our relationship, only to pick it up again long-distance a year and a half later. We call that the “intermission” period where we both dated other people and realized that we both didn’t want to be with anyone else ever again. He decided from the beginning that we were meant to be, and it turns out he was right all along.
How He Asked
Ryan and I took a long-overdue trip to Washington state this summer with my dad and his fiancé to visit my brother and his family. Ryan has never met my brother and I hadn’t seen him in about 4 years, so it was nice to get to introduce him in person and show him around the state I’ve been visiting consistently with my dad since I was little. This was also Ryan’s first time in the Pacific Northwest! We were staying at a beautiful cabin on Camano Island with the most gorgeous view of Port Susan. Ryan mentioned that we should take a day trip out to the San Juan Islands, as he’d never been on a ferry before, so we arranged it in the middle of our trip. On Wednesday, June 7, we woke up super early to grab the 8:30am ferry out of Anacortes to Friday Harbor. Once on San Juan Island, we ate an amazing homemade cinnamon roll about the size of my face from Cynthia’s, then headed off to explore San Juan Island. We met Mona the Happy Camel, and had a short (it was 11am) wine tasting at San Juan Vineyards – I still have the cork of the white siegerrebe bottle we bought. We visited Hotel de Haro and walked around Roche Harbor a bit, then headed on to English Camp, where we admired the decision-making skills of the British as evidenced by their choice to build their camp on a protected cove rather than in an uncovered area pummeled by wind right off the strait on the south side of the island, as the Americans did. Then we ventured on to the Lime Kiln Lighthouse and hiked to the huge lime kiln nearby. We didn’t see any whales, as they were probably scared away by the ~50 4th graders hanging out by the lighthouse on their year-end field trip. Then we took another ferry out to Orcas Island. We walked around Eastsound for a bit and bought some handmade chocolates for our friends back home. Then we headed up to Mount Constitution. I had been there once before with my dad – we’d seen an eagle at the summit and it was one of the most beautiful and unique views I’d ever seen – so naturally I was excited to see it again with Ryan. We went to the summit and there was construction and people all around, so we hiked down the mountain about 2 miles through an enchanted forest (I swear we saw some woodland fairies) to a small lake. We turned around to head back up the mountain and, near the summit, there was a clear area with the most breathtaking view (which Ryan must have scouted out on the way down). With no one around, Ryan got down on one knee and asked me to marry him right there! I couldn’t believe it and immediately starting crying – I kept repeating “Now? This is happening right now!?” and eventually said yes. He got me good with an amazing surprise on an incredible day – he couldn’t have done it better. The memories I hold in this special place, we can now share! It was such a selfless proposal – he thought about all the ways he could make it super personalized and special.
We headed back up to the summit and I announced to the strangers at the top, crying and red-faced, that we just got engaged! They gave us congratulations and took some great photos. Then we headed back down the mountain, we did one more hike down to Obstruction Pass at the south end of the island, then returned to Eastsound to grab some food. Almost nothing was open except – get this – the White Horse Pub! We had delicious local oysters on the half shell and shared a glass of Reisling. After dinner, we made our way back to the ferry landing for the trip back to Camano Island. I couldn’t have asked for or planned a more perfect day if I’d tried!