Monica and Rafael
How We Met
It all started at Ashbrook high school, when we met in Anatomy class my 11th grade year (2010-2011). We talked a lot and he let me cheat off of him when I needed to. But one day after school I went to my car like always and this time I noticed I had locked my keys in my car! So i’m trying to call a locksmith to get my keys out, and Rafael shows up asking what i’m doing. I told him what had happened and he said he had to go somewhere but he’d be right back. By the time he came back it was the same time I got into my car and so he said “let me take you out to eat since you’ve had such a frustrating day, maybe I can make it better”. In gastonia we went to a place called Flip Flops and had our first date. He automatically struck me as a gentleman and a generous tipper at that. I found out that he tipped so well because he was a server at On the Border at the time. I would pick him up from work some nights and hed come over to watch a movie with me or play uno cards which is how he got his first kiss by the way! We were starting a new hand of uno and he said “do you want to place a bet on this game”? I said “I guess, sure, like what”? He suggested that if he won that game that I had to give him a kiss, and I don’t even remember what I bet because he won! Then after that we continued to have long talks in my car after I picked him up from work, kissed and flirted, he took me to the movies and other places. He brought me flowers and listened when I was feeling down, he truly made me feel so very special and important to him. I had already fell in love with him. The issue then arose that certain people in our families would not approve of us being together because of our differences. I also knew he was graduating a year before me, that year to be exact, and that it would really complicate things if we became serious; Even though it already was, I was just in denial. So we lost touch for a while, he graduated and went to Gardner webb university, I completed my last year in high school, went to Gaston college and tried to talk to him as just friends since he had a girlfriend, but that didn’t work out so well because those feelings were very obvious that we both didn’t just want to be friends we wanted more. So we stopped talking again until June 9th 2013 we reconnected again through facebook message and arranged to meet up at taco bell to talk. Well at that taco bell in gastonia I told Rafael Castro that I was not letting him go this time, that I didn’t care what obstacles we had to face, I wasn’t letting go. I didn’t either! We’ve been together ever since that day, we just picked right up where we left off. girlfriend, but
How He Asked
At the time I was not aware of the amazingness the weekend before us was about to be. It was our four year anniversary Friday June 9, 2017, we just left our eighteen month old in the hands of my mother for that day and night away to celebrate our anniversary, that’s all he allowed me to know, so I was excited but also anxious. We headed to our destination which from what I could tell at the time was towards mountains, he kept asking me as we got closer if I knew where we were, I of course kept saying “no, I have no idea, you won’t tell me anything!” We then pull up to a restaurant called “Larkins on the lake restaurant” and he asked again if I realized anything yet about where we were!? I just looked at him and said “No baby” again. So we go to be seated outside with the view of the Lake, we sit down and he asks me yet again and now I’m getting frustrated so he asks the waitress “what is this lake known for?” She looks and says so nonchalantly “oh being known for filming the movie ‘Dirty Dancing’ here on the lake.” I was then immediately and unexpectedly astounded! You see as a child my all time favorite move was Dirty Dancing and it still is my favorite, and yet I never knew it was filmed in NC or much less only an hour away from where we currently lived! I immediately started looking around and grinning from ear to ear, telling Rafael how amazed I was, I never knew this great fact about my favorite movie and he made sure I didn’t find out until that day! So we ate, talked, I kept acting funny, looking around crazy, and excitedly! side note: they have the best crab cakes! He then told me we were headed to our Hotel so we did just that. When we arrived at the check-in desk he handed me a paper from the hotel that told all about the movie and that Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey stayed in that exact hotel while filming the movie! So I am stoked of course, and he then said, “come with me, we will bring our stuff to our room after I take you somewhere”, took my hand and walked down some stairs and into a spa! He said “we can have a couples massage together” grinning at me, because he knew I had never had a professional massage and we would experience our first massage together, in the same hotel where my favorite actors stayed. The massage was wonderfully refreshing and relaxing. After the massage, we were able to get into the jacuzzi together for some more intimate and relaxing time together as he told me our day was not over and that it had only just begun. We soon finished up at the spa and walked back up to the check-in desk as he told me we were staying in ‘Baby’s Bungalow’ and again I was going crazy reading everything they had about the movie and the involvement of the hotel with the actors. So we proceeded to our ‘bungalow’ went in and he told me to get dressed up we were leaving soon, so I did with such eagerness to know what was coming next! We got in the car and started our journey to the next surprise as he teases me, asking if I can guess what we are doing next, so I appease him with some guesses which was, painting or horseback riding which we were not dressed for! So as you can tell I was a terrible guesser! We pull into an empty church parking lot other than two cars with a couple people standing at those cars talking, so I am of course asking questions now, and he says “just wait you’ll see soon.” We got out of the car and all of a sudden a truck pulls up with a HOT AIR BALLOON advertisement on it! I immediately looked at Rafael and reminded him I don’t really exactly love heights that much and that we can’t seriously be about to do this! He just smiled big with excitement as I was spazzing out. See he loves new adventurous things and keeps me on my toes, just one of the things I love about him, even if I am reluctant to try them,I trust him and it always turns out to be an amazing new experience. So we signed our life away saying if we die they aren’t responsible and all that jazz, while I asked a million questions about how we could actually die and they reassured me it will be fine and that they have tons of experience, that we will be safe. So the crew began setting everything up to prepare for the balloon to be blown up, as me and Rafael record the process and take pictures because it was a really a big balloon! (over 80 feet to be exact). Glenn, our pilot told us they were ready so we got into the basket, which was relatively smaller in comparison to the balloon itself. The balloon started elevating into the air quiet quickly, I’m grasping the edges of the basket trying to keep calm. Rafael said, “see it’s not that bad” and glenn said, “this is the extent of movement you will feel” so I started to accept that I was indeed okay. Rafael and I looked around at the exquisite view we had, it was truly peaceful up there once I got through the first five minutes. Glenn took us low and high gliding along the earth’s curvature, he took us low across the interstate, as cars honked their horns and slowed down to see us. Then we got pretty high, a little more than five hundred feet in the air, we could see all the houses and land as it looks as if we were a satellite looking down at everything seeing everything. We passed one house that was absolutely beautiful, it had trees surrounding the land for privacy and a lake at the beginning of the property line with a huge house with a pool in the back yard and lots of land left for kids to play. I told Rafael “that’s the house we need one day, it’s perfect.” We kept gliding by talking about the view and people waving at us, we started to get to a more secluded area, with lots of trees underneath us and Rafael turned to me and said, “so i guess you’re probably wondering why I have you up here” as he goes to one knee, and continues to say “From the first time I met you, I knew you were special; from the first time we kissed, I knew we would be much more; from the first time we struggled, I knew I would not want a life without you; I am down on one knee to ask for more first times with you; will you be Mrs.Castro?” I immediately said yes smiling and shaking uncontrollably, embraced the man of my dreams, kissed him as he pulled the ring out and placed it on my finger. I was in such shock and disbelief that what I had been nagging about happening for four years finally just happened and in such a way I could have never imagined! We then soon went in for a landing in this little town right in the middle of a parking lot, where people started stopping and getting out to see this huge balloon with us in it, which of course drew the cops in to see what the commotion was about. Glenns crew soon arrived and his girlfriend brought over a sign for us to hold that read “just engaged”. The cops gladly wanted in on the excitement and cheerfully held the sign up for the pictures. People came up and asked us questions and waved, I felt so distinguished and special. We then got out of the balloon and while the crew worked hard to bring the balloon down and put it away, Glenn congratulated us again and gave us some champagne (which was delicious) to drink as we perceived the magnificent moment in time we had just experienced. But Rafael was not through yet! He had reservations for a very nice restaurant afterwards, and of course a wonderful night together at the bungalow. The next morning he took me on a boat tour on the lake where we saw the most entrancingly breathtaking view of the mountains from a certain point on the lake, which is apparently why they call it Lake ‘Lure’. I felt like we were in our own little world, it was an extraordinary weekend with the one and only person i’d want it with. I didn’t want to leave out of our perfect ‘bubble’ he had created; but lucky me, I will get to have more first times like this one, just like he said, for the rest of our lives!