Olivia and Blake
How We Met
Back in 2008, we were both in an extracurricular course called Scholars that was more of a culture-exploration class – lots of plays, art galleries, etc. So on this particular day, we were going to a Houston Dynamos match (it’s a soccer team three hours from Austin) and everyone had found their bus buddy on a charter bus early on a Saturday morning. Well, we’re about to leave for Houston when my bus buddy just never showed! (Just my luck…!). Blake was sitting in front of me with another guy friend and he noticed no one was sitting next to me, so he asked if he could join me for the ride. (Side note: Blake is a very handsome being and even in high school he was well known by the ladies… so, even though I was a year older, let’s just say I definitely knew who he was before the trip ha!). That said, of course I said yes and likely immediately started sweating profusely with anxiety. He sat down and we had some seriously awkward teenager conversation for the full three hours there – and full three hours home. However, there was a connection that was undeniable, even then.
Flash forward to two years later, I’m a sophomore at the University of Texas in Austin and he’s about to start there as a freshman. Blake breaks up with me and we go our separate ways for the next five years. We date other people, go through some very personal trials and tribulations, and somehow continue to stay in touch and check in from time to time to make sure the other person is doing okay. On occasion we’d grab coffee or meet up at a park nearby and just sit on the playground and talk. No matter how long we would go without seeing each other or talking, that deep connection just stuck around – however, we didn’t get back together any time soon. This is where the “Blake + Olivia saga” sets in. I called it “first love syndrome” because no matter what I did or who I was dating, I could not get Blake out of my head! My heart just felt such a strong connection with him that it wasn’t budging when it came to anyone else…no matter how hard I tried to shake it or move forward. It didn’t help that the biomedical engineering building (where he majored) was on the way to my journalism building…so it was inevitable that I’d run into him at least a few times per month on campus…and obviously rush home to divulge every tiny detail with my college roommate, even if we didn’t speak and merely waved and made dodgy eye contact. After these encounters, I would then proceed to lock myself in my room and put on sad Taylor Swift songs (y’all, I’m not kidding, I totally did this), and wallow for however long I felt was necessary. Then the next time I ran into him – repeat, repeat, repeat.
So, years go by and I graduated college, started working my first “big girl job” and just got out of a semi-relationship with someone I met on Tinder (yes, dating without social media is challenging, I tell ya!). A girlfriend of mine set me up on a blind date to get me back on the dating scene and of course I agreed. After a really lovely three-hour brunch date, I got home and immediately checked my phone and saw that I had about 10 missed texts from girlfriends (and my mom, I’m sure) asking how the date went. …But in the sea of texts, I saw Blake’s phone number (which of course I memorized when I was a teenager but had since deleted his contact info from my phone – typical)…and my heart started pounding just thinking of opening it. It turns out he was cleaning his apartment and decided to go through a box he kept under his bed that had old notes I had written him in high school and even from a short period after we broke up. They say when you’re going through a breakup to write a letter with all of your feelings, but never send it. Well, me being me, of course I sent it! I guess one of those post-breakup letters seemed to really hit home this time around and he felt compelled to reach out and ask if we could grab a drink and catch up. Of course, I said yes.
What was meant to be “a drink” ended up as a few and the two of us chatting for over six hours. That spark was still there, the timing felt right and we just seemed to click in a much more mature way this time around. As it turned out, that five years apart was the best thing for us – we both needed to grow into the people we would become and learn and navigate life on our own. I think without that time, we wouldn’t have come out as strong as we are now, that’s for sure.
Six months into our “second time around” relationship, we moved in together and we both knew this was it. Living with the one you love is the best! It’s like a built in best friend…and you’re attracted to them.. it’s awesome! So after almost a year of living together and falling back in love… a magical proposal happened…
How He Asked
I am a fashion blogger based in Austin, Texas, so let’s just say I spend a ridiculous amount of time working from coffeehouses and I love it! Blake knew this about me and created a magical proposal based around a coffeehouse we’ve been going to since we were teenagers…
Blake works in cancer research and on occasion, they will let him work from home and refer to this as a “development day.” He told me he was going to take a development day on Friday, May 1st and that I should ask my boss if I can work from home, too, so that we could hang out together and work from a coffeehouse – which is all pretty normal, nothing out of the ordinary for us! Little did I know when I sent the email to my boss asking to work from home, she was already in on the surprise because Blake had contacted her and asked to secretly give me a vacation day, and to say yes when I asked to work from home.
So, Friday morning rolled around and Blake told me he had made car service appointments for us at a Nissan dealership up north (ha!), and that we should grab coffee and get a little work done before the appointment, but had to drive separately because we were taking both cars in. Given that it’s 9am on a Friday and we were focusing on oil changes…let’s just say I definitely didn’t suspect such a romantic timeline to ensue for the rest of the day – ha!
We decided to go to Mozart’s Coffee along the lake (which funny enough, I chose this spot and he had it in mind the whole time) because it’s pretty much the only non-Starbucks/semi-north coffeehouse along the highway, plus the view is incredible/the atmosphere is just really pleasant. Blake had already planned for his sister to be at Mozart’s around 8am to reserve “the table” and snag a good spot for photos, so by the time we got there, she had already set up camp and alerted everyone in the area that her brother was going to pop the question shortly.
That morning was completely stunning, so anywhere we sat would have been fine by me, thus I let Blake lead the way…so he sat down at “the spot.” At about 9:15am I got out my work laptop to begin my day. This is where his plan set in…
Blake loves software development and website coding, so he created a photo-journal website about our story. (Which is seriously so him, and the whole “at a coffeehouse” part is very me). I thought he was working late the night before, but really, he had left work early to go take pictures of all of our memorable spots around the city to create this site. He went to the playground where we met and talked for hours in college, he snapped a picture of the spot where we’d pass each other on UT campus next to the engineering building (which is amazing/hilarious because I didn’t know that was as memorable for him!), he took a photograph of the actual movie seats we sat in on our very first date from high school, he took a picture of the spot where we sat after a run downtown overlooking the skyline…where we finally expressed that we’d found that great love in each other and that we were endlessly happy together. Along with more beautiful pictures and sweet comments to coincide with each photo. In Blake’s original plan, he had programmed the website to pop up on my computer on command. However, I didn’t grab my usual blog laptop – I pulled out my work computer! So, as I was chatting about recent client developments and general work conversation, he said he wanted to show me something and flipped around his computer and shut my laptop…
As soon as I saw the first picture and text, (which was from when we were kiddos dating the first time around – seriously, we look SO young!), I just lost it and knew what was going on. After that, I tried to scroll through the whole thing fighting a flood of tears, but after a while I just took off my sunglasses and let it out like a goon. With each photo, he just got sweeter and sweeter, and I was in complete awe that he also felt as connected to each of these spots as I did, after all this time – even if we never talked about them! By the end of the website the final words read, “…Now I have something important to ask you..” and he took my hands in his and said a ton of sweet and incredible things to me (most of which I can’t even remember because I was in such shock!) and then came around the table, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him … and of course, I said yes!
Everyone around us started cheering and clapping…it was so perfect and adorable! His sister (literally wearing a black hoodie and oversize sunglasses, ha!) then stood up from her table that was hidden behind a plant and I just died laughing…I couldn’t believe he pulled it off, and in such a perfectly us way. It was so sweet that his sister was able to be a part of it, too, and I am so thankful she could capture such an incredible moment for us!
I have loved Blake since I was 17 years old and though we went our separate ways for 5 years, that love never went away. Elated is too weak a word to describe my excitement to marry the man of dreams!