Paul and Susan
How We Met
Paul and I met in college six years ago. We were in a vertebrate biology class together–but we didn’t start talking to each other until we met at a party one weekend. He walked me home the night we met but didn’t ask for my phone number. The following week I received an email from “Paul from vertebrate biology”. He invited me and my roommate to go bowling with him and his friends the following weekend. I agreed and was smitten by the end of the evening. The next week he had stolen our friend’s spot to sit next to me in lecture. He then switched into my lab and sat across from me while we dissected roadkill. ROMAAAANTIC! Needless to say, I’ve had a huge crush on him ever since.
Paul graduated right after we met. After I graduated the following year, we lived in Minneapolis for a year right down the street from each other. Then Paul started graduate school at the University of Iowa and I took a job in Kansas City. We made the drive work–switching off driving to see each other every weekend. A couple years later I started medical school at Des Moines University–as close to Paul as I could get! Our drive was shortened to two hours! Improvement! For my third year of medical school I had more freedom to try and rotate at a hospital even closer to Iowa City. I got my first choice hospital located in Davenport, IA just 1 hour from Iowa City. Close enough for us to finally move in together!
How He Asked
Paul had originally planned to ask me on a trip we had planned to Oregon–right after I took my board exams for medical school and before we finally moved in together. Unfortunately I unknowingly ruined his plan when I made the tough decision to cancel the trip in order to push my exam date back for more time to study :( So he was formulating a new plan when one morning I pointed out three hot air balloons outside my apartment window. We started talking about how we thought we had heard about some big balloon event. Paul looked it up and found out it was taking place in a few weeks—after my exam and on our last weekend before we moved.
He got really excited and started calling balloon owners trying to see if we could get up in a balloon for the event. I remember studying listening to him on the phone laughing to myself about how exited he was about the balloons. It turns out we weren’t cool enough (too late) to go up in a balloon so Paul though about what else might make the proposal special. He knows I love photos so he started contacting photographers. Everyone was unavailable–except one photographer who was from the small town where the balloon event was taking place and already planning on going to it! She was delighted by the idea and agreed to help him out.
The day of the proposal, we had spent all day packing up my apartment in Des Moines. We stopped working around 4pm and started getting ready. Paul did check that I had clothes to wear (since everything was packed) and verified I had left an outfit in my closet. Paul asked if there was a restaurant in Des Moines I hadn’t been to but have always wanted to go to–for us to go to after the balloon event. I thought that was such a great idea for our last night and suggested a little Italian restaurant downtown.
We started our drive to Indianola, IA home of the National Balloon Classic where hundreds of balloons were scheduled to launch at sunset to kick off a week long competition. After taking some creative dirt roads to avoid a massive traffic jam we arrived in time for Paul to get a prime blanket spot. We settled in and I had no idea Paul was texting the photographer behind my back letting her know our location. As the sun went down, the balloons began to inflate. We ran around taking photos of the balloons. Paul started being very particular about where he’d like to take our next photo–which is very unlike him. He finally got me to the perfect spot. As he was pretending to take a selfie of us, he put down his phone, looked at me, and said my full name. I immediately started crying as he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I grabbed him and hugged him until he finally asked if I wanted to put on my ring. Looking back at the photos, we realized we could clearly read his watch at the moment he put the ring on my finger: 7:29 on 7/29. It was the perfect end of 5 years of long distance and the perfect beginning of the rest of our lives together.