Phoebe and Tommy
How We Met
Tommy and I met at St. George’s School of Medicine in Grenada. Tommy is from Missouri and I am from Massachusetts, but somehow attending medical school in the Caribbean was destined to be the place we were to meet.
Tommy was in his second term, out of five, and I was in my first term. I had just finished midterm exams and was trying to find motivation to get back into the grind of intense studying. So I decided to call my dad for some inspiration and guidance. He reminded me of my love for running and working out and encouraged me to go to the gym to jumpstart the slow start to my morning. Due to a blister, I decided that I would ride the cardio-bike instead of running that day. After riding for about thirty minutes, this muscular fit guy walked into the cardio room from the weight room and tapped me on the shoulder with the brightest smile on his face and said, “Good morning! Do you always come to the gym at this time?” After having a conversation, mid-workout, we made a deal that if Tommy came for a run with me outside (because I didn’t feel too safe going out on the roads in Grenada alone) then I would lift with him in the gym soon after.
I went home filled with excitement because I had found a new running friend and was inspired by Tommy’s energy and smile at the early morning hours; something I had not really found in anyone, amongst the stress of medical school. Tommy had been praying for his future wife, whoever she may be for the past several years, so after meeting me, he went back to his room, praying to God, asking if I was the one!
Ever since that day we met at the gym, we have pushed each other in all aspects of our lives: our faith and relationship with God, in our academics, our fitness levels, etc. I know that it is truly a divine plan that God had us come to the same medical school in Grenada and meet on this twenty-mile diameter island in the middle of the ocean. Becoming a doctor is a long journey, but I am so grateful to have my best friend taking steps with me side by side.
How He Asked
When planning how to propose to my beautiful girl, it was obvious to me that I wanted to implement some of the most important aspects of our relationship into this surprise and include all the things that meant the most to her: God, friends, family, and where our love story began, Grenada.
Eighteen months ago, Phoebe and I met at St. George’s University Medical school in Grenada, West Indies. The year was 2014, Monday morning at 5am to be exact, when we met at the school’s gym. I didn’t even know her name yet, but I had a strong inclination to talk to her and I knew from that moment that she would be the girl I was going to marry some day. Through much prayer, God gave me a few signs to ask her on a date and to try and get to know her better, starting with her name! There was no hard work needed to find out her name, because my friends knew exactly who I was talking about when I described her smile to them. They had been mentoring her in the learning center all term for biochemistry. She too had a feeling about getting to know me better and friend requested me through Facebook. I know that it is truly a divine plan that God had us come to medical school here and meet on this twenty mile diameter island in the middle of the ocean.
Because we both enjoyed working out, amidst our crazy study schedules, we decided we would run 5 miles to Lans aux Epines to get to know each other better. This is a cliff in Grenada which points towards home and Phoebe had explained to me that she loved looking out into the horizon there but never felt comfortable running alone. This cliff became a very special place for us, as we included it in every one of our long distant runs, it was the last stop for all of our goodbyes at the end of each term, and it is where we shared some of our most intimate secrets with one another. This had to be the place where I would ask her to be my wife.
The proposal itself had been planned for several months since asking Phoebe’s parents for permission and their blessing for her hand in marriage. Phoebe expected her parents’ visit on Thursday April 7, right after her midterms. What she didn’t know is that I met them in Miami and traveled down on the plane sitting in between the two of them. She came to pick up her parents at the Grenada airport and it took every muscle inside of me to not run out there with them because it had been four months since I saw her beaming smile. I knew I had to hide if I wanted to pull off the surprise, so I stayed around the baggage claim and stayed at friend’s house for the next two nights to ensure that no one saw me. Late Friday night, I made my way to the school’s campus to set up the two locations I would have Phoebe go to before her arrival at the cliff, where I would be patiently waiting. After much help with many friends, the two rooms were perfectly set up and ready for the surprise on Saturday morning.
Saturday morning, 9:45am: Phoebe’s parents ask her if she can show them around campus. Her father asked nonchalantly if they could check out the place where Sunday’s CSA service was held each week. Upon entering the building, her parents handed Phoebe a letter, asked her to sit down in seat number 7… and she knew something was up! She kept asking what was going on but knew I had something to do with it because of her keen sense of smell (I may or may not have sprayed the letters with my cologne haha) Phoebe’s parents prayed with her and they kissed her on the cheek goodbye and it was there that she watched the first video. It was an introduction video of pictures from the past seventeen months of our journey together through medical school. Phoebe later explained to me that she, at this moment, didn’t suspect a proposal, simply she thought that I had planned a scavenger hunt for her parents and her to have some fun in Grenada. The letter she opened after the first video instructed her to go to the Caribbean house.
When leaving Bourne Hall, our amazing friend Meg was there to capture the rest of Phoebe’s adventure on video. With the help of friends, I had draped black curtains over all the windows in the place so that the room could be dimly lit with candles in the shape of hearts. Phoebe walked into the Caribbean house and found a bouquet of flowers and another letter. Once she sat down, another video was projected on the wall. This video consisted of small clips that I had been recording throughout my time of knowing Phoebe: moments I felt inspired by her love, hours before I asked her to be my girlfriend, minutes before I talked to her parents about the proposal plan, moments after I opened up to her and became vulnerable, and reflections about God’s revelations to me about our future together. At this point, Phoebe began to put together the pieces: today would be the day we would become engaged!
As instructed, Phoebe opened the letter after the video and it told her to go outside where she’d find our taxi driver, Jay, waiting for her. She jumped in the cab and Jay gave her an iPad to watch one last video that would help me allow all her friends and family and my friends and family to be with us through their words of encouragement and love on her drive to the cliff where I would be waiting for her. Phoebe was filled with laughs and tears as our friends and family explained to her how much she meant to all of them and how happy they were for her and I.
Once she got to the cliff, both her parents greeted her with open wide arms! Her mom had her quickly change into a dress and she was told to walk carefully along the cliff where she would find me. But the runner that she is, injured and all, came sprinting towards me and jumped into my arms.
After reading some Scripture and making some promises, I got down on one knee and asked the last question I would ever ask her on that cliff, where so many questions had been asked before, I asked her to marry me…… She said YES!