Rachel and Sean
How We Met
Sean and I met our senior year of college. At least, that’s my story. Sean would tell you that he remembers meeting me the year before. We were in a student meeting to start the planning process for Concordia’s spring break missions trips. I was leading the meeting and Sean said that he was very intimidated by me when he first met me! Conveniently, I don’t remember much about that first sighting. Before the start of our senior year at Concordia, Sean and I had both signed up to be a part of Orientation Team, a group of students who welcome incoming freshmen, getting to know them and helping them get familiar with the campus. All the students that were a part of Orientation Team had to come to campus early to go through training and plan for Opening Weekend. During that time, we all went through a series of bonding activities to get to know each other better. As I got to know the other students better, I saw the kindness that Sean had towards others, his humor, and his fun nature. So naturally I kept making up reasons to talk to him. As we got closer, I somehow knew. I told my friend Courtney: “I’m going to marry that boy some day.”
But when he asked me out on a date, I was afraid I wasn’t ready. Nevertheless, he took me miniature golfing on our first date. Sean claims he let me win, but, as someone who is completely unbiased, I don’t think it’s a coincidence that he still hasn’t won since! That evening, as we ate dinner in my dorm room, he asked me if I would be his girlfriend… and I said no. I wasn’t sure if I was ready, so I told him I needed time to think about it. Of course when I spoke with my dad a couple days later, he told me I was making a mistake and I should take a chance. So I asked Sean to meet me at a gazebo overlooking the lake. I opened up to him and asked him if he would still take me as his girlfriend. He said yes! And that was the beginning and end of everything.
How He Asked
It all started with an email… to the wrong person. Sean had been working at a camp the entire summer and was planning to move to Slovakia mid-August. He sent an email to my father to tell him that he wanted to propose. The only problem was that he accidentally sent the email to me instead! When I saw the email, I was ecstatic and quickly forwarded it to my parents, asking them to not tell Sean I knew about the proposal. Thankfully, the email contained no specifics regarding the time or place of the proposal. So I waited, not patiently, wondering when Sean was going to propose.
Fast forward to Saturday, July 4th. Sean was visiting me from camp and I, for obvious reasons, was wondering if this would be the weekend I had been waiting for. I was sitting on the couch contemplating this when I got a call from one of my closest friends, Emily. Emily sounded devastated over the phone. Knowing immediately that something was wrong, I asked her to tell me what had happened. Emily told me that her boyfriend had cheated on her and she needed to be with a friend. Shocked, I grabbed Sean and quickly drove to Concordia University Wisconsin, where Emily was staying, overlooking Lake Michigan. I honestly couldn’t believe that this had actually happened. Emily’s boyfriend was a good friend of ours. But when I got to Emily’s room, I suddenly believed. Emily was in tears, sobbing, with a pair of scissors ready to cut up photos of her and her boyfriend. She showed me text messages from the girl her boyfriend had cheated on her with. (Now, if you’re thinking this was real, don’t worry. This was all a ploy, which I had not yet figured out due to Emily’s fantastic acting skills).
I consoled her for while until she told me that she needed some time to grapple with the situation. Confused, I looked to Sean who suggested we go for a walk and then come back to check on Emily. So we walked down to the beach, along the shore, while Sean recounted some of his favorite moments from our relationship to “get my mind off of Emily.” When we walked up the bluff, we started walking to a white gazebo overlooking the lake. This was the same gazebo where I had first opened up to Sean, a few days after having said no to his request to start dating. And there it was: a table and chairs, beautifully decorated, with pasta and chocolate covered strawberries just waiting for us. Candles and lanterns were lit, with flower petals strewn all over the gazebo. That’s the moment I knew. We ate lunch and reminisced about our relationship. After that, Sean got down on one knee and pulled out my great grandmother’s beautiful ring. Of course, I said yes. I would never make the mistake of saying no to him again.
About a month later, Sean left for Slovakia to start teaching at an English Immersion high school. He would be in Europe for a total of two years, making ours a long distance engagement. I got to see him once during that time, but I am thankful that the distance is only making us stronger.