Rebecca and Chris

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How We Met

I moved back into my parents’ house in Connecticut in April 2017 after volunteering abroad in Cambodia for 3 months, and at the time I wasn’t sure if I would move back to Boston or not (where I had been working before I left the country). Despite being unsure of what state I’d end up in, I figured it would be a good idea to plug into the young adults bible study group at the church where I grew up.

After our large group met on Tuesday nights, a smaller group would go to Applebee’s to hang out. I wanted to start making friends, so I decided to join. Chris was there since the Navy stationed him in my town. We ended up sitting across from each other, and we bonded over traveling in Southeast Asia. My mom’s family is from Singapore, and Chris had loved visiting the country when he stopped there for a few days with the Navy.

Our first conversations were over Facebook messenger, and it was clear to me that Chris was interested in getting to know me as more than a friend. I thought he needed a little extra encouragement, so I took the initiative to give him my phone number and hinted that he should ask me out. He saw his chance when a friend challenged him to a running race over the Fourth of July holiday – since I was a runner, he asked me to be his coach! Our first date was a run together on June 5, 2017.

How He Asked

In August 2017, I knew Chris had started ring shopping because he wasn’t very sneaky about it. After that moment, I was constantly guessing when he would propose! Every little thing made me suspicious. We went away during the first weekend of October where I ran a half marathon in New York, and I was convinced he would pop the question then, but it was not to be.

A few weeks later, he started getting even more suspicious! Usually he was very open with his phone and would let me use it for anything, but all of a sudden I wasn’t allowed to see or touch it at all.

The morning of October 14, 2017, we headed up to Hartford for another half marathon. I was running this one as a pacer, which meant I was tasked with finishing at a certain time and other runners were relying on me to pace them properly. This was my first time pacing, and I nervously wrote down every mile split on my left hand that morning while Chris silently chuckled to himself.

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As I was approaching the finish line at the end of the race, I was frantically scanning the crowd on both sides of the course looking for Chris, but I couldn’t find him anywhere. Right before crossing the finish line, this woman came out to me and pulled me to the side and started gushing about what a great job I did pacing the race! In my mind I was so confused – who was this woman?? Did I know her? Did she know me? Is this a normal way for pacers to be treated at the end of a race?

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Then I saw Chris standing there in front of me. And he was holding a small box and smiling. As he knelt down on one knee, he says I asked him “what are you doing?” In that moment, everything around us disappeared. There were photographers and video cameras everywhere (and my sister and brother-in-law were right over his shoulder the whole time!) but I wasn’t able to process anything except the man in front of me. I couldn’t manage any words, but I was able to nod yes!

Immediately after, we were interviewed for the news unexpectedly, and were bombarded with more cameras and reporters. But we finally escaped all the commotion, went home, and spent a quiet rest of the day together while dreaming about the rest of our lives!

Special Thanks

Ian Pawluk
Photographer
Steve McLaughlin
Photographer