Samantha and Ivan

How We Met

How Ivan and I met is a true testament of how God uses all horrible things for good. The circumstances in which we met are far from the norm but so is our relationship. Two years ago I was working as a TV news reporter in southeastern New Mexico. I heard about an incident of a man shooting an intruder who was trying to break into his home with a knife. The event took place the night before. In every reporter’s mind, this break-in had all the elements of a great story. I immediately got approval to cover the story.

When I arrived on the scene, maintenance specialists were replacing a shattered window and broken door. I was in reporter mode and began filming footage of the scene for the news story that would air later that evening. As I was shooting one of the repairmen shouted, “Hey the homeowner is home for your interview.”

I looked up, to see a youngish looking man walking toward me, “Are you filming in my yard?” It wasn’t the greeting I was expecting. As we continued to talk, I would find out he was the man who, in self-defense had to shoot the intruder. It was later revealed he was a firefighter at a local station in town. I tried to persuade him for an interview and received a solid NO. However, he did say, “I won’t give you an interview, but I will take you out for coffee.” What do you do if a handsome man who happens to be a hero asks you out for a coffee? You go to coffee, naturally!

Two years, a rescue cat, a 946-mile move and two new jobs later we are still together.  We live in southern California. I’m still reporting, and Ivan is still firefighting. The rest is history! Literally. We have been together ever since.

How He Asked

I will forever remember Feb. 25. Ivan had an entire day planned out just for me. He went undercover and was sneaky the day we got engaged. The big day came when I met my baby blue (i.e., my ring ) unknowingly after I had just returned home from a trip. I had just come home from visiting my family Arizona. It was very stressful getting back because my flight through United was delayed FIVE times. I was tired. I was missing Ivan. I was so frustrated. The next day Ivan had an entire day dedicated to me. I thought he planned the day because my trip was crappy at the end. If I am sad or mad, Ivan will always do anything in his power to fix the situation.

Ivan had been acting very quiet, and I could tell that deep down he was a little stressed about something, but I couldn’t tell exactly what it was. I figured he was stressing about work. He said that since he had missed me, he decided to plan a whole day just for us. We decided that we would take a boat sailing in Long Beach Harbor. We picked up snacks and food from Trader Joe’s and of course some of my favorite pink rosé. We sailed through the harbor listening to music, looking at overpriced harbor homes while drinking wine and eating food —it was perfect.

We sailed around for about two hours before coming back home to our home in Surfside. Ivan than recommended that we have a  “photo shoot” because the sunsets had been so beautiful lately. Of course, I was super excited because I love taking photos. Hand-in-hand we started walking down the beach when all of a sudden we encountered a pop-up tent beautifully decorated with roses, twinkle lights and lanterns. I thought someone was getting married.  Ivan said, “We should go check it out.”He had to force me to walk over to it until I realized it was for me. He brought me underneath the tent and started playing our song “Africa” by Toto.

He then handed me a journal. He asked me to read aloud the first page of the journal that ended with, “Sam will you marry me.” I looked down and saw him on one knee smiling holding a small velvet black box. He opened it up, and there it was this gorgeous ring.

Cue the tears!

The ring was more beautiful than I could’ve ever imagined.

He nailed it.

I, of course, said yes and instantly continued crying and hugging him for a good few seconds. He then said, “Can I put the ring on your finger?” I was so overwhelmed with the gesture of love. It was indeed a magical evening, and I’m so lucky to have a man who listens and takes into consideration my thoughts and wants. Later I would find out Ivan had been writing the journal since the very first week we met two years ago. The journal outlined the highlights of our lives together. From how we met to funny moments, inside jokes and all of the adventures we embarked on together. In the journal, I would find out Ivan went undercover. He secretly drove 7 hours to Arizona while I was home visiting to ask my father’s permission. Can we say, WOW! Later when all was revealed I was in awe of the length and effort Ivan put into this proposal.  It is incredible because later I would read in the journal he knew from the very first week we met that I was his lobster (“Friends” reference, look it up) :)