Shawnee and Bret
How We Met
Bret and I first saw each other in a hallway at NC State University during my first week of grad school in August, 2016. Immediately twitterpated, I looked down at the ground to avoid eye contact, which I never do. We then met again at “bug camp” (we were getting our masters degrees in Entomology). We continued as friends for seven months, until he asked me to be his girlfriend. I walked into my office on campus one day and noticed there was fresh pressed juice sitting on my desk. I knew it had to be him because he would always make fun of the juice I drank daily! He bought one titled “Kale me maybe?” and the other “Quest Love.”
After five months of dating, I became very sick. It was debilitating and I was pretty much bedridden for three months. We both knew we were eventually going to marry each other; I mean, when you know, YOU KNOW. At that time, I told him “You can not propose to me until I get better. I want to be completely healthy before we even think about getting married”. I finally received a diagnosis in January 2018 that I have a chronic nervous system illness. I told him he did not have to stay with me and that I did not want him to live a life with someone who can’t always keep up with the excitement. He did not have that conversation at all! He could not believe that I would think he would leave me for being chronically sick. This motivated me to try to live my life to the best of my ability, regardless of being sick…and I was able to finish graduate school!
How He Asked
We just moved to California five days before he proposed and our mothers helped us with our move across the country. I wanted to treat them with a nice day of wine tasting at Castello di Amorosa in Calistoga, CA. After a bit of wine (which he claims he needed to calm his nerves) and exploring, we went outside into the vineyard to pick some grapes and get a picture of the castle!
I was eating grapes and saw that both of our mothers had their phones out facing myself and the castle. Bret was standing right in the middle of their view. I told Bret to move out of the way so that they could get a picture of the vineyard/castle 😂. (I had no idea what was going on/why he was standing there in front of them).
Of course, he played along and moved out of the way. Our mothers said, “okay we got the picture of the castle, now let us take a picture of you two in front of it”! So we took a picture together (I still have a bunch of grapes in my hand) and then I heard “you know how much I love you right?!” I turned around and my jaw dropped, as did the grapes I was holding in my hand. He continued with “Shawnee Cecelia Gundry, will you marry me…” and I completely blacked out from there, nearly fainting! I was in complete shock and did not believe what was happening.
I have no idea how I had no clue this was going to happen. He custom made the ring five months ago, only two months after my diagnosis. Somehow he kept it a secret for that long! He pulled off a surprise proposal in beautiful Napa Valley, CA.