Victoria and Ruben
How We Met
Ruben and I met online shortly after I graduated from college and moved home to work for an AmeriCorps program. Most of my friends had moved on to other places around the U.S. and abroad after college, so I was finding it difficult to make new friends or date. A friend suggested I try OKCupid, and I’m so glad I did – a few dates in, I knew Ruben was the one for me! He is the science to my art history, the laid-back to my worrying, the sweet to my savory, the optimism to my realism (some would say pessimism), and the goofy to my… well, goofy. We balance each other out, give each other new perspectives, and challenge each other to be better people.
How He Asked
WaterFire is a world-renowned creative placemaking event that transforms downtown Providence through the lighting of hundreds of braziers on the water – usually April through November depending on the tides. I’ve been going since I was practically a baby, and the event has always held special meaning for me. When I was growing up I always wanted to ride in one of the gondolas on a WaterFire night – there’s a company that imported several authentic Venetian gondolas and trains gondoliers to give visitors a uniquely up-close and intimate experience of the fires, culminating in WaterPlace Park, a circular arrangement of braziers that is just stunning. In any case, Ruben surprised me on my birthday three years ago and reserved a ride for the two of us on one of the gondolas with champagne that he’d managed to hide underneath his winter coat and everything – it was a dream come true! Saturday, November 7th of this year was the last WaterFire event of the season. We’d been cutting back by eating out less to save money, so Ruben asked several weeks in advance if I’d like to go with him to try a sushi place that looks out on WaterPlace Park and walk around WaterFire afterwards. I didn’t think anything of it, and even once we approached the landing where the gondolas come and go, I thought we were just stopping to chat with a friend of mine who was working the event. Ruben surprised me (again!) with yet another trip around WaterFire via one of the beautifully-crafted gondolas with our wonderful gondolier, Alessandro. The gondola trip is about 30 minutes, so I was taking photos, video, and snuggling with Ruben, just happy to be together experiencing something I loved. Just after we reached WaterPlace Park, Ruben stealthily got down on one knee in front of me, delivered a sweet and thoughtful proposal, and presented me with a beautiful bamboo ring box, to which I obviously yelled, “Yes!” Strangers on either side of the water were cheering and clapping for us. I was ecstatic, but it didn’t end there. By the time we were about to reach the dock to get off the gondola, I saw a crowd of some of our closest family and friends taking photos, cheering, clapping, and screaming “Mazel Tov!” I’ve never felt so lucky and so loved, and I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with Ruben by my side!