How We Met
Jamal and I met back in fall 2015 when I was still in college and living with my roommate, Cass. I wasn’t one to party much, but as school started up that fall I decided to have a “Year of Yes,” where I said yes to every opportunity and tried to make the most of my senior year before I graduated and had to head out into the real world.
It was my friend Jeanna’s birthday and everyone piled around Cass’ and my tiny card table in the kitchen to celebrate. There were quite a few people I didn’t know, one of them being Jamal. He was handsome and smart and had a really loud laugh, which I loved because it made me laugh too. What really caught my attention was that when I mentioned I played hurling (the national sport of Ireland) he knew what I was talking about! No one ever knows! So I probably talked his ear off about it, but I must not have bored him too much because we ended up talking the rest of the night. We bonded over our past trips to Ireland and our shared interest in fitness and health. At the end of the night I gave him my number, but didn’t expect much. It was a night out with a large group of friends and though we shared our first kiss that night, when we parted ways I thought it was just a great night to remember fondly.
A few days later, I got a text asking if I’d like to grab a drink and bar hop around Uptown. Being in the “Year of Yes,” I obliged. In the following weeks, we got to know each other, shared some great late night chats and bouts of laughter, exchanged goofy drawings, and I was beginning to fall fast.
Christmas came and went, we met each other’s families and became “official.” All while I worried what my upcoming study abroad trip to Italy would do to a new-ish relationship.
Jamal took me to the airport that day as I headed off on my adventure to Italy and that’s where we first said “I love you.”
3 years later and we’re still saying I love you in airports.
how they asked
In January 2017 Jamal and I bought dirt cheap plane tickets to Paris (my favorite place in the world) on a whim. The trip wasn’t for months and months so we had fun all year long sending ideas, restaurants, itineraries and food photos. We had been playing around with the idea of splurging on a tour (croissant making, wine & cheese tour, champagne, etc.), and I came across a Midnight in Paris on Wheels tour where you get a personal tour of the “secret” Paris, along with the big attractions all from the back of an old C2 Citroen. I scheduled it and planned the rest of our itinerary so we had a schedule packed with tourist attractions, my favorite Parisian streets, a few cultural side trips, and all of the pain au chocolat that we could manage. I’ve been to Paris a few times, but Jamal never had, so I wanted to make sure we both got a bit of everything.
We arrived in Paris at 7am on Saturday, November 4 and had a full day of walking around the city and getting acclimated to our arrondisement. After walking 10 miles and indulging in some wine, we called it a night to get ready for a full day of sight seeing and a late night at our Midnight tour. On Sunday we woke up leisurely, ate croque madame and sipped café crème, climbed the bell tower at Notre Dame (my favorite view in the world), wandered the Louvre, skipped along the Seine, climbed the Eiffel Tower’s million steps, watched it sparkling at midnight, and zipped around Paris in this little C2 Citroen (driven by our tour guide Nicolas!). It couldn’t have been a more perfect day. But then, Jamal pulled off the surprise of a lifetime and as I stood on the steps of a tiny church in the Latin quarter (the same one where Owen Wilson gets picked up and transported back to the 20s in the movie Midnight in Paris), I turned around to see him on one knee asking me to marry him.
And they say fairytales only happen in the movies…
We celebrated with champagne and crepes while Nicolas drove us around the quiet late-night, glittering streets of Paris. It truly was the best day of my life.