how we met
Amanda (A): Jonathan and I met the summer of 2009 at a basketball tournament. He was a 3rd year dental student and played on the same team as my brother and cousins, where he saw me sitting on the sidelines. My hair was what first caught his attention, causing him to ask one of my cousins about me. When he found out I had just graduated high school, he knew he couldn’t approach me any time soon. The following spring of 2010 he came to La Sierra University for Alumni Weekend, where I was going to college at the time. We talked quite a bit as I showed him new renovations around campus. Our last stop was the music hall where he asked me to play a little something for him on the piano. I felt like he was starting to drop some hints that he was interested in me, but I quickly shut those thoughts down once I reminded myself he was my older cousin’s friend.
Jonathan (J): After that weekend, I kind of formulated a plan. I figured this girl would probably have a boyfriend or two during college, and I would just keep in touch with her and check up on her once in a while. Once she’d finish college, I’d be able to at least ask her on a date or something to that affect.
A: I had no idea about this plan until 7 years later. But the crazy thing is that his plan actually happened! I got a boyfriend my second year of college and we were together for over 4 years. Jonathan contacted me once every year via Facebook or text messaging as he planned, asking how life was. In my world school was going well, relationship going strong, and life was moving along.
J: While checking on her during the years, I realized one major hitch! Amanda was a very committed person (which I admired), as she continued to be with the same relationship throughout this time. I happened to contact her a day after her 4th year anniversary, and reality began to set in that the possibility of even asking her on date was basically becoming impossible.
A: I moved to WA with my parents spring of 2015 and my long term relationship ended that summer. We knew we weren’t right for each other and ultimately wouldn’t be happy together. J: In August of 2015 as I was humming along through life, a picture of Amanda popped up on my Instagram. While I had placed her out of my mind, my interest piqued as I immediately noticed two things. One, she had cut her hair, and two it appeared that she moved from California to Washington. I held onto the slight hope that her cutting her hair symbolized a significant life change, such as she just might be finally single! Containing my excitement, I decided to take a soft approach and sent her a text saying hi and asking if she had moved. After one week of no response I thought maybe she got a new phone or contacts got deleted, so I sent one more text asking the same thing. This time…Success! She texted back! And thus began the very beginning of our textual relationship.
A: I always remembered him to be a good guy and since he was my cousin’s friend…I reluctantly messaged back. From August to October, It was a slow back and forth due to my delayed responses. He’d mostly text me on the weekends and I’d text at my convenience, sometimes four to five days later. Finally, in October, I decided to reciprocate and ask “How about you? What are you up to this weekend?” He mentioned he was going to a smart conference– which is the type of thing I’m totally interested in. His response opened the door to deeper, more meaningful conversations. Even still, he was no more than just my cousin’s friend and a good texting buddy. I started enjoying our conversations and my response times went from four to five days to four to five hours.
J: This girl would take forever to respond back. Talk about a tough customer! It took about a month to get the confirmation that she indeed was single. Once I verified her singleness, I decided to entertain the possibility of executing my plan I devised 7 years ago. It really was now or never! There were however a couple large obstacles to deal with. First, she moved to Washington, which increased our physical distance. More importantly, the relationship we had was clearly one-sided towards my end. I had no way to adequately convey the high value and qualities I felt I brought to the table. With no other realistic recourse, I reluctantly satisfied myself with our main source of communication—text messaging. At this point I could only do a slow but persistent approach. After a couple of months, our conversations became deeper and more meaningful, but the relationship stayed unfortunately, very one-sided.
A: At the end of December, I started listening to a Tony Robbins series on relationships, which inspired me to write a list that included everything, literally every single thing, I wanted in my future husband. My list ended up being several pages long. I then went through the list and circled the “MUST-HAVES” which significantly condensed my list to a couple sentences. The whole purpose of this was to be the person I wanted to be with and work towards that. After I made my list, I knew I’d be happier alone than be in a relationship that wasn’t thriving. I made a decision to focus completely on being the best version of myself. I told my inner circle about my list and exactly what I was looking for so they’d know to not bring up guys who didn’t have what was on my list. My list included: An open-minded, reasonable individual who has a burning desire to be the best version of them self. Someone who will challenge me to be a better woman, who will appreciate what I have to offer, and accept me and my family as we are. Someone who will make what is important to me, important to him. I remember looking at my list, saying a little prayer, feeling a sense of complete happiness and being okay with not finding what I was looking for. At this point, Jonathan and I were still texting, but I wanted to end it because of the decision I had made to focus on me. I thought the best way to cut him off was to him the question, “ why he was single.”
J: Oblivious that this question was an attempt to end our communications, I took Amanda’s question as an opportunity to flesh out why I was single. I had an idea why, but I had never fully thought about or solidified the reasons. For the first time in my life I wrote everything out. I started by describing the factors and events that brought me to my current state. Then I described what I felt I brought to the table along with what I was looking for in a potential partner. And I ended by saying I am content in being single until I find who and what I want.
A: I literally got goose-bumps after reading his text. I ran to my mom immediately and read out the entire thing. There sitting in the middle of his text was my entire “ MUST HAVES” list!!! This is where THE SWITCH happened. He was no longer just my cousin’s friend. He became someone I was very interested in.
J: After I sent my response to Amanda, I had the opportunity to ask her a reciprocal question on her singleness, previous relationship or something related to this area. Instead I went a different route.
A: He then texted that he had a question for me. I thought it would be a loaded question like I had for him. Instead it was “Can I take you on a date?”
J: All of a sudden what seemed out of no where Amanda became very involved and connected in our texting. She was asking questions, responding extremely quickly, and even flirting. At this point I wasn’t entirely sure why she became so interested, and I decided to just go along with it. Pretty soon it became apparent to both of us that we needed to meet up in person. I offered to fly up to Washington or fly her down to Arizona twice. Seeming hesitant I jokingly suggested we meet in Maui since I would be there for a week taking continuing education classes. To my utter surprise, she was totally on board with this location!
A: I was indeed hesitant for him to fly to my home or for me to go to his. However, the timing of his Maui trip perfectly coincided with end of my board exams, so it naturally just worked out! We figured a first date in Hawaii could was a win-win. If things didn’t work out, well at least we were in Hawaii and could still have fun for a week. And if things did work out, we would have one of the best love stories around. Lucky for us, we got the love story!
how they asked
J: I had never really thought of a proposal plan before but knew I had to make it meaningful because Amanda is a very sentimental person, and I wanted her to truly cherish this moment. One thing I knew she wanted for her engagement was for our immediate families to be present on that day. The problem was, our families are spread all across the U.S. Again, timing continued to work in our favor and things continued falling into place. Her cousin and my close family friend were getting married in CA and both our families were attending.
A: Due to our unique situation, we both talked about having the engagement the day after my cousin’s wedding since both our families would be there. We were set on this plan for a couple days, I had already started coming up with ideas to make the day extra memorable since I thought I’d take advantage of the fact that I knew when the proposal was going to be, so I started writing a song and texted his closest friends regarding a video I wanted to make for him. But after he mentioned how stressful and impossible it would be to plan a meaningful proposal in 2 weeks, I dropped the idea because I didn’t want him to do anything he didn’t feel was right…
J: It was all part of my plan of course, because I wanted to surprise her. I was super stressed, but thankfully I found the The Yes Girls, who helped me pull off an amazing and beautiful proposal. I contacted the The Yes Girls and told them the ideas I had for my proposal, and they brought the idea into fruition. I wanted the whole day to be memorable with the actual proposal being the icing on the cake. I ended up telling Amanda that I still wanted that Monday to be a meaningful day and that we should take advantage of the fact that we were in California. I told her we should go on a date and make a nostalgic stop at La Sierra University where we first talked 7 years ago. With help from Amanda’s sister and cousin I devised a schedule that would have us hopping all around southern California ending at the proposal site.
A: I was staying at a hotel with my cousins and sister when I got a wake-up call from my mom at 5:30 a.m. After I showered, my girls were sitting up with awkward half smiles. It was too early for me to process anything. They pointed to a box with a note that read: My best friend Ashlee came a few minutes later to spend the morning with us. We enjoyed a yummy complimentary breakfast early Monday morning. As we were eating, one of my cousins placed a plate of pancakes on the table with a J + A cut out; something we did when we were in Hawaii. After we ate, my handsome man arrived to pick me up for our date.
J: At this point, I wanted her to think that I was going to propose at LSU. What I didn’t know was that she had a surprise for me there! The couple of days that she thought I was going to propose, she decided to write song for me. We revisited the music hall where we once talked 7 years ago and she played the song. The flood of love and nostalgia was deep!
A: As mentioned before, in the couple days I thought he was going to propose, I started thinking of ways to make the day extra special and meaningful for him. I wanted him to feel an abundance of love that day so I wrote a song and got his close friends to record short videos for him, sending their well wishes to him since most of them he hadn’t seen in a while. They really got creative with their videos. He definitely felt the love.
J: To Amanda’s surprise a proposal did not happen at LSU. Instead we went to Laguna Beach. The Yes Girls, and their team, were able to design my proposal idea have it ready to go at the designated time, all organized in just two short weeks. I got secretly mic’d up by one of the videographers, and we headed down to the beach.
A: The entire set-up was gorgeous and so well done. As we walked down the steps to the beach, he started by giving me a lei- just like he did when I arrived in Hawaii for our first date. Wood was carved in shapes of Google map location pins with beautifully written calligraphy on every pin. Each marker had a number on it representing significant moments that took place in our story and a short description of each. He walked me through our love story timeline from when we first met 7 years ago, our first hang out, the years of checking on me, our textual relationship, THE SWITCH, our first date in Hawaii, becoming official, and road-tripping to meet each other’s families. Vintage suitcases and flower arrangements added a sweet romantic touch to the whole set-up. The pins lead to our final destination, a beautifully decorated hammock where he started his spiel. I was overwhelmed with all the feels by this point.
After re-capping our love story and reassuring his love for me, he got down on one knee and said there was one more surprise. I gave him an idea of what I liked, but he went above and beyond with the ring. It was even better (and bigger) than what I imagined it to be!
After saying yes, our inner circle came out to greet us. They had watched the entire proposal from afar. The entire day was filled with so much love, but the day wasn’t over yet. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, my brother and sister-in-law had gathered our extended families for lunch to celebrate our engagement.
The thoughtfulness behind all the planning and our families coming from afar to celebrate with us made the day extra special and meaningful. My favorite part though, is that this is just the beginning of spending the rest of my life feeling like the luckiest girl in the world to be with the man of my dreams.