How We Met
Matt and I met for the first time in my friend’s car at the airport, October 2010. I had just flown to Seattle for a conference and one of my best friends from college was picking me up (with the required glass of wine) for a few fun days of catching up before I had to head to work. Matt and my friend Courtney had known each other since high school and he had just moved to Seattle for a new job. She invited him out with us that night since he was new to town. I was happy to have a cute guy along for the night- no complaints!
I think within the first 20 minutes of the drive I learned that he was a volunteer firefighter during college, was working as an engineer, and had delivered a baby in a car (weird, but awesome). I was totally smitten! We spent the night bar hopping, playing skeeball (which is my favorite) and having a great time. Obviously the attraction was mutual because Matt crashed at Courtney’s that night and then came out with us after work the next day as well. We texted the whole weekend that I was at my conference and saw each other once more before I flew back to Wisconsin (where I was in school for my masters degree). I got his number and we stayed in touch, talking into the wee hours of the morning more often than my sleep-deprived grad school student self would have liked but I couldn’t help it.
I came back out to the west coast for new years a few months later and Matt joined my friends and I at a cabin for the weekend. We were inseparable and the attraction was confirmed. It helped that we actually had so many mutual friends because he lived in Oregon for a few years and then I met a lot of those people in college at the University of Oregon. To this day we frequently say, oh yeah- I was at that party! I can’t believe we didn’t meet sooner. I flew back to Wisconsin, now having graduated with my Masters degree, and began to figure out plans to move back to the west coast. I wont say that I did it for him (I am a strong, independent female after all), but he was definitely a factor. We started officially dating that next summer and the rest is history…
On a hike together during our first summer together. We spent a perfect day up at Hurrican Ridge in the Olympic National Park before he left to pursue his career as a World Cup skier cross athlete. I didn’t see him for 3 months after this and it was tough since we were so new, but I didn’t doubt us for one second. We are all about active things and I planned a fun triathlon for my friends. Matt isn’t the best swimmer (I played water polo in college so needless to say I can swim) but he didn’t hesitate once and grabbed his snorkel and fins and completed the swim (before kicking my butt in the bike and run of course).
how they asked
As an oceanographer, I often participate on research cruises in remote places. In Spring 2016 I was headed out for 6 weeks on the Indian Ocean. I had just moved to Montana less than a year previous (Matt had relocated there and I was ready for a change from the Seattle city life) and while I was really enjoying it, I was excited to be on the ocean (and escape the spring snowshowers in Montana). When on a research cruise you don’t get to use the phone, and internet is spotty, making any type of Skype or video impossible. Matt was in the final months of Paramedic school, field training hours, and final tests so I was sad to leave him during that, but I knew we both had something to look forward to in 6 weeks. My research cruise ended in Thailand and it happened to coincide with the date of Matt’s final exams for Paramedic school. I bought him a ticket to meet me in Thailand (business class on Emirates Airlines no less!) and we planned to have a relaxing 6 days there on the beach celebrating his school success and catching up on all that we had missed during my 6 weeks away. We had gotten our SCUBA certification together years previous and decided to get our Advanced Certification in Thailand while there.
Fast forward to Matt arriving in Thailand- we had a great first day, exploring on the scooter we rented and catching up on life together. The next day we headed out for day 1 of our SCUBA trip. Our instructor was awesome and we were having a great time on the first couple dives, getting to see new fish and sea life and learning new skills. On the 3rd and last dive of the day, our instructor told us to just go out and have fun and we wouldn’t be doing any skills testing on that dive. It was a beautiful location called Shark Point in the Andaman Sea. About 10 minutes into the dive, I had separated from the group a bit (as per usual to Matt’s chagrin) and didn’t notice Matt scribbling things on the dive slate. About halfway into the dive Matt grabbed my fin and pulled me down to a sandy spot. He took out the dive slate and on it I read “Wanna get married?”! As I processed everything happening, Matt was busy unearthing the ring that was secured in his shorts pocket.
Matt had thought ahead and written “Yes or No?” on the next page of the dive slate so after circling YES, he slipped the ring on my finger (luckily it fit!). We shared an awkward hug and kiss and kicked off hand in hand. Luckily, Matt had checked in with the dive instructor before this and he was able to capture a couple photos as the whole thing went down. The whole thing totally screamed “Matt” as he isn’t one for long drawn out professions of love and he knows I would cry uncontrollably if proposed to on dry land.
Not only was this moment unforgettable but it was exactly “us”- no fanfare, just doing what we love, together. The blue Montana sapphire in the ring will forever remind me of the ocean (quite possibly the only thing I love more than the man I get to marry) and especially the amazing day we had. He had told my mother of his plans so rather than rush home that night and Skype all of our family and friends we decided to just keep the proposal to ourselves for a few days and surprised his mom with the news on Mother’s Day (which was just a few days later).