How We Met
The timing of how we met could be called ‘fate’, which is how I like to tell the story. I fly an average of 80 flights per year in a technology consulting role, only coming back home to Chicago on the weekends. I had been using the popular dating app, Tinder at the time, which is how I initially found the love of my life, Kristine Valenzuela. Her nursing co-workers put her on the app as a joke for three days, and coincidentally, those were the three days I was back home for the weekend. As I was swiping through, I found her and saw that we had many mutual friends in common, one of whom I have known for over a decade so I reached out to her to see if we could arrange a meetup. Upon meeting on a first date at Chipotle (because she had a work event to get to and I was busy with client work), we had a quick 30 minute introduction and hit it off immediately with a smooth flowing conversation. If I had not flown home that weekend, or if her co-workers had not put her on the app, it’s likely we would never have met. If she did not work at a hospital in Chicago, I would never have seen her on the app beacuse it limits your distance to a few miles. It may be called fate, it may be destiny, but in the end, became a tale of ‘Happily Ever After’ =)
Our second date at a gift exchange event:
how they asked
Since I fly so much for work, we had been going on many trips together; I would surprise her every 2 months with a weekend trip to a new destination around the world, only telling her the destination a couple weeks beforehand to prep clothing. I had been collecting photos, receipts, movie stubs, event tickets, airplane tickets over the course of the relationship and all the trips we were taking. After about 10 months of dating, I knew she was the one I was going to marry, so I began to formulate a plan to assemble all of the memories I was collecting into a scrapbook, something she’s very passionate about. I started filming myself every day writing a love note because I wanted to show her that I was thinking about her, even when I was in another city for work, and attaching a memory to each of these pages, creating the 258 day scrapbook. I did not initially know the exact date I was going to propose, only knowing that I wanted a big audience present to witness how much I love this woman. When I received a call from NBC to compete on the popular show American Ninja Warrior, I knew that my moment had come! After running the course and dominating in my rookie appearance, I got into the splits position, and proposed with a platinum diamond ring in front of both of our families, along with millions of other viewers. As part 2 of the proposal, I presented her with the finalized scrapbook consisting of all 258 pages of memories, along with the video I had created (see below!). Even suffering a broken leg and going in for tendon surgery, getting lasik surgery, and training for Ninja Warrior, I was able to pull it off every single day. Wouldn’t trade that final moment or the world proposing on national television, and hoping to inspire many others to treat their significant others with love and compassion!