Ana and Stephen

Image 1 of Ana and Stephen

How We Met

Stephen and I are both from Pennsylvania. He and I first met freshman year of college in Pensacola, Florida in 2012. Apparently, we had a class together (I only vaguely remember that). Stephen messaged me online a few times and even invited me to go to the Commons (an on-campus hangout spot) for Middlesworth chips and birch beer (Pennsylvanian food). I never promised I would meet up with him, but years later he told me he kept those snack hidden from his roommates under his bed for weeks just waiting for me to meet up with him.

I started dating another guy second semester freshman year. We didn’t break up until just before senior year, so Stephen hadn’t even been on my radar at all. I took a break from all guys in general first-semester senior year, but when Stephen found out I was single again, I think he started getting ideas.

During Christmas break senior year right after New Years 2016, I had to get my wisdom teeth out. I was couch-ridden and drugged for a week! Social media was my only outlet to my boredom. Three days after my surgery I received a Snapchat video Stephen sent me of a random kid. It was obvious he was sending out a mass Snapchat, but because I was so bored I snapped him back. From then on out, we talked almost every day. For about two weeks, I only sent black screens or pictures of the room I was in because my face was so swollen and bruised from my surgery. After that, we would Skype almost every night getting to know each other more.

When I went back down to Florida to start my last semester of college, I was actually a little apprehensive to hang out much with Stephen. He was so easy to talk to, but I knew he saw us more than what I was ready for. It didn’t help that Stephen and my sister’s bf clicked almost immediately after meeting each other.

Stephen and I had an amazing friendship from the beginning, but I was petrified of starting a new relationship. We Skyped a lot from our dorm rooms, but every time I felt uncomfortable I told him I needed space. Eventually, in April, I had to cut it off completely because he wasn’t getting the hint that I wanted to stay just friends. He gave me space, but he would always tell me that he would wait for me. (I would get so frustrated when he told me that because I was convinced we would NEVER end up together.)

Image 2 of Ana and Stephen

Fortunately for me, he kept his word, and he never gave up hope. It took months after graduation in May 2016 for us to go on our first official date.

Stephen’s family moved to Alabama (just forty minutes from campus!) our junior year. After college, I ended up getting a job as a teacher in Pensacola. My mom and I drove down to Florida to move into my apartment mid-June. We stayed about a week before driving back up to Pennsylvania for the rest of the summer. Stephen and I hung out every single night. I swear that week I fell in love with that boy (I just didn’t realize it yet;)!

It wasn’t all butterflies and rainbows after that though, because my ex kept trying to get back in the picture. However, this man who I thought I would never like since freshman year was still as patient and kind as ever! Y’all! I am so glad I made the right decision! Stephen and I started dating the next May 2017.

how they asked

Stephen proposed on Memorial Day 2018.

My school year ended Friday, May 25, and I had to leave right away so I could get back by Saturday. My sister’s bridal shower was Sunday, the next day. He helped me drive the twenty hours from Florida to Pennsylvania so I wouldn’t have to do it by myself.

Image 3 of Ana and Stephen

On May 28, my family planned to have a picnic at our lake house for the holiday. Stephen suggested going to visit some of our favorite places around Lackawanna State Park that I’ve shown him the last time he visited my family, including one place I’ve named “the Peninsula.” It’s my favorite spot in the entire park. Hardly anybody knows about it or even knows how to get to it. We had to park on the side of the road and walk on a path through the woods until we reached the clearing. The land juts out into the lake, and it is absolutely beautiful. When we first arrived, we just talked for a little while. (I found out later he was trying to stall to make sure my brother was in place to take the pictures!)

Image 4 of Ana and Stephen

Image 5 of Ana and Stephen

He told me when he would leave to fly back down to Alabama the next day, he wasn’t going to leave me empty-handed. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him! I thought I was going to hyperventilate! I said, “yes!” and gave him the biggest kiss and hug! The best part is – he got back down on one knee and said, “Wait! I forgot to put the ring on you!” My heart literally melted!

Image 6 of Ana and Stephen

Image 7 of Ana and Stephen

I then noticed my brother hiding in the bushes taking pictures! My family was also waiting on the bridge with a perfect view of the peninsula!

Image 8 of Ana and Stephen

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Image 13 of Ana and Stephen