How We Met
I was a recent transplant to Oakland, CA. At the time I was working on a joint education research project. A colleague that was working with me on the project asked me to come and present some of our findings to a group of Oakland based educators. I originally said no, as it was on my birthday and I was heading to LA with my friends to celebrate. My colleague convinced me, promising me I would only need to stay for 15min. It was April 10th, 2013. Of course I know the day, because it was my birthday. I presented to the group of educators, left my business card and went to LA to celebrate. Fast forward a few days and I received an email from a Tony Emerson, who was at the presentation asking if we can meet and discuss some potential work collaboration. Sure, of course. The following week, we meet up, grab some coffee and began to chat. The conversation was a mix of work and fun random banter. I wasn’t necessarily interested in dating, but as a recent transplant I was totally interested in making new friends. And it turned out, Tony and I had lots in common. We emailed a few times, after about email #3, it was clear he was flirting with me. Me, as a self identified professional flirt thought it was harmless. We continued to email back and forth and met up again a few weeks later for coffee to discuss “work.” A few days after our second coffee meeting, the same colleague that asked me to come and present to the group of educators, randomly asked me if I was single, and said ” inquiring minds wanted to know.” Ha… inquiring minds… The following week, Tony and his roommates hosted a dinner party, of which I attended. Tony walked me back to the train at the end of the party, where I just called out the obvious and said, “you totally have a crush on me.” He immediately turned bright red. It didn’t matter whether he did or not, I enjoyed his company and planned to continue cultivating a friendship. We began hanging out, going on hikes and runs together. Quickly, our friendship shifting into something more, admittedly, it took us/me a while to actually admit that. Our first “official” date, was three months after we met, and ironically it was a wedding. I then went to LA to visit him over the summer, and we have been together basically ever since.
how they asked
This is a great story. Lets just get that out of the way. Saturday, May 7th. That morning, Tony and I ran a quick 5k around Lake Merritt for a fundraiser. All was normal for us, we went to breakfast after our run, then he dropped me off at home. I got home, my sister was putting up shelves in her room, I went in to help her. She quickly looked at my nails and said, “UGH I cant believe you are walking around with nails looking like that,” and proceed to evoke the thoughts her stylish and fabulous boss would bestow upon me if she saw my nails looking so “disgraceful.” I know this may seem harsh, and like it may have been a give away, however, this is normal exchange between my sister and me. So, I said fine, I will paint them. My sister, my best friend and I had dinner planned at a jazz restaurant in San Francisco later that night, a good enough reason to have painted nails.
My best friend recently moved to the Bay Area, and landed a new job. So we were going to dinner to celebrate her, well that is what I thought. I painted my nails, took a nap, read a book, and watched TV. A normal leisurely Saturday. That evening, my best friend came to my apt so we could all go to dinner together. She comes over, wearing heels and a cute skirt. My sister comes out of her room in heels and a really cute outfit. I, had on flat shoes and jeans. They immediately questioned my attire, and shamed me into changing clothes (thank God they did) but in protest I wore very minimal make up. We headed to the city for dinner, all seemed normal to me. I had no reason to suspect otherwise. At the restaurant, the hostess sat us in a booth that was too large for just 3 people and it was kind of in the back of the restaurant where not many people were seated. About 5 minutes after we were seated one of Tony’s friends came over to the table as our server.
I didn’t think much of it, I thought, hey, maybe he had a second job, this is the Bay- life is expensive. Tony’s friend handed us a menu, I look down at the menu and it says “Specials for Aishatu.” I am utterly confused and begin to look at my sister and my friend’s menu to see if their menu also had their name, nope it had mine. A few of the menu options were, “An evening with food and fun with your besties in life,” “a lifetime of ups, downs, highs, lows and above all else-Love.” As I start to realize this was happening, 3 of Tony’s friends surround our booth singing an acapella version of Justin Timberlake’s song Mirrors. In the acapella group, is one of my best friends that lives in DC. I see her face, and I know exactly what is happening, and I begin to cry. Tony joins the group taking the solo, “You are my reflection, all I see is you, my reflection in everything I do…” at this point I am balling, like that ugly cry.
As Tony as his friends are singing, 2 more of my best friends and my niece that all live in different states across the country (Colorado, Utah, and DC) walk over to join in. They each walk in separately holding flowers, so I scream each time one walks in. At this point I am hysterically crying, actually hyperventilating. Tony gets on one knee, I actually have no idea what he said, all I heard was “I love you, will you marry me.” It was the most beautifully planned team effort. So, I had the rest of the weekend with my new fiance, my best friends, my sister and my niece.
My sister planned more fun activities for the remainder of the weekend. Of which, was mostly spent on the beach roasting marshmallows with everyone telling me about the planning, coordination, and logistics of this event, and I cried over and over again hearing every detail. I am so blessed to have such amazing friends and family, and I don’t think I could have dreamed a better fiance.