How we met: The first time we met was July 19, 2013 while we were both sailing the Adriatic Sea off the coast of a small island in Croatia called Vis. I was a 23-year-old, born-and-raised New Yorker on Yacht Week with friends. After a night of partying, I awoke to see we were fortunate enough to be docked next to a boat of extremely hot Dutch guys.
Soon after, we were having a day party with a super fun group and dancing to 80’s music. I sparked a short conversation with their mysterious sailing captain, the best looking man I’d ever seen (half out of interest, half to see if he was a real person or Greek statue). This man is now my fiancée, Guido, and his appearance turned out to be the least interesting thing about him.
Eventually, it was time to prepare for dinner and the evening out. The sun began to fade, but Guido’s image never did. Later that night we went to the same party and I felt my heart racing when I saw him again. Filled with champagne, atop an ancient fort overlooking the massive ocean, we had our first kiss. The rest of the week was spent anxiously searching for their boat and excitedly succeeding. The short few days spent with Guido were magical. I couldn’t believe how similar we were- so much so that I did not believe he was from the other side of the earth. I even told him, “if you don’t want to see me after this week, you don’t have to lie that you’re Dutch, we just won’t exchange phone numbers.”
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to exchange numbers and given the nature of sailing, missed an opporuntiy for a proper goodbye. I thought I may never see him again and felt an unexpected panic I had never felt before. I was surprised about how strongly I felt about that charismatic stranger.
Fear not! Showing the same dedication and persistence that I have come to know and love so well, Guido tracked me down and asked to visit me in New York. Instinctively, I said yes. Once I saw Guido again in New York, it was as if everything I had done in my life had led up to that moment. It confirmed the two certainties that I suspected since I saw him last- one, that I was in love with this man and two, that we had a lot of obstacles and statistical odds against us.
I did not study immigration law in law school (which I regret everyday) but the legal complexities of being together were stark and rigid. The highest highs we reached together were matched with equally low lows but Guido never questioned the worth of our love and did not falter or doubt even once. One year and a half later after countless vacations, skype dates, phone calls, letters, texts, tear-filled airport hugs, and an endless roller coaster of plans to move to each other, we finally found a way to bring Guido to New York for a few more months. I have never felt more alive than I do with Guido or more dead without him. Having both completed schooling and nothing else holding us back, we found ourselves certain of one thing. Home was a person, not a place, and we would not be separating again.
how they asked: We lived together in Brooklyn Heights for some time last Spring, and often strolled the promenade while sharing dreams of raising our family there because it felt like both of our homes, the proximity to bustling New York City coupled with the village-like intimate charm that Amsterdam offers. On February 8, we went to or favorite neighborhood cafe and decided to go for a walk on the promenade. We were talking a lot about our shared dream of being partners in life and adventure and Guido started to act pretty nervous looking over his shoulder and telling me to walk slowly. I got suspicious and before I could guess what was about to happen, Guido was down on one knee and said the most beautiful words I’ve ever heard asking if I would “please” marry him. OF COURSE! It was an out of body experience; I literally saw stars.
Guido had also hired a photographer who once took beautiful candid photos of us in Times Square knowing I wouldn’t want to forget this- the best day of my life. G also arranged to have champagne to celebrate and then suggested we go to the Brooklyn Winery to talk and grab a drink. This was already a perfect day, but once we walked into the winery, the waitress assured me that the door kept swinging open and was freezing the bar out so we should sit upstairs. As we headed upstairs and the door swung open, my family, my friends, so many people I loved were there waiting to congratulate us. I have never been so overwhelmed with love in my life I can’t believe my heart didn’t burst into a million pieces.
I truly feel like the luckiest girl in the world to have a modern day prince who knows me so well to be able make the event this perfect and went to such lengths to make me feel so loved. This proposal was just a precursor to our life together and I could not be happier or more grateful that the gorgeous guy from The Yacht Week dared me to dream and follow my heart. It is true that love knows no bounds and can overcome the seemingly impossible.
Photos by Arken Avan