Almost two years ago I was accepted into Teach For America. They placed me in rural South Carolina to teach 8th grade science. Living in San Diego, I was terrified to leave everything I knew and loved to move across the country where I knew no one and jump into a brand new, incredibly challenging profession. I had joked with my friends that I was moving to the South to live out my very own Nicholas Sparks novel. I even invented an imaginary man named Tripp who would woo me upon my arrival in South Carolina. A few days after my big move I was getting settled in and I met Ryan. As a Tinder match I was hesitant, but I met him out at a small-town beer and dog festival and never looked back. Fast forward to our first Valentine’s Day and he surprised me with a trip to his Meemommy’s (Southern for grandmother!) river house. An adorable fishing cottage on the Wadmalaw River, it became a place where we grew together and fell more in love during each visit to our secluded hideaway. It was only fitting that he would take me back to the dock where we shared beers, laughter and conversations that would solidify our love to ask me to be his, forever. After spending some time on the dock after we arrived, we had started to walk back when Ryan stopped me and said he had a surprise for me. Standing under the trees with the bReese blowing through the hanging Spanish moss, he asked me to close my eyes and even checked that they were closed several times (because he’s a dork). I heard some shuffling and then the song that has somehow found its way into every important part of our relationship – Christina Perri’s A Thousand Years – began playing. It was then I knew that this was the moment I had been (not so patiently) waiting for! He told me to open my eyes ano I saw him down on his knee looking up at me in the way I’d always imagined the love of my life would see me. He proceeded to tell me how special I was to him, how much he loved me, and how happy it would make him if I would marry him. I immediately told him that of course I would! It was then I finally got to look at the ring. Sitting beautifully in the setting we had picked together was the diamond that my mother has worn through 36 years of marriage to my father. Having a piece of their love, which I’ve admired and held dear my whole life, as we begin our own journey into marriage is the most beautiful thing I could have ever asked for. A leap of faith, a 2,100+ mile journey, and a swipe right led me to the man of my dreams. Though I don’t think Tinder has found its way into one of Mr. Sparks’ novels just yet, I found my soulmate in the Carolinas by the sea grass and he’s so much more incredible than any man I could have dreamed up. I can’t wait until the day I get to marry my best friend in front of everyone that is special to us and continue to live out our real-life love story.