Caitlin and Alex
August 29, 2014, was our first Friday night of college after freshmen orientation at Stonehill. This was the first big night to meet people outside of orientation! Some of my new girlfriends and I left our dorm, and as we are walking through a parking lot we ran into these two large men who were leaving the caf. Ironically, one of the guys went to high school with one of the girls I was with! So, we stopped for the girl and guy to chat and catch up, but all I was doing was drooling over the guy’s friend from afar. He was tall (6’7″ to be exact), handsome, and the second he spoke he had a country twang to his voice. Well… that was all it took for my extroverted self to walk right on up to him and introduce myself. He smiled and was very shy but sweet. We did not talk much at all at that moment, however, I told my friend that I really wanted to run into him again. She texted the guy she knew from high school telling him that one of her friends wanted to hang out with his. (I know this is so childish, but it was only the first night out of college and I was already smitten!) Come to find out, we all lived in the same dorm, O’Hara Hall. We all went to hang out in the basement lounge room, and this guy that was I guess not so shy after all came and sat right down next to me. Everyone in the room was talking and getting to know each other, and he whispered to me asking if I wanted to head out away from the crowd. We left and well that is where our story began.
He had told me that when his friend said I wanted to hang out, he was hoping it was “the blonde girl” that approached him. We got to know each other more, and I came to find out he was playing on the football team at Stonehill, is from Pennsylvania (even though I thought he was from Texas with that unfamiliar twang haha!), and he is such a sweet and somewhat introverted guy. Unfortunately, he didn’t ask me for my number – and surprisingly my bold self didn’t ask for his either. I knew we lived in the same dorm, so I just hoped we would cross paths again.
The next day I am laying on the quad with some of the girls I had befriended at this event called “Hillapolooza”, listening to a band and eating free ice cream… because of free ice cream, duh! My phone goes off and it just says “Hey it’s Matt”. He actually went and found someone from my orientation group who played football with him that had my number from the group. Matt asked to hang out again, which we did. We sat in his dorm and did homework, and learned more about each other. I remember saying to him “You look like the kind of guy that drives a big truck or something” followed by him saying “I drive my mom’s minivan.” I think I fell in love then??? Haha!
We kept hanging out doing homework together. I even snuck a picture of him doing homework one time and texted it to my mom… creepy or cute? Next thing you know it’s October and I am helping him pick out his Halloween costume for the school dance.Then its November and I am rooting him on at his first football game to start at quarterback at Saint Anslem College in New Hampshire. Then its December and I am taking him home to meet my family. Then it’s a few days before New Years’ 2015 and he asks me to buy a plane ticket to go celebrate in PA with him and his friends and family. I’d like to remind you of two things though… 1. We are still not “officially” boyfriend/girlfriend at this point and 2. I am a bold person. So after his PA friends asked me all night about our relationship status, when we finally got back to his house after a long NYE night I asked: “What are we?” And there, he sealed the deal (finally)!
We ended up getting an apartment together in September of 2018 in Massachusetts where I would be starting my teaching career, and we have been living in this 725 square foot mill apartment since. Its beautiful, homey, simple, and amazing. I also just cannot believe how close we have gotten. I thought we were already close to our four years in college, but we truly are best friends now.
Living with him has been absolutely amazing and we are such a great team. We ended up rescuing the most amazing fur baby, Kaya, in March of 2019. Now we question how we ever lived without her.
Now as I type this, Matt is snoring on the couch (only fitting), absolutely exhausted from getting ENGAGED last night… A whole other story!
I keep getting asked if I was surprised… YES! I had been hoping for a while that it would happen… and hinting… heavy hints… Every time we did something I questioned if it was going to happen, whether it was celebrating our 6th New Year together or just taking Kaya for a walk on the beach. Two weeks before he actually asked, we had talked about wanting to go to Boston for a night of ice skating and dinner at one of our favorite restaurants, Fire + Ice. This is a date we have done twice before, so somewhat of a tradition (see pictures below)! YES, I thought that there was a possibility of him doing it this night, but let me just explain how he tricked me into talking myself out of the possibility.
All morning Saturday he was obsessively checking the weather in Boston, and right when we got up that day he really urged me to make a reservation at Fire + Ice. This should have been my first hint because Matt is the most go-with-the-flow person I’ve ever met (I’m the opposite, which is one reason why I need him in my life haha!) We had all the timing planned out: leave apartment to head to the T station at 4:00, get to Frog Pond (the ice skating rink in the Boston Common park) by 5:30 or so, leave ice skating by 7:00, and get to our 7:30 reservation. I remember Matt mentioning that the walk to Fire + Ice was only about 20 minutes if even, so we can have an extra 10 to linger a little on our walk and enjoy the scenery. Yes, I picked up on this hint and my hopes shot up.
Well, when we were driving to the T, Matt took his coat off in the car and put it on his lap to cover what was the ring in his jean pocket. When we were waiting for the T, I had turned my back to him for a moment and he slyly switched the ring from his jean pocket to his jacket pocket and put his lanyard/keys and wallet in his jeans pocket. We sat on the T and I saw the bulge in his pocket… I was so excited. Little did I know it actually was NOT the ring, because he had switched it when he thought it was too obvious. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his keys and wallet (strategically), and my hopes shot back down. That was when I told myself that I was crazy and keep putting thoughts in my own head, and needed to just relax and enjoy this fun date night. Smooth move, Matthew!
We get to Frog Pond and ice skated for about an hour and a half! It’s so pretty there, and he and I are just so competitive that at that point I forgot about the ring and was just hoping he would fall on the ice so I could get a good laugh. Judge me all you want but a falling giant is really funny!! Anyways… Little did I realize how nervous he was. Maybe that’s the QB in him not showing the nervous? I don’t know, but either way, I am still impressed. His lack of nerves also made me think it wasn’t happening.
At 7:00 we took our skates off and each ran into the bathroom before we left. It had started snowing when we were skating, so my scarf and mittens were all wet, so I was using the hand drier in the bathroom in attempt to dry them off. I walked out of the bathroom and he still was in the men’s room… I thought to myself that he had been in there for a while, but whatever! Little did I know he was texting my friend that we were on the way.
We started walking through the Boston Common. Its always so pretty with all the trees lit up. Matt pulled up the GPS on his phone quick making sure we were heading in the right direction for Fire + Ice, and said we just had to make it to the other pond, cross the bridge, and then we’d be at the main road there.
Might I add that it was BEAUTIFUL outside! Cold, yes, but the snow was that perfect fluffy flurry snow that you picture in movies. My hands were freezing off, yet Matt’s gloves were in his back pocket and he was bare-handed… another hint I should have picked up on and didn’t.
We walk over that bridge he had mentioned, and it is gorgeous with the lights. There are people skating on the pond below us and other people taking pictures of them (or at least I thought they were all together…). I looked to the right and saw a willow tree… If you know me you know I have this weird love for willow trees. Naturally, that grabs my attention and I shouted “I love me a good willow tree!!” like the weirdo I am and Matt just laughed and said, “Oh I know you do…”
Right then he switched sides with me walking and trailed behind. I always bust his chops for walking behind me and being slow all the time, and I was ready to do it again at that moment. He said my name and I turn around and there he is getting down on a knee. The person I saw with a fancy camera “taking pictures of the ice skaters” turned towards us and started taking pictures. I’m staring at Matt and just go “No you’re not!!!!” with a huge smile on my face, and video shows that I literally jumped up and down at one point….. just a little excited…
Matt opened the ring box and started stuttering a little and just goes “I can’t even say the words” and I said “Yes!” And that was the most perfect imperfect moment ever. He slipped the BEAUTIFUL ring on my finger, I gave him a big ol’ hug and smooch, and he got a high five from a very nice stranger that got to witness the whole thing! Haha!
I look to the person taking the pictures, thinking maybe it was just a stranger doing us a favor when they saw the engagement happening, and it was my friend from college that went to just about every single one of Matt’s football games with me. She was completely undercover and bundled up, I never would have recognized her. And let’s face it… I was too busy screaming about the willow tree anyways!
I come to find out how much went into this plan. His parents helping him pick up the ring from the jeweler since I was at their house in PA when it was ready, him meeting my dad in Newport to ask for his blessing a few days before, him sending a map with circles and lines drawn on it to my friend to make sure she was at the end of that bridge by 7:00… you name it. And to top it all off, the snow… just wow. I felt like the luckiest girl in the world.
Blog, How She Asked