Claudio and Cristen

Image 1 of Claudio and Cristen

How We Met

Our love story began in Huntington Beach, back in 2016. We matched on a web app and after some back and forth we met at Dos Toros (you can never go wrong with tacos and beer!). The beginning was a bit of a rocky start. Claudio tends to be silent and prefers to stay at home. Cristen, in contrast, is a firecracker who talks a lot and overbooks herself on the weekends. But that did not stop our will to learn from each other and grow together as a couple. 4 years’ worth of memories later, we played uncountable games, traveled every year, and became bedrocks for each other. During Coronavirus, and on Cristen’s 30th birthday, Claudio popped the question… and she said yes. We can’t wait for this exciting new chapter to begin!

How They Asked

Claudio took it upon himself to make sure that something BIG happened for my 30th birthday yesterday. So.. he took me on a scavenger hunt around the apartment! He had done this for me before on a previous birthday, but it was not quite to this extent!

It started in the living room, where I opened a sweet pop up card with a couple sitting on a swing under the tree. Within the card was a poem which he had written for me and a post-it note which said “Ask the cow what she’s got for you.”

After some thinking and inspecting the milk jug (wrong cow!), I realized the note was about a favorite mug that I have which I obtained with my mom on our road trip up the coast (same road trip in which my mom and I were lucky enough to visit with both Rachelle and Soscha!). We stopped at the Tillamook factory and received a fun mug which is titled “Advice from a Cow…Be Udderly Brilliant.” Anyway, inside the mug was a QR code saying “Scan me.” I proceeded to learn how to scan a QR code by googling it (I’m not sure why people call me a millennial because I’m definitely not nearly as tech-savvy as my peers) and then was sent to a website which had a talking cow!

The talking cow said, “Mooo, I got nothing for you, but from here I saw Claudio hanging around the flour bag.” Turns out the cow was talking in a British accent (which was both strange and entertaining) and I understood it as “flower” not “flour” so yet again I was confused because I don’t have any flower purses/bags. Luckily, Claudio was very patient with me on my hunt and directed me towards the appropriate flour bag [a 50-pound bag of bread flour (!!!!), which has been used to make lots of bread during quarantine]. Within the flour bag, was a personalized crossword puzzle.

The crossword puzzle was much easier for me to complete, as Claudio and I have given these to each other frequently for our birthdays over the years to reminisce on our favorite moments and test our memory ;). However, this crossword had two strange things about it.. there were three random hole punches in the top of the page and one of the words was highlighted… CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY. I knew immediately that the scavenger hunt wasn’t over yet!

Upon opening the Cards Against Humanity (a card game similar to Apples to Apples) box, I found a card perfectly laid out on the top, “Michelle Obama’s Arms.” This card may have seemed very strange at any other time, but I knew immediately that it was directing me towards the “Michelle Obama” book of the former first lady in my bookcase.

Guess what!? Sudoku was waiting there for me in the book. Yes, yet another puzzle that was completed fairly quickly as I have also had lots of practice with these types of puzzles with Claudio on the weekends. Once all the rows were filled, I was instructed by an arrow to copy one of the rows of numbers into another web address.

This website had me complete a puzzle of a familiar picture of the two of us in Las Vegas. Long story short, I completed it (if you haven’t guessed yet, we love doing puzzles together!), and then a message popped up on the screen with a picture of an owl with the words, “The owls have been hiding something of yours.” After a couple of seconds, I realized this clue was directing me towards an owl painting which Claudio and I did together a few years ago for Valentine’s Day which is hanging in our bedroom.

Behind the fun art canvas, I found the FINAL clue which was a paper with holes in it. On top, it read “Align and read aloud.” I raced to find the previous crossword puzzle which had “random hole punches” and followed the instructions to line up the papers. Once I lined them up, I could see all of the hidden boxes which spelled out “Will you marry me?” I proceeded to turn around and find Claudio on one knee, who then read aloud the crossword letters and asked “Will you marry me?”

After many tears of joy, I was able to gather myself and say YES.

We are SO happy and excited to be engaged and look forward to celebrating with all of you in the future.

Image 2 of Claudio and Cristen