How We Met
Dave and I were matched as pen pals in the fall of 2009. A friend in my sorority asked for volunteers to be matched up with someone overseas to send them care packages. I didn’t receive a pen pal the first go-around, and was quite bummed because I was looking forward to putting something together for someone serving. A week went by and finally I received a name – it was Dave’s.
We emailed back and forth throughout his first deployment and I started to understand his job and realize how amazing this person was. I was in college at the University of Washington in Seattle, and he was based out of Fort Lewis, WA (about an hour south) with 2/75 Ranger Battalion. When he returned from his first deployment, we continued to stay in contact and began to Skype.
Toward the spring of 2010, we decided we should meet in person, so we set up a meeting spot at a Starbucks in downtown Seattle. Well, I arrived to the meeting spot and Dave wasn’t there. I was so confused if he had faked me out and wasn’t going to show. I gave him a call, and of course he was just at the wrong Starbucks.
After a little maneuvering, I saw him halfway down the block and my heart began to beat like it was going to come out of my chest. Almost instantaneously, I felt a special connection with him. We had gotten to know each other only so well over email and video chats, I couldn’t believe we were finally meeting in person.
We walked around Pike Place market and downtown all afternoon. I had an escape plan of heading to a small fundraising concert on backup, in case he turned out to not be what I expected, and if things were going well, then I would invite him to come back to my campus for the little concert and introduce him to my friends. Needless to say, he came back with me.
We didn’t begin dating until 10 months later as Dave had to leave shortly after we met for additional training in Georgia where we wouldn’t be able to speak for a few months. I tried to get him out of my head since there couldn’t be any communication, and I didn’t know how to handle dating someone in the military with such a specialized and unique infantry job.
After my 21st birthday in fall 2010, I decided to reach back out to him. I had no idea if he was still at the training or where the was, but I knew I couldn’t stop thinking about him. When I reached back out, he was deployed again. We stayed in touch throughout, and when he came home in January 2011 we finally started dating.
Flash forward 5 and a half years later, Dave is no longer in the Army, and we’ve been living together in the Bay Area for the last 3.
The 3 photos below are the first day we met — 2 from at the fundraiser and then out to dinner afterwards.
how they asked
Dave and I love to go on hikes, so when my brother, sister-in-law, and their two kids invited us to go on a hike in Tiburon, I didn’t think much of it. Dave had just returned from two weeks away with National Guard, so I told him he didn’t have to go and could stay home and rest. He was insistent that he wanted to go and see the kids as well. The morning of the hike, he wanted us to get there really early — I told him it would take longer than he thought for my brother and his wife to get the two kids ready, and we didn’t need to be there so early, I wanted to stay in bed.
Dave got up and took a shower and got dressed – all while I laid in bed. He was persistent that I needed to get up now and get ready. Begrudgingly, I got up and put on some clothes for the hike. While I made breakfast, Dave proceeded to change his dress shirt, into another dress shirt, and then ask me to narrow down which shirt I liked more between two other dress shirts. I was so confused why he was wearing a dress shirt on our hike, but I was still mad he made me get up so early that I didn’t even bother to ask.
We made it out to my brothers house and then followed them up to the trailhead. Dave stayed at the end of the group (I found out later because halfway up he took the ring box out of the backpack and put it into his back pocket and he didn’t want me to see the box indenting).
When we reached the top, my sister-in-law pulled out some snacks for the kids and told Dave and I that the trail continues on to a great view point.
I told her we would wait so they could come to. She was oddly insistent that we go without her, so Dave and I continued off the trail. I saw my brother trailing us, but didn’t stop to wait for him since it was so incredibly windy – I couldn’t stand still for too long. We made it out far enough, and I decided it was too windy and we should turn back. As I turned to Dave, he was already down on one knee.
We had had many conversations of getting married and had looked at a few rings together, so I knew the proposal was coming, but I had NO idea it was going to happen on that hike, I was incredibly surprised.
I couldn’t believe it was happening! Dave spoke very sincere words to me, but it was difficult to hear him over the wind it was blowing SO hard.
I decided not to cut him off, but to let him go through his speech and listen to his kind words about our relationship that we have so carefully built.
He pulled out the ring box and opened to the most beautiful Heidi Gibson designed ring. He knew without me telling him that that one was my favorite. My brother had stayed back and captured photos of the whole proposal.