How We Met
Ben and I met at a music festival 3.5 years ago in Canada, where we lived before moving to the Cayman Islands in 2017. He saw me coming out of a port-a-potty at WayHome Music Festival in a Roots Canada hoodie and cutoff jean shorts and said to himself, “That’s the love of my life right there!”
(At least that’s what he tells me…?)⠀
At the suggestion of our mutual friends, we’d checked each other out on Facebook and played it cool, but on the last day of the festival, we bonded over our shared love of tacos (really I was just looking to talk to him alone, and who can say no to tacos?). ⠀
While watching Vance Joy he said, “Do you want to get a drink?” By this point, the sun had cooked my brain so I responded, “Ya, that’d be great! Maybe Wednesday or Thursday?”⠀
An awkward pause followed and I realized, “Oh… you meant like right now…” to which he said, “Did I just trick you into a date?”⠀
And that’s how our first date happened!
Later that week, we grabbed some wine and charcuterie and sat in a park in Toronto and talked until we ran out of wine. So we went to a bar and talked until we were told we had to leave. Ben had brought this list of questions that he said had been part of a study – that when people answered them together, they were likely to remain friends for life. A year later, I found out it was actually a list of questions that were shown to lead to lasting and meaningful love. Here’s further proof for that study!
How They Asked
In 2017, Ben and I moved from snowy Toronto, Canada to the little island of Grand Cayman, part of the Cayman Islands in the Caribbean. Ben’s parents live here and after visiting several times, we knew it was a place we wanted to spend more time in. Ben’s parents are building a house on the south coast of the island, near a secluded beach called Beach Bay. We love to go there on the weekends to see how the house is coming along and to play with our adopted Cayman pup, Islay, on the beach. On November 30th, we had plans to meet Ben’s parents that evening at the house for drinks, something we’ve done a number of times before.
Around 4:30, running late and with wet hair out of the shower, Ben’s mum called to let me know that there were still lots of workmen at the house so they were taking their dogs for a walk on the nearby beach. Again, something that’s happened before and totally not out of the ordinary. As I got in the car with Islay, Ben called to say they were at the far end of the beach. It would be easier access if I drove down the side road to be closer to that end and to call him when I arrived so he could help me down the path (I had knee surgery last month).
When I arrived, I threw the ball for Islay down to Ben as he walked up the large gravel path to meet me. Poor Islay, she would be quite forgotten about after that. The first thing I noticed was that, even though he’d supposedly come right from work, Ben wasn’t in his work clothes. He was in his dress shirt but had changed into shorts which I remember thinking was odd.
As we walked down the beach, I noticed there was something set up under the tiki hut to our left – wooden palettes had been arranged to make a table, on which sat a bunch of items I hadn’t noticed were missing from the house: plates and placemats, our candlesticks, pillows, blankets, bottles of wine and champagne, the first photo of us together that Ben had framed our first Christmas together, and at the far side facing us was my camera set up on a tripod. Pretty sure what I said was, “This looks nice!” But as I got closer and my brain started to process what I was seeing, I asked, “Where are your parents?”
Ben said, “They’re at home… Do you know what’s happening?” This is where my brain stopped working and I said, “No!” Ben responded, “Ya, this is it!” To which I still said, “No!” (I’m sure all the “no”s were super helpful for his stress levels.) Until he took the ring box out of his pocket, a small part of me was still thinking, nooo, this isn’t happening.
But then it was. And it was on secluded Beach Bay, with wet hair and a dog leash in my hand, with Islay running around us and the wind blowing and waves crashing that my best friend got down on one knee and asked if we could spend our lives together. I responded with uncontrollable tears of happiness (which I’m reliving as I write this) and lots of hugging and kissing. There was another knee drop where Ben asked if he could put the ring on, me realizing I hadn’t said anything followed by a million “YES!”s.
The rest of the night is a blur of happiness. We drank vintage champagne and ate beef carpaccio and laughed and giggled. Ben told the tale of how he’d managed to be so sneaky planning this incredibly special evening. As the wind continued to howl, we couldn’t keep any of the candles or torches lit, so we decided to pack up dinner and the amazing setup and head back into town. We spent the rest of the evening drinking lots of champagne at the Marriott with Ben’s parents and some friends, before finally heading home still on Cloud 9. We head to Canada this week where we’ll celebrate with the rest of our family and friends!