How We Met
I’m originally from Wisconsin but was going to graduate school for physical therapy in Miami. I was living in Doral, a few miles down the road from where I went to school. I went to a gym there called CrossFit Doral. I had been going to the gym for over a year and every day I would see this really cute guy come to the 7pm class. I was always done working out at that time but I always saw him stretching in the corner by himself before the class. For a year and a half we never spoke a word to each other; I didn’t even know his name! He told me once that I had left all my doors open in the parking lot (my dog was in there and I was getting ready to leave), but that was the extent of any communication we ever had. All I knew was he was “the quiet guy from the 7pm class.”
After a year and a half at that gym, I was ready to start my clinical rotations in my last year of school. I had to travel for these and moved back to Wisconsin for 8 weeks at the end of 2017. I completed my rotation and was relaxing at home (it was almost Christmas), scrolling through stories on Instagram and saw a friend had tagged him in a story- I INSTANTLY requested him as a friend. I replied to a story he posted and it didn’t really go beyond a response back from each of us. A few days later I was driving to St. Louis to see my family and got a story reply from him. To say I was giddy was an understatement. It was December 7th and I was scheduled to return to Miami for the last 8 weeks of coursework on January 4th. For the rest of my holiday break, we talked every single day. We had a couple long phone conversations where he would try to teach me Spanish and I would get extremely embarrassed; we finally made plans to hang out the day I got back for school.
We planned to do a workout together and then go grab hot chocolate across the street- believe it or not it was cold enough in Miami for that! We did the workout and drove to get coffee. He, again, was trying to teach me Spanish and told me (in Spanish) that when he got to the gym and we saw each other, my face got as red as the wall behind me (see one of the photos below of said red wall.) We then went on our first real date that weekend to a Puerto Rican restaurant. From that day on, we were inseparable. Luis travelled a lot for his job at the time and when he wasn’t in Miami we were on the phone or FaceTime. What made things more difficult is I was scheduled for 2 more rotations that were to take me to Washington D.C. for 8 weeks and New Orleans for 10 weeks. I had done long distance relationships in the past and they never worked out; to say I was nervous for this next chapter was an understatement. Roughly 3 weeks into our relationship, Luis told me that this traveling was no big deal and it was in pursuit of my dream career so he was behind me no matter what. We spent the next 18 weeks on FaceTime, the phone, and traveling back and forth every few weekends to see each other. We drove to and from D.C. and to and from New Orleans- a total of over 24 hours in a car with my dog and at the end of it we were still inseparable.
When I returned we moved into our first apartment together, I graduated with my doctorate, and after a month in our apartment in Doral, we moved again to Delray Beach because Luis got a new job that didn’t require any travel (thank goodness). I spent the next few months studying for boards and only had ONE mental breakdown thanks to Luis. I passed my boards and started working and then we took a huge step in our relationship. We had been together less than a year and began to look for a house together- this is where the proposal story begins.
How They Asked
We purchased our first home on March 15th. It needed work, but we were prepared for what it needed. We were going to put down some new flooring, new paint, and replace doors and sliders. Nothing too extreme and nothing we didn’t think we could handle. Luis’s mom came the week we moved into our house and painted the entire inside for us. It was a huge help and saved us a ton of time. I was touching up edges in our bedroom and Luis was taking off the baseboards because we were replacing those as well. I had my back to him and he said, “Honey…there’s some paint chipping off.” I thought to myself, “Oh, it’s just some small chips coming off; not a big deal.” When I turned around, I saw the paint was coming off in SHEETS. My jaw dropped and we peeled that piece off. I was brainstorming how we would fix it and Luis continued to take the baseboards off. Once that was done, the tile in our bedroom started to buckle and a large chunk of the tile in our bedroom came up and we were left with concrete and a big strip of naked wall. I sat on the bed crying, overwhelmed. Luis assured me this was just a small bump in the road and that we would fix it.
Fast forward a month- the paint situation happened in the ENTIRE house and we had paid a contractor to rip up the tile throughout the entire house so we could properly lay our new floor. We were basically living in a dust storm all the time. Luis’s patience, grace and easy going outlook on life helped make this a little easier. All our stuff was still in boxes; we cleaned everything up and prepared the walls to prime and paint- again. We were down to the drywall throughout the whole house and I could finally see the light at the end of the tunnel.
It was a Friday afternoon and I was driving home from work. I should add that we have 3 dogs at this point. We had recently rescued a new dog who is big and strong and had figured out how to get out of his crate if all the latches weren’t locked. The day before the proposal, the big one got out because I had forgotten to close one latch. He made a mess and had an accident in the house. The next day when I was driving home, I called Luis as I usually do and he said, “Lando got out again.” I told him I was positive I closed all four latches and that I had triple checked before I left the house. He told me the mess wasn’t as big as the day before but he did have an accident and he had to move his crate near the front door so I had to come in from the garage. I thought nothing of it and said ok and that I would see him when I got home. I pulled into the driveway and the garage door was already open for me- “How thoughtful” I said to myself. I grabbed my lunch box, my work backpack, gym bag, water bottle and keys and walked inside. I walked through the kitchen and saw Luis standing in the entry way to the hallway that leads to the bedrooms.
My jaw hit the floor and I was speechless. My eyes welled up as I read the words “Marry Me?” written on the drywall. I dropped everything I was holding and asked, “for real?” He said yes, walked over to me, got down on one knee and said, “I love you, I love you more, and I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Emily, will you marry me?” I shouted OF COURSE!