Erica and Joel

Image 1 of Erica and Joel

How We Met

After a few failed attempts at love for the both of us, we resorted to the ever reliable tinder. Thankfully, we both swiped right and quickly learned we were part of the very same friend circle. I attended the university of Oregon, where Joel’s best friend also happened to go. Joel’s best friend happened to date one of my close friends and sorority sister throughout college (and now happily married). Somehow, Joel came to visit U of O quite frequently, but we some how never met. After properly vetting each other through our mutual friends, our first date in Sausalito was on.

Image 2 of Erica and Joel

how they asked

I’ll start this by saying that I am impossible to surprise. It just can’t happen. Or so I thought.

Every March, my best friends from college and I make it a point to have a reunion by some type of vacation because we all live so far apart. It’s always been March since my birthday is late February and my wonderful friends started the tradition of always coming to see me to celebrate. Typically, the reunion vacations are something simple like a road trip or flights to Portland or the Bay Area. 2016, we decided to go big since I was turning 30 and there were flight deals to Hawaii. We flew out and enjoyed an amazing few days. My friends acted normal the entire time and now I’m deeply concerned about their abilities to lie, deceive, and stay absolutely calm about it haha. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary whatsoever.

One of the girls kept leaving the group. She explained that her coworker was also in Maui, and she had to go spend time with her…. But we couldn’t come because she was weird. It was an elaborate, detailed, sophisticated lie all so she could duck away and help Joel plan. Im telling you, not once did any of them act even slightly suspicious. In fact, one friend was even bold enough to ask “when do you think you and Joel will get engaged?” Being the planner that I am, I told them it would probably happen once Joel finished school in July. I was wrong.

My friends had been texting Joel back and forth to make sure their plan was going to work out. One of the girls actually changed his name in her phone to “Mike Jones”. Knowing that I know everyone in her life, when a text lit up and I saw that name, I instantly asked who the heck Mike Jones was… still she was unflappable.

Joel’s aunt who I love dearly also happened to be in Hawaii for part of our trip, so we spent the day with her. Still no signs of what was to come.

On the second to last day, my friends told me they had a “birthday surprise” for me. Now THAT was weird because in our twelve years of friendship, I couldn’t remember a single surprise we had ever had for one another. But, they were still cool, calm, and collected. We got in the car and there was a major delay due to an accident down the road. My friends started to stress because we were going to be late. I kept asking what the heck we could possibly be late to in Hawaii, but I mostly brushed it off. I had been texting Joel all day… And I naturally assumed he was back in Mountain View where we live. He too had elaborate lies. He told me he was at home with our dogs and family. They were allegedly eating spaghetti and clams. Lies!

Eventually, the girls and I made it to our destination…. The beach in Wailea.

We started to walk out toward the water and I was thoroughly confused. There was an ice chest in the middle of the beach and a guitarist (who Joel had hired to play our song…don’t worry we know his version of the song is not the best haha but it’s been a great thing to tease Joel about). I walked out a little further and my friends told me to take a photo with this random guy playing the guitar on the beach. Naturally, I refused. They finally forced me into the photo over my strong objection. Frightening the absolute life out of me, Joel snuck up behind me, surprised me and proposed. I don’t remember a word he said…. I was just too focused on how in the world he was in Hawaii.

Joel had flown in a few nights before. Despite all his efforts to stay on the other side of the island and avoid running into us, he almost blew it. Earlier in the day, before he proposed, my girlfriends and I pulled up to a stoplight. I distinctly remember my friend was driving. My head was down. She instantly began waiving her arms and snapping her fingers, telling me to look outside her window. She then promptly said “Oh, you missed it.” Apparently, Joel was at the stoplight next to me and thanks to my friend’s distraction tactics, his plan to surprise me on a girls trip wasn’t ruined

Aside from this being an incredible proposal, we almost instantly face timed his family. About 25 of them had congregated in our California apartment to celebrate the engagement. Good thing I said yes! Haha. They hooked a phone up to the big screen tv so we could all see each other and celebrate together. They are the best family ever.

Image 3 of Erica and Joel

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