Esther and Jonathan

How We Met

MH: Oddly, there was never a moment of “Hi, my name is…” with Jon. He worked the front desk of our sophomore year college dorm but by the time we physically crossed paths, we already knew who each other was. My earliest memory of Jon, though, is in freshman year of college when my girlfriends and I were ranking the cutest freshman guys at church and I thought Jon should be #2 not #1. LOL Sorry, Jon! You’re my #1 now! ?

Jon: I’ve known what MH looked like since the beginning of freshman year, most likely from a college church directory poster showing who was in the incoming freshman class. But the first time I ever saw her was in the dead of winter in Feb 2008. I was pledging a business fraternity (like, really?) and had to carry around a bright blue binder with a hideous logo plastered on the front. I’m pretty sure my class was also being punished for some “major infraction of the rules” and I had a corresponding giant cardboard logo pinned to the front of my coat. I was walking out of some building, trying to avoid all the snow on the ground, and I see this girl wearing a bright red hoodie, a black puffy vest, and bright tan Ugg boots, hobbling across the street in front of me with crutches and a giant knee brace, bulldozing her way through the snow that I was so gingerly trying to avoid. And she had yellow hair. Never thought I would see someone who looked more ridiculous than me.
Fast forward a year, I was trying to pay for school by working at the front desk of the dorm building that both MH and I lived in.

Unfortunately, I was the most junior member of the team and was relegated to working the worst shifts of all life – Friday and Saturday nights, 8pm/10pm – 12am/2am. Believe me when I say there is little in life more depressing than watching your friends leave the building for the night, and then opening the gates for them when they come back from wherever they’ve been, struggling to find their student ID’s to swipe back into the building. In order for students to get into the building without their ID’s, they would have to come, see the person at the info desk (i.e. me) who would provide a yellow paper square ticket to show the lobby guard that entrance into the building was “officially approved”. Week after week, MH would continuously come up to the desk for a ticket and in those moments, I started to get to know the silly and indomitable person I’ve come to love. In those moments, I also met the only person on planet Earth who could pull off purple contacts.

Our First Date…

MH: The Unofficial first date was sophomore year spring at Philly Diner with our friend, Dan, third wheeling. Dan had no idea what situation he was walking into when we called him out that day. I was too nervous to hang out with Jon alone! Who asked who? Well, I shamelessly asked Jon for his phone number on his Facebook wall to which he publicly posted his info on my wall to text him my number… – v millennial romance.

The official first date was later that summer at Mixto, a Cuban Restaurant in Philly. Food wasn’t very good but the gesture was sweet! Needless to say, I have since made 95% of the restaurant decisions in our relationship.

Jon: Finals season, Junior year. We weren’t officially dating yet and I was studying for a 10 AM exam. Being the morning person that I am, I had been up since 5 AM, last-minute cramming when there was a knock on my door ~ 8 am. Lo and behold it was MH. One of my roommates had let her in, and she walked in holding a simple plate of bright red strawberries and hot mini blueberry muffins that she had baked earlier that morning. I don’t think I’ve ever told MH how much that breakfast had meant to me. And as cheesy as it sounds, how seeing her and the joy and peace of knowing that someone else wanted to share my anxiety still remains one of my favorite life memories. But being the idiot that I am, I broke the emotional tension I was feeling by joking that I was allergic to blueberries. (I’m not.) It’s shocking to me how she decided to stick around.

how they asked

MH: Jon was acting strange all afternoon – we were running late for a 2 pm Charity Gala at the Met Roof for one of his office clients. I suggested we call an Uber but Jon said that he would rather take the subway since his bosses were stuck in NJ and he didn’t want to arrive at the event before them. Although it made no sense for us to be late to a company function, I begrudgingly conceded. Strike One. On the way to the subway, I stopped to buy a coffee and water. When I asked Jon if he wanted a coffee, he said, “No, I don’t want to carry anything.” This was very strange considering he always drinks coffee and he was already carrying my water bottle. Strike Two.

The subway was practically empty this day, which was great since we had a 30-minute ride to take. We both sat down (a rare occurrence) and I see the outline of a small square in his pocket…!! This was a critical moment: I could be a jerk and ask him what that outline in his pocket was or I could ignore it. I chose the latter… because in the off-chance it was his wallet, I didn’t want to be embarrassed. Strike Two-and-a-half.

Marriage Proposal Ideas in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

When we arrived at the Met Museum, I took Jon directly to the underground entrance, not wanting to wait on the tourist line upstairs. I noticed that there were no signs posted for the event in the rooftop elevator and asked Jon why this company seemed incapable of properly executing an event. He shrugged me off with a nervous glance. Strike Three.

Engagement Proposal Ideas in The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC

Poor guy seemed so confused and lost and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t adoring every moment of it. But still, there was a 20% chance this was an actual charity event so I didn’t want to risk it. There had been no signs that Jon had gone ring shopping. Also, two of my best friends were out of town that day. Things were not adding up! As I was bargaining with myself, we rounded a corner on the roof and I spotted our photographer friend, Hyemi. The moment I saw her, it became so real. I was overwhelmed with emotions & just I started bawling.

Hyemi motioned to Jon to position himself in front of the llama(?) statue. At this point, Jon was admitting that this Gala was a lie, lovely things about this being a long time coming, and said the magic 4 words, “Will you marry me?” All the while, I was ugly crying and had to force myself to nod since I couldn’t conjure up enough air to say, “YES!” Before I knew it, were surrounded by our best friends and families who were hiding in the corner of the roof. To say we were overwhelmed with love would be an understatement. What else can I say?


Our Video

Special Thanks

Hye Mi Shon
 | Photographer