How We Met
Mario and I met when we were just 14 years old, by complete accident actually. Fate brought us together on the night of June 14, 2008. Little did I know that my prince charming would knock on my door and literally sweep me off my feet! Let me better explain…
That night, despite begging my mom to let me go out with friends, to my dismay, I was forced to stay home. My mom demanded I stay in spending quality time. Only it was not going to be just us, we were having “guests.” A fact which made me even more upset, as I had absolutely no desire to entertain. She informed me we would be watching a very important soccer game and it was my duty to attend to our guests, more like her and my step dad’s boring guests. You can only imagine how thrilled I was.
Now, let’s flip to Mario’s side of the story. Mario’s plans were to watch that same soccer game with his friends. However, as he asked his dad for permission, he felt bad leaving him to watch the game alone and offered to stay home with him. His dad got excited, made a few phone calls and informed Mario they had been invited to watch the game at a friend’s house. Actually, it wasn’t their friend at all, it was the cousin of a friend. This news did not thrill Mario, as the last thing he wanted to do was go to a stranger’s house and watch the game. Just like my mom forced me, he was forced to follow through with his father’s plans.
In case you have yet to figure it out, that stranger’s house was my house, and the “guests” I had to attend to were Mario with his father, along with some relatives. And that’s the day that changed my life forever, the day our journey began. I heard the knocking on my door, I peeked past the hallway as my family greeted our guests and that’s when I saw him. Let me tell you, the butterflies were instant. I had never been happier about being forced to stay home in my entire teenage life.
Mario and I spent the night giggling, talking and getting to know each other. Our parents were in complete disbelief, to see their children go from being miserable strangers, to head over heels, happy and with complete heart eyes over each other. My favorite detail about the night was how Mario asked me for my phone number, more like how he took it. I had a sidekick back then, and I was so used to friends asking me if they could play with it just to flip the screen. So when Mario asked to hold my phone, I didn’t think anything of it. He handed it back to me a few moments later and said, “I saved my number in your phone.” I responded, “oh, well, did you want mine too?” His response was, “I already texted myself your number, don’t worry about that” and he smiled from ear to ear.
Our story has not stopped ever since, and on July 18, 2008, Mario asked me to be his girlfriend.
Mario and I did attend different high schools, but we stayed together every step of the way. He was my high school sweetheart. It wasn’t always easy though, we gave our parents their fair shares of headaches, after all, we were two teenagers crazy in love.
After high school, we graduated with honors together from the Miami Dade Honors College and then moved to Ithaca, New York, where we attended Cornell University. Mario graduated with his Master’s Degree in Engineering and I graduated with my Bachelors in Human Development. Mario and I share our alma mater with pride and had our best memories together at Cornell. Living together, with our friends, creating our first Thanksgiving dinner, experiencing our first snow day, sharing our first apartment, creating our story, and every chapter has been more exciting than the previous.
It hasn’t always been sunshine and rainbows. Mario and I have been long distance multiple times throughout the years of our relationship. We experienced each other’s hardships and truly challenging moments, but most importantly, we kept each other strong.
My entire teen years, to early adulthood, have been spent next to the man of my dreams, and I would not change that for anything in this world.
How They Asked
Mario and I had not been going through the easiest patch in our relationship, and our life circumstances only made things harder for us. I was going through family issues including having both my younger sister and my grandmother hospitalized, all while balancing nursing school. I felt overwhelmed, to say the least. Mario was working harder than ever at his new job, and we barely got to see each other. So when Mario asked me to pack my bags for a small weekend getaway to the keys, I did not hesitate in the slightest.
Now, I will say that I am the girl who: 1. Over-packs for everything, 2. Goes on a small shopping spree for any trip, and 3. Dresses extra for every event, I am not kidding. BUT, as I said, I had been going through a bit, so I opted to keep it simple and instead decided I would just pack a small bag of whatever I could find in my closet.
I told my mom how excited I was and how much I needed this little getaway; I was so tired that I did not even feel like going to the salon to get my nails done. My mom insisted I could not possibly leave without having my nails done, and treated me to a mani and pedi, and it didn’t take much for me to take her offer. Listen, I had been feeling so out of it that I almost left on this trip without even doing my nails!! Talk about not expecting it at all!
The night before our small trip, Mario arrived at my house super excited, but I had not even packed yet! When he made a big deal about it, I didn’t understand, it was just a low key weekend at the keys? What was the big deal? I figured I would just pack in the morning before heading out. This is when Mario told me he got us seats at the chef’s table, and I needed to coordinate a nice outfit. So I packed my bag and the following morning, May 24, 2019, we got in his car and drove off.
I’m a YouTube vlogger, so I brought my camera to capture our little “bea-cation.” We spent the car ride singing songs and just enjoying each other’s company. When we arrived at the resort, I was in total vacation mode.
As I waited for Mario checking in, the resort staff told me that we should try to fit into our schedule this beautiful sunset festival they have every weekend. As I excitedly told Mario about the sunset festival, we headed to our room and got ready for our first activity of the day. We went parasailing for the very first time and it was truly exhilarating. We also rode jet ski’s, which ended up being a truly bonding moment, as we were trying to control and drive a very old jet ski in very, VERY choppy waters.
After this, it was almost time for dinner. We proceeded to go to our room and get ready for the chef’s table reservation. Throughout the day I had been telling Mario I wanted a picture of us right in front of the sunset. He promised me he would make it happen, as long as we weren’t late to dinner. I got ready for dinner and before I knew it, we were heading out the door. I promise you all, I had NO idea what was about to happen next.
As we walked past the pool and headed towards the restaurant, I reminded Mario about our sunset picture as I pointed to the horizon. He replied, “Ok fine, but you have to close your eyes, I’m going to take you to a beautiful, secret place to take our photo.” I didn’t understand why I needed to close my eyes, but I trusted him and did as I was told. My heart raced as the noises around me became louder and louder. I held his hand tight and kept my eyes closed as we walked through the sand. I thought to myself, “could this be the sunset festival? Is all this noise people attending the sunset festival?” I … was… completely… clueless…
My blind walk felt endless until Mario finally said I could open my eyes… And suddenly, there he was, holding my hand while down on one knee as he lovingly stared up at me. I actually felt my heart skip a beat! Behind him was not just the sunset, but the most beautiful horizon above the gleaming golden hour ocean. There was a trail of orchid petals scattered over the white sand leading to a shape of a heart, and beyond such, a beautiful table, set for two with the words “Marry Me.” People were cheering all around us and I promise you, I could not breathe. I looked into my his eyes as I dreamily heard the words I had longed for since I was a little girl wishing on fairy tales:
“Ivana Cecilia Green Calderon, for the past ten years, you have made me the happiest man in the world, and if you let me, I would like to make you the happiest woman for the rest of my life, will you please marry me?”
The world around me suddenly stopped, the boy who knocked on my door when I was only 14, was here asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. I threw myself to the sand with him and I remember just fitting so perfectly in his arms as he kissed me.
When my “prince charming” got down on one knee and promised his heart to me and promised to protect mine with everything he has… When I saw my love down on one knee, I had a flashback of our entire journey together, it is difficult to put into words what I felt at that moment, all I can tell you was that my heart wanted to jump out of my chest. This is the man I have been in love with since I was 14, the boy who knocked on my door 11 years ago, was here, asking me to spend the rest of my life with him. We have gone through so much together, our stories can go on and on. The best part is, we are going to spend the rest of our lives creating more stories. I can’t wait to marry the man of my dreams, my best friend, my high school sweetheart, my biggest love, my prince charming, my world. I love you, Mario, forever and ever babe.