Janina and Josh

Where to Propose in Panthers hockey ice arena

How We Met

To really set the stage you have to understand where we come from. We both grow up in the same tight-knit Jewish community and even attended the same Jewish private school which as you can imagine is not that large and most everyone knows each other and most likely all your business. We also later learned that our fathers used to play basketball together back in the day and even owned hotels in the same south beach area. However, weirdly enough and with multiple opportunities, we never met or were introduced to each other. Our lives may have intersected a plethora of times, but we were never meant to meet until this pivotal night.

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It was the night of Yom Kippur (which is a day of fasting for the Jewish people) my sister and I had just broken our fast and so had Josh (future hubby) when we were contemplating whether or not to attend our mutual friend’s birthday party. Finally, with a belly filled with matzo ball soup we all ended up at this friend’s party, where my feisty little sister saw Josh from afar and proceeds to slap my arm and excitedly yell “he’s perfect for you!” and ran off to go talk to his roommate. I should mention, she is significantly shorter than me so between the music and her height I could barely make out what she said or where she had run off to. When I eventually did reach her side, my hubby to be ;) approached me and playfully caressed my cheek while telling me how cute he thought I was. It wasn’t until Chanukah that we officially became a couple.

Janina and Josh's Engagement in Panthers hockey ice arena

how they asked

I should start off with mentioning that it was the most chaotic and stressful week, finals week was upon me, and my family was in the process of moving apartments. Stressed and tired I sat down on Saturday, December 10, 2016, to take my last final online which was supposed to start at 9 am. Much to all of our dismay, my exam didn’t end up starting until 11 am which of course would interfere with what I thought was V.I.P tickets to see an Olympic ice skater at 1 pm. My sister’s goal was to get me out of the house at the latest by 12:15 unbeknownst to me of course. So when noon hit she sprang into action realizing I was nowhere near finishing with my final exam and the deadline fast approaching she slammed my computer closed and barked at me to get ready because we were going to be late. I sat there in shock I couldn’t continue the exam and I most likely bombed it, but my sister was more concerned about getting me there on time. She rushed me upstairs threw my hair into a braid and thrust my clothes at me.

We got to the ice arena in what felt like no time with me constantly turning off the air because I was cold and my sister trying to blast the air because she was so anxious. When we arrived, we were met by a Panther’s arena associate, who started telling us that the hockey practice had run over time and that those that came early for the event are being given the opportunity to skate on the ice. I excitedly jumped at the chance since duh why wouldn’t I! I also happen to adore ice skating and side note, actually wowed Josh with my skills on one of our dates. So, as I’m putting on my ice skates next to my sister, I realized I didn’t wear any socks that day, but my sister laughingly had worn two pairs on her feet and offered me the extra ones (sneaky little girl). We finally get on the ice, and we’re skating for a while when a video start to play on the overhead JumboTron.

I, of course, fail to notice which prompts my sister to nudge me and say “look up Janina!” and as I do she tells me “ok bye!” while skating off the ice. I’m left watching a video compiled of a bunch of pictures of my relationship with Josh and a beautiful message that said “Hi gorgeous, these past two years are just a preview of a lifetime together” I immediately start bawling while watching the video. As the video is wrapping up, I see Josh wobbling onto the ice (he’s not the most skilled ice skater) and making his way to me. We were both so emotional, and his embrace was like a soothing balm. When I pulled it together long enough for him to make it onto his knees, all I could do was excitedly repeat “yes! yes!” without even waiting for the question or beautiful speech he was about to deliver (which he eventually did).

Our song started playing soon after they realized I had said yes and eventually our siblings, my sister Joelle and his siblings Jordan and Jade made their way onto the ice for the best and most tearful hugs. There was so much thought, consideration, and care put into this day that I was overwhelmingly grateful to have this person as my future and for our families to be so united was an amazing feeling. We later went off to his parents’ house where a surprise intimate gathering filled with our parents and the rest of our siblings was taking place to celebrate us. To say that this was the “best day” is the greatest understatement!

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Special Thanks

Frederic Blake