Jordana and Justin

How We Met: It was a typical Monday evening. The “plan” was for Justin to meet me by the metro after work to run a few errands together and then head back to his apartment for dinner. Unfortunately for him, I was able to weasel my way out of work a half-hour early — just enough time to potentially throw off his true plans. It’s about 1,000 degrees outside in DC now so I was hoping to change out of my work clothes for said errands, but Justin somehow was able to convince me to stick to our original arrangement and meet up straight after work.

We grabbed a quick snack and then headed towards the metro, during which I continuously complained to him that I was hot and sweaty. I wasn’t in the best of moods and adding to my frustration, we also seemed to be walking in the opposite direction of the metro. I complained some more but as Justin likes to point out, I don’t know the city well enough to have suspected anything, so I quickly acquiesced and let him take the lead.

After we rounded the corner of 4th and F St., he tells me that he got me an early birthday present, and that we’re not actually headed to the train. Instead, we walk into this amazing building called the National Building Museum, which has been hosting a summer exhibit called the BEACH — an interactive architectural installation bringing the experience of going to the beach to downtown DC. Situated in the Museum’s Great Hall, the BEACH spans 10,000 square feet and includes an “ocean” of nearly one million translucent plastic balls (translation: it’s a huge ball pit). I’ve been dying to visit the BEACH all summer, but Justin had conveniently made himself “busy” each time I tried to get us to go and now I know why.

Part of the reason it’s been such a struggle to visit the BEACH is because the exhibit is only open until 5PM. But Justin pulled a few strings and was able to get the place to ourselves last night. We got inside and “swam” around for a bit until Justin pulled me onto a small platform in the middle of the “ocean.”

It seemed like a great perch to jump from, so as soon I got up there, I cannon-balled right back into the ball pit – unknowingly prolonging the proposal just a tad bit more. Luckily, Justin convinced me to get back up onto the platform, where he got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. I didn’t hesitate for even a half second. He also sneakily enlisted his sister and her boyfriend — who selflessly skipped their first day of classes — to take some professional shots attached below.

After it was all said and done, Justin and I locked hands and plunged together back into the “ocean.” (He made sure to hold my left hand tight because losing a diamond ring in a sea of one million translucent balls would have been a nightmare.) Looking back, I think our first act together as an engaged couple has great meaning; we’re so excited to “jump in” together and are ready to tackle the unknown side-by-side.