Julia and Erik

Image 1 of Julia and Erik

How We Met

We met in January 2016 as colleagues at Google, after a series of fortunate events had us working on the same team. I was based in New York City and Erik was in San Francisco, but luckily I flew out to San Francisco every two weeks for onboarding on the team and our story began to lay its roots. The distance made no difference. We chatted every day, bonding over our shared love of music, identical senses of humor, and shockingly similar perspectives on life. The moment we both remember being one of the first sparks of a romance was when we both shared a rather unknown song by Novo Amor with each other.

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At that moment, we realized there was something special going on. Since we were co-workers, we were mindful not to cross a line and wanted to see how things would play out, but we quickly discovered our countless similarities: like our love for unique life experiences, exploring the world and different cultures; our “amoroso” nature and compatible love languages; our particular need for aesthetically pleasing organization; our shared view of the importance of meaningful friendships and community; and that above all, family is everything. There was no question or doubt.

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We had perfectly aligned life values and were each other’s twin flame. Everything that needed to take place in order for us to meet… it was all too divine. We both knew we needed to be together in order for our love to continue to blossom. After 6 months of long-distance, we made the life-changing decision to move in together in San Francisco and begin our forever journey together. We started by enjoying everything San Francisco had to offer. We would have sunset sailing adventures under the Golden Gate Bridge, go to heart-filling concerts to dance the night away, enjoy incredible dining experiences in every corner of the city, have romantic picnics in the parks, explore art galleries and museums… when you’re in love with your best friend, the list of happy moments is endless.

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Four years later, we were engaged in February 2020 during a once-in-a-lifetime trip to Cape Town, South Africa (keep reading below for that special story), and are getting married this October in magical Sintra, Portugal.

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How They Asked

On our first “date” (that we both didn’t really know was a real date because we were still just “co-workers”), I asked Julia a ton of questions to try and get to know her on a more personal level. From asking about her aspirations in life and how she views growth, to her earliest childhood memories and asking how many kids she would want to have, my questions were full of depth and genuine curiosity.

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When I started to ask her more lighthearted questions, the topic of favorite animal came up (because of course, you can tell a lot about a person based on their answer). She told me about her love for penguins and how during courtship, the male penguin will present the female with the smoothest pebble he can find as a love token. Did you know that if the female penguin accepts this special gift, they bond and mate for life? When I heard this story and saw the way her eyes lit up as she spoke about these adorable and inherently romantic creatures, I immediately knew that when I was to propose, it would have to involve a pebble (and ideally penguins).

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Fast forward to 2019, I felt the time to propose was approaching, but had to find the perfect pebble for my “pinguim”. I scoured the interwebs for a pebble that could hold the engagement ring, finally finding someone in Czechslovakia who happened to make pebble-shaped ring boxes in the past but had stopped. After months of back and forth, I was finally able to convince her to make one last one for this special moment. Come February 2020, we travel to Cape Town and visit Boulder Beach, home to a protected colony of African penguins that are only found on the coastlines of southern Africa. Surrounded by her favorite animals and complete with a pebble-shaped ring box, I got down on one knee and asked Julia to be partners for life.

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Special Thanks

La Dichosa
 | Photographer