Kaela and George
How We Met
George and I met our senior year of high school. We had two classes together – Psychology and Chemistry. We quickly formed a small study group in Chemistry which led to a lot of late nights at Barnes and Noble. However, we ran into two very different circles. George was the charismatic guy who knew everyone and didn’t really care about school. And I was the goody goody on the high school dance team. In fact, I had a crush on George for 5 months before he finally asked me out. People were shocked to say the least… no one even realized we knew each other.
Just 7 months after we began dating, I left our hometown of Austin for Duke University and reluctantly agreed to long distance (George was attending St. Edwards University back home). Being 1,335 miles apart (5,226 when I studied abroad in Copenhagen) was not easy, but we got better at it every year. With summers back home in Austin and 2-3 visits every semester, we made the distance work.
We both graduated in May 2018 and finally moved in together in Durham, where George began school at Duke Law (we are now both die-hard Blue Devils). We’ve had our ups and down, celebrations and losses, but we’ve grown together and not apart.
How They Asked
George’s gift to me this Christmas was a reservation at an intimate and highly-regarded Japanese restaurant in Austin called Otoko and a night at the trendy hotel next door, The South Congress Hotel. However, I wasn’t suspicious at all. You see, I’ve always had “my plan” – one that George was familiar with. We would get engaged after his second year of law school (summer 2020) and get married a year or so later. I was so confident in my plan that I even joked on Christmas day “are you sure you aren’t going to propose at Otoko?” To which he replied “yeah… I’m pretty sure I would know.”
However, as soon as we arrived at “dinner” he pulled me down the block saying we were going through a special entrance. Next thing I know I’m looking up at a street sign – “Monroe St.” – a street we strolled down on our first date, the night he asked me to be his girlfriend. What happened next was a blur. All I remember is him getting down on one knee, a photographer capturing our moment, and strangers clapping in the street. What he said? Neither of us remember.
Not only did George surprise me with the proposal and a mini photoshoot, but as we walked into what I thought would be our intimate dinner, I was shocked to find a party of our 50 closest friends and family waiting in the hotel lobby. There were a lot of smiles, happy crying, and even a champagne toast. Everything was beautiful and detailed; George even designed and printed custom drink menus for the event.
After the party, we did get to enjoy our intimate dinner at Otoko, where the tasting menu for the night was customized with our names and the date. And we got to spend the night at the fantastic South Congress Hotel in the room that overlooked the very spot where he proposed.
If I’m being honest, I didn’t think George was capable of surprising me. Not only did he surprise me, but he somehow convinced 50 of our loved ones to keep a secret for months. He completely exceeded any expectations of a proposal I previously had. December 27, 2019 will always be one of the most memorable and joy-filled nights of my life.