Katee and Michael

How We Met: I met Michael through a mutual friend of ours during sophomore year of college, but our story doesn’t start there. Every day, I would compliment him on his outfit, sometimes screaming out my window to his dorm that he looked nice that day [he must have thought I was a stalker]. Little did I know that this would turn into him messaging me on Facebook and then texting, typical college way of getting to know one another.

Image 4 of Katee and Michael

When winter break came about, I was still convinced that Michael was not interested in me in the least and that nothing would come of us becoming friends fall semester. After break ended, he insisted that we get together to watch a movie which ended up being The Notebook — I’d never seen it and had no idea what was in store for me.

Image 1 of Katee and Michael

I had never seen the movie, never even been on a date, so I did what any normal girl does: spray myself with perfume, paint my nails, and tell all my friends that this wasn’t even a date.Image 2 of Katee and Michael

After watching the movie, telling Michael that was the stupidest [read: saddest] movie ever and that I would never believe in love,

I went home and gushed to my best friend how that was the best date I had ever been on. I could not sleep and immediately wanted our next date to be as soon as possible.

I knew for sure after our first night of hanging out, talking, barely watching a movie because of trying to tell one another creepy things we did as kids and making the other laugh, I wanted to do this forever.

A few weeks after our first date, we went to see a movie in our small college town, shared our first in front of my house; a few days after that Michael finally asked me to be his girlfriend.

That was February 10, 2013 and one of the most important days of my life.

Throughout the first year of our relationship, we learned a lot about one another. Our dreams, our aspirations, and our goals all began to weave together and early on in our relationship, I think we both knew that we were an unstoppable force together.

Image 3 of Katee and Michael

We recently graduated with our Bachelor’s degrees in May, Michael was dual-enrolled at our home institution as well as doing a municipal police academy, and we were both ready to take on post-grad life together — which I thought just meant being a nearly two and a half year old couple in the real, adult world for the first time. Silly me!

Image 5 of Katee and Michael

how they asked: Ever since the first night we hung out, I told Michael constantly how much I adored Boathouse Row in Philadelphia. It has always been my favorite site in the city, it’s beautiful, majestic, just perfect. When I was little, I imagined that my first kiss would take place there, with the boathouses all lit up, the whole ordeal. The first summer Michael and I spent together, we did the best and I whole-heartedly mean best date ever.

We went to the Philadelphia Zoo, visited the tigers, walked around Boathouse Row and shared a kiss, ate lunch at Nifty Fifty’s, and went to a concert. We still talk about how that was our most magnificent date and for our two-year anniversary, Michael bought me a Boathouse Row charm for my Pandora bracelet. The following summer, we knew it would be hard to recreate such a perfect day together, so we tweaked it. We went to the Zoo, walked around BHR, and then went raspberry and strawberry picking at Linvilla Orchard.

This year, things changed a little. When you know a bit more about the person you’ve been dating you really hone in on their quirks. We decided to go to the Zoo and BHR the day after Michael graduated from the police academy. We had had a busy week: we went to OCNJ for the day, binge-watched Orange is the New Black’s newest season in its entirety, he graduated, etc. We were tired and I anticipated our plans changing just so that the two of us could relax after all the things we had been doing all week. Besides, it was a million degrees outside with a high humidity and neither of us like summer’s heat.

Michael finished getting ready while I’m frantically telling my best friend how this will be the best day ever, it’s my favorite date, and so on. I keep telling her maybe this is the day. Maybe this is it. My friend insists that it’s not, and that I need to enjoy my time regardless. We went to the zoo first, thought about doing the Swan Boats, spent a really long time with our tigers, took cheesy photos of flamingos and sculptures around the zoo, grabbed lunch, and decided to head to Boathouse Row.

We hit a few hiccups on the way from the zoo to BHR – the car needed gas, city traffic on a Friday late afternoon is horrendous, etc. We finally get to my favorite place, we start walking around. We walk past the crew houses, toward the statues. I can feel how clammy and sweaty Michael is, but I play it up to the oppressive heat surrounding us.

We are chattering away, how much fun the first part of our day was. Michael suggested earlier that morning that we should drive to Hershey that night and grab dinner at our favorite dive bar, maybe go to the Polo store and get a few things. At this point, I thought this wouldn’t really happen; we’d be too tired, decide to go another day, whatever.

Michael and I are still talking but he is seriously getting slimier that I am trying to wiggle my hand away from him. He says to me, “Katee, you know how much I love you,” and I say of course I do and that I feel the same. We are turning into an area for a statue and he says that this is his favorite place; I argue and say that it’s mine, always has been, and I’m not going to share.

I see a statue of a couple holding a child with another woman next to them, I make a joke that that’s our best friend Emily in the future when we have our own family. He looks at me, grabs my hands, and says, “Well, this could be our place,” proceeds to only half get down on his knee, and with excitement, zealousness, and urgency says: “Little Bean [an affectionate name he’s called me since we started dating], will you please marry me?”

I cannot even really recall what happened next other than that I was crying and hugging him and laughing and jumping around and stamping my little size 6 feet. I never knew what the proposal eyes that Elle Woods talks about looked like, until Michael looked at me like he couldn’t possibly wait until I gave him an answer. I am so lucky, so happy, and so incredibly excited to start the next chapter with the person who knows me better than anyone else.

Image 6 of Katee and Michael