Katherine and Jon

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How We Met

To say our meeting was divinely orchestrated would not be an understatement. Jon came to the University of Iowa to complete his residency in Ophthalmology. I grew up in Iowa and when we first met, we were simply friends. Jon and I are both avid distance runners and when Jon agreed to go on a ten-miler with me we quickly became friends. After a few years of seeing each other over summers and breaks, Jon finally asked me out. That was a really good idea.

how they asked

Adventure and spontaneity have always been huge for us, so I guess I’m not shocked my engagement was such a surprise.

Jon and I have been good friends for a lengthy amount of time and dating long distance for about a year and a half. I am a student in Indiana and Jon works in Texas, so seeing each other as sporadically as we do was getting old. We’d been ring shopping before, so I assumed that a proposal was somewhere in the future. Throughout the whole time we’ve been together we’ve always coined the mantra- “Choose your own adventure” for us, this means taking each day one at a time and enjoying the ride. This saying was the theme for our engagement.

When in early November my housemates suggested we have a girls’ night in Indy I didn’t think anything of it. My house is all really close, we are all collegiate athletes and run Cross Country and Track together. What would be more normal than a Friday night out? The night before, my friend Caryn suggested we do our nails. It’s a well-known fact that my nails are always atrocious, but I didn’t really think about it when she helped me paint my nails… or when my roommate insisted she do my hair and that I wear a dress to go out.

That night we all went downtown to a classy grill where we ordered sandwiches and talked about life. We’re all seniors, so we speculated about where we’d end up in a few months. After we finished eating, we piled into my roommates’ car and headed deep into the city. I had been told we were headed to the mall for some retail therapy and was very confused by this sudden change of plans. “Didn’t we tell you?” one of my friends mentioned, “We’re looking at a dance place for Izzy to go for a date.”

Izzy is one of my housemates as well, and while she is wonderful, I was not excited to give up a trip to the mall to scope out a date for her. Especially a date at a swing dance club I love to go to with Jon, whenever he is able to come visit. After voicing my frustrations, I settled in for the half-hour trip to Fountain Square.

When we got there, I was surprised when the bouncer allowed us in without paying. Fountain Square is a popular place for college students and community members to go to dance. It is well-known for its live music and its incredible architecture. The building is a converted old theater, with vaulted ceilings and a beautiful wood dance floor. We went inside without a hitch and went to one of the back tables. My friends suggested we have a seat and “take in the atmosphere.”

After a few minutes watching other people dance, I realized my friend, Caryn had disappeared. She returned with a shiny metallic package, which she handed to me without explanation. Inside was a book, entitled “Choose Your Own Adventure.” As I skimmed the pages, I realized that it featured all the major events in Jon and my relationship, including many texts and letters we’d sent back and forth.

Being an English major, I know the value of reading the ending of a book before the beginning, so I flipped to the last page. I was shocked as I realized it narrated EXACTLY what I had done that evening. It mentioned my night out with the girls, dinner, even going to Fountain Square against my will. The last few lines mentioned that as I looked up at the band, I realized my man was playing…then he came down and proposed. The final words in the book were “Will you Marry me?”

Well, I looked at the stage and he wasn’t there. Jon is a professional violinist and it seemed reasonable that he could be playing. While I was distracted, Caryn came and passed me a large bouquet of roses. My breath caught in a giant gasp. This was real life.

The director announced that a guest performer would be playing the next song, and out stepped a tall, blonde man with a violin. Jon lives over 1,300 miles away, so at first I was distracted by just how good it was to see him. Then he started playing. The crowd of 700 people parted in half as he descended from the stage. Winding his way through the crowd, he continued to play until he ended where I was standing.

He asked me if I wanted to choose an adventure with him. I said yes. But really, my man flew across the country just to propose, he wrote me a book and bought me a rock and serenaded my proposal. Who wouldn’t say yes?

Special thanks to my good friends Caryn Willis and Bethany Westbrook for all your hard work in helping to plan my engagement. Thanks also to Izzy Warton, Haley Arlt, and Rachel Frazer. I love you guys.

And I love you, too, Jon. But you know that.

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