How We Met
At UCLA there is a wonderful student group on campus called HOOLIGAN Theatre company. Students of all majors come together and put on four main stage shows each year, and the group is made up of some of the best people I have ever had the privilege of meeting. I had been involved since my freshman year and was excited to try out for the fall show when school started up again in September of 2012.
The show was Urinetown, a quirky little piece about a town where you have to pay to pee. At callbacks, I was looking for people to go over the scenes with and a guy I’d never met before offered to read with me. I remember thinking “my, he’s tall” and then “my he’s cute…he must have a girlfriend”. Resigned to being his friend (I was convinced he wasn’t single…he was way too good to be true), we ended up chatting and went with a mutual friend to get some nachos at a late night eatery on campus. Even that night, we just clicked. He struck me as a very special type of person. He was incredibly kind, smart, handsome, well-spoken, humble, and surprisingly mature for only having been at school a week. We discovered that we were also both in Cru, and we started to chat more and more as the quarter got going. Oh, did I mention he was a freshman? And we met his second week of school?
Anywho, after a few weeks of hanging out, chatting on Facebook (he sent me songs to listen to while I was at my internship and they’re some of my favorites today), we went to a retreat with Cru up in the mountains. We drove up together (our friend slept in the backseat so we had a lot of time to just chat with one another), and stayed up til the wee hours of the morning the whole weekend talking about anything and everything under the sun. When I got home, he asked for my number. One night later that week, after a HOOLIGAN get together at a friend’s house, he walked me back to my apartment and as I was shutting the door behind me, he put his hand out and stopped it. He nervously blurted out that he liked me and wanted “to know what I thought about that” and I said I liked him too.
And that, as they say, was that. We’ve been together almost four years now, and those same traits I noticed that first night we hung out still ring true with more voracity and depth than I could have ever imagined, and they are some of the things I love most about him. He’s been the most genuine and kind friend I’ve ever had, the best teammate for life a girl could ask for, and makes me feel more loved and cherished than I ever could have dreamed. I am beyond grateful to have met my best friend and love of my life when I did. I’m still not sure how I got so lucky.
how they asked
It was a beautiful Saturday in April and I was exhausted and exhilarated that my boyfriend Chris and I finally had the time to go out to a nice dinner and spend some leisurely time together. He was in the midst of his senior year at UCLA and we both had packed schedules for over two months. I was so excited to finally have a quiet night out together.
I remember being nervous as I started to get ready for our date and I didn’t quite know why. We’d been dating for almost three and a half years, and our dates usually made me excited but no longer nervous like I had been at the beginning of our relationship. I started getting ready…my usual routine of a shower, makeup with coffee and a Bravo TV show, then my hair and final primping as he arrives, sits on the couch, and teases me about never being on time. Today I was DETERMINED to be ready at 4:15pm sharp.
At just about that time, the doorbell rang. I remember thinking that was quite odd, and I yelled out that I would be just a minute, assuming he would use his key and come in as he usually does.Then the doorbell rang again. I ran to the door, confused, and opened it.
Standing in front of me was our friend, Graham. He had on a blue suit and a white shirt that was crisp but unbuttoned at the top. He looked very nervous and very dapper. Straight faced, he held out a note that bared the nickname only Chris uses for me. “Read this, come out when you’re ready,” he said. Defiantly I inquired what was going on. He repeated himself and I snatched the note, shut the door, and breathed.
This was happening. I knew it. I knew it already.I could barely get the envelope open with my shaking hands. Inside was Chris’s sweet writing telling me that we were still going on a date, it was just going to start a little differently. It was signed “I’ll see you soon”. No love. Just that.
When do I get to say yes, my head swam. When? I wanted it to be right that very moment. My heart realized what it was saying and swelled with happiness.
I ran into the bathroom and looked in the mirror, not really seeing anything. I sprayed my hair one last time, grabbed my bag, and ran to the door. I breathed, turned the knob, and started on my adventure.
Being me, I started questioning Graham as soon as we started walking towards the car. “Are you my driver?” I asked. “I suppose I am”, he answered. “Do you know where Chris is?” I said. He ignored my question and opened the door to the back seat of his car.
I slid inside onto the creamy, tan leather seats and was surprised (and delighted) to find a tiny, chilled Fiji water bottle (my favorite, yes I have a favorite type of water) waiting for me with a box of tissues.
We arrived at Wilson Plaza on UCLA’s campus and I was shaking. I saw Roger and Matty -Chris’s long time friends and roommates- waiting for me.
I took a moment to look at the end of the wall where Chris and I had sat one night nearly four years ago. It was after rehearsal for the musical where we had met each other a few weeks before. The questions we were pondering then…do we have to be boyfriend and girlfriend, can we just hang out, can we just date…they seemed so silly now. The Lord’s path had been clear for us all along. He brought us together, He manifested this love that we share, and He is joyful that we share it with each other and seek to praise Him through our relationship each day. Chris had been the one from the day I first laid eyes on his handsome face.
I walked up to Matty and Roger absolutely trembling. They tried to make small talk (I think, they told me after), and I just kept asking where Chris was. Finally, it seemed, they gave me a note with my name on it. I tried to open it, but gave it back to Roger with trembling hands asking for his help. He opened it, and I read more of Chris’s sweet words. With haste I headed off to the place we’d fallen in love three years ago.
When we walked into the ballroom, there were people moving tables all around so I was thoroughly confused. Then I saw all of our friends standing on the stage.
They started to sing Dancing Queen as I made my way towards them, and I couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down my cheeks. It was beautiful. Three years earlier during Dance Marathon at UCLA, Chris and I had danced to that song. It was three in the morning, we were both exhausted, but I still remember that moment like a dream. He had mustered up some gusto and slowly pulled me in as the song started to play. It was a small gesture, but I remember peering up at him and knowing in that moment that I loved him. Neither of us said anything that night, but he later told me that he knew then too.
Our good friend Omer hopped off the stage, hugged me, and handed me my last note and a CD. I looked over at everyone shuffling offstage into a hallway and they were all tears and smiles and someone whispered “close the door!”.
I opened his last note; it told me to go to Paradise Cove, and I practically sprinted out of the ballroom. Graham, trotting along carrying my purse, went with me back to his car. He put in the CD and our songs (we’re very into music..we have a whole playlist and I love it) started to play. He graciously listened to my psycho babble mix of cute stories about us and who knows what else as we made the trek up PCH. I just knew I had to keep talking if I was going to stay sane as I waited to get to Chris.
It honestly felt like the longest drive to Malibu. I sang along to the CD, imagined where I’d find Chris once I got there, and reflected on all the millions of memories those notes brought across my mind’s eye. I was so excited to get to him. I couldn’t wait any longer.
As we drove up, I asked Graham if I’d be seeing him later. He said eventually, and as soon as he stopped, I ran out of the car, kicked off my shoes, and started running up the beach. I was being very careful to not get pooped on by the seagulls and also to run as fast as I could to my strong, handsome, sweet boyfriend waiting at the other end of the beach for me. I jumped on him and gave him the biggest hug when I finally got there.
He held my hands, looked me in the eyes, and said the most magical things to me. It was perfect, beautiful, heart felt, and everything I could have ever hoped to hear from my best friend.
Then he got down on one knee.
He asked me to be his sweet girl, koala bear, and teammate forever. And I said yes. Five times. I’m pretty sure I shouted it.
He told me to turn around, and there were my very best friends (one had flown in from New York to be there and BOY was I surprised) all there ready to embrace me with their warm hugs.
We went to Paradise Cove Beach Cafe and called my parents and grandma. We waited for a little, talked and chatted, and were seated at a table for six. We split an appetizer platter and then the girls left to meet us back at my place. This part was a blur of hugs and happiness and our cheeks hurting from smiling so hard.
When we got back to his apartment, all of our friends and his sister (ANOTHER surprise) were waiting to shower us with love and smiles and hugs. We danced and chatted and partied until the early morning. Even though I was dog tired, I couldn’t fall asleep for hours. I was too excited. It was truly the best day of our lives.