How We Met
We met during our junior year of college at Arizona State University. We were both studying education and since the program was small, we had every class together. We took an environmental science course that required us to complete different outdoor exploration tasks and document the experience to receive “outdoor badges”. Our first assignment was to go kayaking and take pictures to present to the class for the following week. As expected, living in the desert didn’t allow us many opportunities to find either a kayak nor water. A few days later a group of people from our class found a lake up North to rent kayaks from. The following morning we put together a group and planned to carpool up to Woods Canyon Lake about an hour away. Adam decided to drive so I agreed to ride with him while the other four rode in a separate car.
I was super apprehensive knowing we had only had brief conversations when forced to speak in class. I thought, “who starts the conversations? What would we talk about? What happens if we have nothing in common?”. We eventually got on the road and Adam immediately made jokes about every one of those questions turning in my head, making me feel a sense of confidence in the outcome of the trip. We ended up diverging off the map twice, by accident, getting lost in the conversations. After multiple findings of commonalities, we arrived at the lake in what felt like ten minutes. We rented our kayak and continued talking about past experiences including our favorite concerts and different restaurants. Our hour rental came to a close and we started the trek back down South. It was in those moments filled with laughter and vulnerability where I felt I knew Adam for years beyond the measly three hours we were actually together.
I knew Adam was genuine and this stranger easily became a close friend. I told my parents about Adam the night we returned from kayaking and they immediately wanted to meet him. We went out for a few drinks and my parents started the running joke- if you don’t start dating Adam, we will. Since that night Adam and I started seeing each other daily. The catch was he wanted to start dating but I was too afraid of losing the friendship we built. So, as this perfect being stood before my eyes I had nothing to say but “no”. Relentless and fierce, Adam didn’t take no for answer and politely pushed himself more into my life. We stayed up late completing assignments, scouted out new foods, and found strength through fitness.
Flash forward a couple of weeks and Adam again stood in front of me boldly and asked: “why aren’t we dating?”. I buried myself in my jacket and had no obvious answer as I sat silently for the moment to pass. I shrugged my shoulders and Adam left defeated. After reflecting on our friendship, it was then when knew our “friendship” had blossomed into much more and I was too blind to see it. I had finally recognized the fortune in front of me and how silly I was to turn him away not only once, but twice.
Adam welcomed the idea of a relationship but respected the time and space I needed. I ended up baking him cupcakes and wrote a letter asking him to officially become my boyfriend about a month later. To this day, that was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!
How They Asked
I had been joking with Adam for months about getting married, but eventually pushed it off as he kept telling me “some day”. It felt like it was taking forever… what was he waiting for?!
We went to a music festival for New Year’s Eve and at midnight he leaned in for a kiss and whispered, “this is our year; I can’t wait to ask you to become my wife sometime between January 1st and December 31st”. This put the idea back into my mind knowing our lives were going to change drastically sometime this year. I decided to go back to school so my mind had been pre-occupied with a new goal and Adam recently had started up his own hot sauce business. We were both terribly busy and never diverged from our current plans (at least I hadn’t).
It was February 22nd, a Friday night when he randomly told me he was going to sell some hot sauce in the morning and he’d be home before I woke up. This was a normal conversation since the business started so I didn’t think any of it. The next day, Saturday morning, at 6 am he kissed my forehead goodbye and said he would see me later. Again, I didn’t think anything different about it and immediately went back to sleep. A couple of hours later my alarm went off and he was labeled “Adam says go to the couch!!”. I hollered for Adam but heard no response. I was pretty grumpy at this point because I hate getting up early on the weekends. I dragged myself to the couch to see what the alarm was about and found four notes with pictures laid out. This was not out of the ordinary as Adam usually hides punny notes around the house. Despite the familiarity, my heart dropped and I thought to myself- this could finally be it!
Each note had a monumental picture of places and experiences we had together. The first note stated “Before this…” with a picture of our first day trip as a couple to Antelope Canyon, the second note said “or even this” with a picture of the Woods Canyon trip when we initially met, and the third note said “we were here” with a picture of us from class at ASU. The final note stated “this is a scavenger hunt. I would POLY go to the place we would spike out our frustrations. Hurry though… We are waiting!” I bolted to the bedroom finding a text saying “good luck” from Adam and got ready flustered and nervous.
I grabbed the clues and packed up our pup to see what was going to be next.
I drove to ASU Polytechnic campus where we played sand volleyball each week and there laid the second clue stating, “I bet you worked up an appetite. Go to our favorite restaurant and be sure to ask the cashier for clue #3”. Meeting in college, we shared a strong love for cheap food and bonded over Taco Bell. I put the address in my maps and started heading towards clue number three. At this point, my heart was beating faster as my realization for what was happening started settling in. I arrived at Taco Bell and the cashier tapped her co-worker mumbling, “that is her! that is her!”. She came towards me and winked handing me the last clue. The clue was a picture of us on our first hike together, a huge part of our relationship, and said: “don’t get lost trying to find me… go to the place we knew it was forever”. As I read the clue I knew it was in this moment where I digested what was actually happening. The cashier handed me my breakfast and spit out “congratulations!”. I smiled as she solidified what I thought was happening and I got back into the car. I sat for a minute trying to process everything and immediately started crying. I pulled out of the parking lot and drove towards the mountain range.
Side note… it was a very odd couple days in Arizona filled with a massive cold front that brought tons of rain and snow to nearby mountains. Just a reminder, it hardly rains in Arizona and even less unlikely to snow considering it was the end of February in a desert!
It was early enough in the morning where the roads were clear and the sun was shining directly on the snow capped mountains in front of me. The most surreal and calm sensation ran through my body as I thought about the love and courage Adam poured out into this event. Everything Adam had presented to me in the scavenger hunt had each ounce of his heart in it and I knew couldn’t have asked for a more perfect way to arrive at this moment.
I reached the mountain and noticed the dog’s leash tangled in many knots around my backpack. Flustered, I untangled him and dropped my keys getting out of the car. I pick the keys up breaking my key chain and began freaking out. I didn’t let that stop me as I fervently walked towards the trailhead seeing my parent’s cars parked on the side. Naturally, the tears started flowing. “Pull it together, Lora” I kept telling myself. I reached the trail gazing at the beautiful backdrop ahead and saw a group of people off to the side. I saw Adam standing in the middle of everyone with the biggest grin welcoming me with open arms. He told me, “I had so many things I planned to say but lost all the words the moment I saw you.” He got down on his knee and presented me with the shiniest ring ever! My eyes widened and my jaw dropped. At this point, I didn’t even know what Adam was saying because I was too busy jumping around screaming “YES!”.
I was greeted by my parents, his parents and sister, and our mutual friends. He told me he bought the ring in November and had been planning this day for over three months. We were supposed to go to Woods Canyon Lake- the same place we went kayaking that first trip. However, referring back to the part where Arizona was covered in snow, he changed the plans last minute. Everyone who came was ecstatic and willing to make this day as perfect as it felt. It was genuine and encompassed our entire relationship while still being flexible. I can’t believe our families kept that secret from me for so long, but I was so happy they did!
I couldn’t have asked for a better way to start our new chapter together!!