How We Met
In the spring of 2014, my close friend Mary and I graduated from high school. At the same time, her older brother Juan, graduated from the U.S. Coast Guard Academy. A few days after graduation, I was invited to attend both of their graduation party at Juan’s house. During the party, Juan was wearing his full-service dress white uniform. The same uniform he wore when he received his officer commission to the U.S. Coast Guard. I was called to take pictures with him and his sister since the three of us were the recent graduates. Juan introduced himself before I left, but neither of us really engaged in conversation as I was mostly there for my friend. Little did I know, I was meeting the love of my life.
A year later, Juan asked his sister Carolina for my number. After a couple of weeks of texting, he asked for my email which I thought was odd, but it was because he was getting deployed to sea for two months and the only method of communication we had was through email. For almost three years, we dealt with long distance. I was finishing college in Texas while Juan was stationed in Florida and later received orders to Alaska.
Long distance and traveling made us have lots of countdowns for when we would see each other next. Our deal was that I would go visit him wherever he was and the next time it was his turn to visit me back in TX. I knew it was getting serious when two years ago, he came down with my family for Christmas in Mexico. As part of our ongoing deal, last year it was my turn to go meet the rest of his family in Paraguay.
How They Asked
After graduating from college this past May, I decided to find a summer job in Alaska, where Juan was stationed. We spent the whole summer together climbing mountains, fishing, going on helicopter rides and enjoying the great outdoors of Alaska. Almost every weekend, we went on a different tour since my job was in tourism which allowed me to meet various people working for different tourism companies. I was able to go on the tours and take Juan with me.
As the summer was ending, I was getting ready to move back home since my job was only seasonal. One day after work, Juan asked me if I was interested in going on a Glacier boat tour to see icebergs and wildlife with his Coast Guard colleagues. I said, “sure, why not!” That Saturday morning, we got ready and headed out to meet with the rest of the group. When we got there, Sheryl, who was in charge of organizing the event was making groups to board the boat, which to my surprise the boat was named St. Maria. It took us a couple of hours to get to the first glacier, but along the way, the captain was stopping and pointing different sites of the tour.
When we got to the first glacier, everyone got out and went to the top deck of the boat. From this level, people could get a better view of the glacier and admire the icebergs and the whole beauty outside. I remember everyone was taking pictures and videos for a while. All of a sudden, the captain announced that we were moving forward to the next glacier and everyone had to come down from the top deck. People started making their way downstairs, but Juan “wanted a better picture in front of the glacier with his GoPro”, so he asked a random person to take it. After the guy took the picture, Juan and I were the only ones on the top deck of the boat and Juan said something like “my GoPro died, I’m getting another battery” and he started running downstairs and I was like “what?” not understanding why he left running if we both had to get down. At that point, I was getting ready to head down but then Sheryl came up the stairs with a bouquet of roses and a rolled sheet of paper with a red ribbon around it. Sheryl approached me and gave me the roses and the piece of paper. After this, I was even more confused and did not know what was going on.
When I took the ribbon off and started reading, I noticed that it was a nautical chart of the Glacier tour we were on and overlapping the chart, there was a written poem in Spanish. I remember forgetting about everything around me and to be honest, I only read like the first five lines of the poem because I was ugly crying and I couldn’t see. When I looked up to clean my tears, I saw Juan in the staircase waiting for me to finish reading, so when he made eye contact with me he thought I was done reading (which I wasn’t and didn’t get to finish reading the front and back of the poem till the next day after he asked about it) Juan started walking to the middle of the deck where I was standing with my roses and the poem. Then Juan got in front of me on one knee and pulled a seashell out of his coat. At that moment I was still shaking and with blurry vision from my tears, he said my whole name and then added “te quieres casar conmigo?” (do you want to marry me) I then said “Siiii!!” and got him up from his knee and kissed him. After we kissed, I then realized that everyone else was watching from the bottom deck and starting clapping. I also realized that Sheryl’s boyfriend and two other girls were across us taking pictures and recording the whole proposal on the top deck which I had not noticed how they got there.
During our trip back home, a lady from the boat crew gave us a book signed by the captain and the other crew members that helped make the proposal possible and unforgettable. This was the first time a proposal was done on the St. Maria boat, so we even got some free cake!