How We Met
All of this started on our pre-deployment training in 2010. I was brand new to the company and so was he. He had just gotten out of a bad breakup as well as I. We had our first couple encounters during our training where he was instantly attracted to me. We did have to work together because our departments have to interact in order to get the mission done so I was always seeing him but at that time I had no interest in him at all. I thought he was idiotic, moronic, and just plain dumb to be honest. I knew I was way out of his league and he did too but that did not stop him from pursuing me. Our deployment training was in two phases. First phase was in-state training and the second phase is out-of state training. During the in-state training, he would make comments to me like “ you look beautiful” and “wow you are so hot” everytime we crossed paths. I never really paid attention to it because I didn’t know him that well and I thought he was just saying it just to flirt with me. We flew out to our out-of-state training to Indiana for about 3 weeks. That is where his interest grew more and his flirting became more frequent. At this point he was determined to try to get with me. He started saying, “ we are going to cuddle”, everytime we crossed paths. He constantly reminded me that by the end of the deployment we were going to cuddle and that WAS going to happen. I kept brushing it off and laughed at it everytime he said that because I kept thinking, “yea right no way in chance will that ever happen.” Half way through our out of state training, we were actually spending more time around each other because we had the same mutual friends. O man can this guy make me laugh. I was always laughing whenever I was around him, which led me to want to hang out with him some more. He finally had enough courage to ask me for my number about a week before we shipped out to Iraq. We spent time talking and texting and just by talking to him, I new that he wasn’t like other guys I have dated before. He had a different way of talking to me, his sense of humor was different that anyone else’s, and his flirting was not like how I have ever heard before. It was intriguing; it was refreshing, and just different. We get to Kuwait first where he asked me out on our first date. I said yes and give him a chance. He STOOD ME UP! I was livid. I had said yes to him to go on a date and he has the nerve to “forget” when we were supposed to meet up and what time, so I was left hanging. I was mad.
The day after, I confronted him (there really isn’t much place for him to go anyways because we were all stuck in one place) and I asked him of what happened when we were supposed to “go on our date”. He swore up and down that he thought it was a different day than the day I thought we were supposed to meet. At that point, I was over it and done with him. He then promised that he would make it up to me and that it would never happen again. I turned him down one more time before he asked me out on another date for the third time where I caved and said yes. He came and picked me up on time and we walked to the MWR (Moral Welfare Recreation) building in Kuwait. The MWR is a building that has computers, telephones, board games, maybe a pool table, and a bad excuse of a movie theater (which the movie theater consisted of a king size white sheet on a wall, a projector and folding chairs) that soldiers can go to just relax and just hang out. We watched Werewolf on our “date” on our dinky excuse for a movie theater. We walked back to our tents and talked the whole way back. He was getting more and more into me and I wasn’t as much into him. We then got sent to our duty station in our deployment where he was adamant on making me his girlfriend. He asked me to be his girlfriend and I said no. I told him that he had to work for me and show me how much he really wanted to be with me. He asked me out about 2 more times and I still said no because I felt that he hadn’t worked that hard for me. For 2 weeks he waited for me outside my tent (home) until I was off from work just to spend some time with me. It then hit me that he really wanted me to be his girlfriend and that he would do anything for me. So one night we were hanging out after “work”, eating some delicious cafeteria food, where I just looked at him. I was looking at him and in my head I am thinking, “well I guess it’s now or never. This can go either very good or very bad.” I looked at him and I asked HIM to be my boyfriend. His face was blank, jaw dropped, just in so much shock that I did that. He said yes but with a defeated look on his face. He was actually bummed and happy at the same time. He was bummed because he wasn’t the one that asked me out but he was happy because he could finally be with me and call me his. We became official mid-June which was perfect timing because he then left to a two week mission to the worst parts of Iraq.
Our relationship was his saving grace because he had someone to come back to and look forward to coming “home” (our tents). It was what kept his sanity during war times and what gave him drive to stay alive and fight to come back home from every mission he went on. We have been together ever since. We have 2 kids and 8 years. And here we are.
How They Asked
Our proposal wasn’t that huge because we had already been together for 8 years and have two kids together and live together. The proposal was perfect and simple. I mean we are pretty much married just not through ceremony or paper or anything like that. According to our families and friends, we are pretty much married. They already consider us husband and wife.
He had the ring in his pocket. It was just him and I and I guess he couldn’t wait. He asked me if I wanted to go get some ice cream. He knows ice cream is my weakness and always has been. He had planned this proposal with ice cream involved so he knew that he would get a yes. I was looking like a hot mess. I had my hair in a messy bun, sweat pants, and flip flops. He was also dressed down as well. He had me pick out my ice cream and he picked his. He paid for both ice creams and instead of going straight to the car, he suggested we sit down at the little table outside of the ice cream parlor. I said sure. I really didn’t think much of it. He began his speech. He said, “ Marina, I want to talk to you about something. Something that I have been thinking about and is well overdue.” I am super confused at this point and not sure if he was breaking up with me or if he was telling me some really good news. He continues, “ Marina, I knew I loved you almost pretty much as soon as we started dating. You are so different from any one else and the fact that we are soul mates only makes this better. You know me better than I know myself and you understand my sense of humor and my jokes. You have been my rock sick Iraq and helped me keep my sanity through war and through life with out two kids. Whenever people ask me of where I met you, I always say that I literally have to travel half way around the world to meet you. You are an incredible mother to our kids and you push me to be the better man because if it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have the career I have now. My life is great and fuller and it has been since the day I became your boyfriend. Even though I am still a little mad that you asked me out rather than the other way around, I am so glad that I was finally able to call you mine.” I am tearing up because I was not expecting that at all. He gets down on one knee. My eyes blow up like balloons and my jaw hits the ground. I said “ what are you doing? What are you doing? Omg what are you doing?” My head begins to spin and my stomach begins to instantly fill up with millions of butterflies. He begins to say, “ Marina, this is quite a few years late but better late than never. Marina Isabel Urbina Almada, will you marry me?” I feel like someone knocked every breath I had completely out because I promise you, I was not breathing whatsoever. I said “ YES FINALLY!!!! ABOUT TIME!!” He puts the ring on my finger and gets up and kisses me. I am crying and just ecstatic that I lose my ice cream appetite. We are both just on cloud 9. It was the sweetest most romantic thing ever. This was June 12th 2018.
Photographer: Visual Creations Studio//Design and Decor: Fancy Lou Designs//Floral Designer: Flowers With Flair//Makeup Artist: Faces by Amelia//Hair Stylist: EllaClare Hair//Dress Designer: Your Wedding Affair//Accommodations: The Paseo Venue//