Matthew and Katherine

Image 1 of Matthew and Katherine Van

How We Met

It began more than sixteen months ago, in February of 2016. My best friend Krista introduced me to Matt, a friend she had met in third grade. During our first conversation, I told Matt that I had recently applied to be a Young Adults in Global Mission volunteer, which would send me to another country for a year. This didn’t discourage him from wanting to dive into a relationship. Ten days after our introduction, we made our relationship official. And a few months later after I graduated from college, we spent almost every summer day together until I left for Edinburgh, Scotland, in August.

Image 2 of Matthew and Katherine Van

Image 3 of Matthew and Katherine Van

Image 4 of Matthew and Katherine Van

Image 5 of Matthew and Katherine Van

how they asked

Exactly one year from the day we dove into a relationship, Matt and I were celebrating our anniversary together with a gorgeous view of the Edinburgh Castle and a fancy dinner at the Tower Restaurant. My colleagues, his coworkers, our friends, and both families were holding their breath, wondering whether Matt would propose. Alas, he went home having not “put a ring on it.” During his visit, however, he told me why he hadn’t: He wanted to wait until I was back home in South Dakota to share the good news with family and close friends in person. Fast forward to May 27th, my parents and brother had been on Edinburgh soil, or cobblestone, about twenty-four hours. After an afternoon nap to quell the jetlag, they were determined to hike up Calton Hill.

An overcast sky and a forecast of rain prompted my suggestion to wait until after dinner: “This isn’t the best weather for a hike up Calton Hill.” Of course, if I had known what awaited me at the summit, I would’ve dashed up in a hurricane. As I reflect on the day and tell the story, the ending seems quite obvious. There atop Calton Hill, waiting behind the Nelson Monument, was my boyfriend, who was supposed to be in Deadwood for the wedding of two friends. (We’re sorry, Kirk and Kathleen!) Little did I know, that this patient, compassionate, and determined man had literally flown 4,000 miles for the weekend, even after his flight was delayed 24 hours in the U.S., because I always insisted he could never surprise me. In the end, Matt got his trousers a bit wet when he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him; however, his luggage was a tiny bit lighter on the way home.

Image 6 of Matthew and Katherine Van

Image 7 of Matthew and Katherine Van