How We Met
Nicole: *Steps back & counts the years we’ve dated on two hands*
Let me start by saying, it was not love at first sight. I met Richie when we were both sophomores in high school. I had transferred schools at the beginning of the year & was just starting to find my friend group when our football team qualified for the state championship. The game was a 3-hour drive away that everyone was going to. Luckily, our school had chartered buses for all the students to hitch a ride on, states here we come! My new friends & I were all signed up and about to head out, I just needed to make one pit stop at my homeroom to grab my things.
Enter Richie Westerlind.
While I was in the back of the room gathering my things, I exchanged a hello with a friend sitting in class. Turning back toward my belongings, I soon heard a whispering of my name. I turned to look where it was coming from and see a guy I’ve yet to come across in my short time walking the halls of STA. Confused how he knew my name and questioning why he was trying to get my attention, I starred back & waited. A bright-eyed ‘hi’ with a smile was thrown my way. Mind you, one of my new friends had accompanied me to my homeroom and during this scene gives the cheeky guy a ‘never gonna happen’ look and glances back at me.
As we left the classroom, we laughed & gossiped about what had just happened. Ironically my new friend had grown up with this guy and gave me a recap of all the reasons why I wouldn’t want anything to do with him. Roger, Roger, alert received loud & clear. Sophomore year went on without a glitch.
Hello, Junior year.
Class schedules were a big deal at STA. By this time, I had found an amazing group of friends & hoped they’d be in at least one of my six classes. Luckily they were & I couldn’t wait to walk the halls on that first day. All of that excitement quickly disappeared when I walked in my first class and saw that guy smiling back at me. Greeeaattt…I thought. That guy’s in my class.
A brief glance around the room and that same smile caught my eye…again. Make that two classes with that guy. ‘Whhhhyyyyy me?!’ is all I could scream inside. *bell rings, bolts for the door* My next 3 classes were that-guy-free & I start to think Junior year won’t be too bad after all.
I take that back. You could call it fate, divine intervention, or a joke of a scheduling system because once the sixth period rolled around and oh hi there, you look familiar. If you’re keeping count, that’s a total of three out of six classes we officially have together.
Day two: Junior year, let’s start over.
I walked into class with a positive attitude and planned on making the best out of my situation. He sat down next to me, we exchanged smiles & a proper introduction between us was made. Richie cracked a hilarious joke, I laughed uncontrollably, and the rest is a cliche history. Those three classes gave me the opportunity to change my perspective on someone I only knew through an opinion of someone else. I’m so thankful I was given the chance to truly get to know the amazing guy who I’ve called mine for the past 9 years.
how they asked
Richie: From the very first time we hung out and watched a movie on my couch, I knew she was the one I was going to marry one day. Flash forward 9 years and I couldn’t wait to ask her. The days leading up to the day I was going to propose were tough. I really wanted it to be a surprise, but there were so many variables that could have given it away. Luckily, the day came and she appeared to not have a clue. As the moment approached, I got really nervous and felt my stomach in my throat. I couldn’t stop talking out of sheer nervousness. The “plan” was to take her to the Castle Hill lighthouse for pictures, so I had to be sure to bring our camera bag even though the camera was actually with my mom as I had arranged for her to secretly take pictures.
Of course, she was running late so I had to stall and keep the bag away so she wouldn’t ask for the camera. Finally, my mom arrived and everything from that moment on was a blur…including the fact I still had the empty bag on my back. Life isn’t perfect, it’s the ride that counts and I couldn’t be happier to call the girl I wanted to marry for nine years, my fiance. Looking back at the photos, I think the empty bag on my back is funny, but I wouldn’t have changed anything.
Nicole: Ever since that very first night, I’ve been in love with Richie and knew he was the man I wanted to marry one day. Admittedly, after dating for 9 years, I’ve been hoping for a proposal for a lonnnnggggg time. Needless to say, I thought every weekend getaway or upcoming vacation was sure to be the time he would pop the question. After many weekend trips came and passed without a proposal, I was really thrown with when he’d finally end up asking me. Sure enough, Richie’s work was calling him to Australia for an entire month at the end of the month and I lost all hope that it was happening before the end of the year. As a little last minute vacation, he asked if I’d like to spend a few days in Newport, Rhode Island, our favorite summertime spot. I, of course, was more than willing to go and we both secured a Friday off from work for a three-day weekend.
Coincidentally, his entire family was going to be in town when we went, but it really wasn’t that uncommon as his dad works there and we all visit frequently. After arriving in town, we grabbed a quick bite to eat at a local spot. During the lunch conversation with his family, Richie suggested he wanted to take me to the Castle Hill lighthouse to snap a few photos for my blog and show me a spot he loved as a little boy. After a quick stop to change at the hotel, Richie, his two sisters and I were on our way to this ocean-side destination. We parked and walked down the little path toward the ocean and finally reached the lighthouse.
A stunning view on a gorgeous day, the view was a little hard to enjoy with the heavy wind, mist and cool temperatures, but I loved enjoying this moment with him anyway. Flash forward to me catching a glimpse of his mother peeking around the corner and it finally hit me what was going on. Immediately I started balling my eyes. Richie recited the cutest words to me, joked that I had to open my eyes to look at him, and finished with ‘Will you marry me?’. It was perfect.
Seconds after proposing, he admitted he’d been lying to me this whole time – he told me he had to ask me that windy, rainy day & time because my parents were currently on their way to catch a flight up to Newport to celebrate and we were running out of time to call and tell them the good news. A minute later, we were Face-timing my parents and celebrating with his family. I am so happy to finally be engaged to my best friend and cannot wait to see what the future holds for us!