Paul and Gina
How We Met
Paul and I met in college when I was competing in speech and debate. Paul, having just graduated himself, was coaching another team. He had written a few pieces for his students that I was competing against. I fell for his words before I ever spoke to him. After a couple of years of running in the same circle, we formally met at a mutual friend’s birthday party. This was September 2009 – Paul was going through a lot at this time, his dad had terminal cancer and Paul had been taking care of him. Paul proceeded to get very drunk at this party. I decided to hide his keys so he A) couldn’t make any stupid decisions and B) would be stuck talking to me all night. The plan worked like a charm and we’ve been together ever since.
How They Asked
Paul and I were about a week into our 2 week Autumn/East Coast vacation. We had spent all day in the small seaside town of Bar Harbor, Maine. Boat rides to see lighthouses, strolling around the quaint shops, eating our weight in lobster…you know, enjoying a perfect day! The Crown Jewel in the area is Acadia National Park, with woodlands of wildlife, rocky beaches, and forests gleaming in every fall color 🍁Acadia is the most beautiful place I’ve ever seen. Paul and I took a bus to the top of Cadillac Mountain, a granite peak that sits high up along the eastern seaboard. It is the first place in the United States where you can see the sunrise.
Diana from Indiana was our tour guide on the bus ride, sharing fun facts and stories with our group (of all senior citizens)👵🏻! When we made it to the top, Diana told us to be back in 20 minutes. Paul with his 15 cameras and 45 lenses was just as slow loading off the bus as the old-timers 🤣. As some of you know, Paul carries multiple cameras with him everywhere and takes photos of me constantly – usually just checking exposure, focus, framing… what have you. We found a beautiful rocky clearing through the woods and he set up shop for some photos. He asked me to stand there while he made adjustments. I was honestly bored and thinking- come on already! After a few minutes, Paul seemed happy with it and set the timer to run into the frame. But as Paul approached me, he dropped to his knee and time stood still.
I heard him say “Will you marry me?” but legitimately didn’t register what was happening for a couple of seconds. When he opened the ring box my mind just went black for a moment. After nearly 10 years together and many conversations about getting married, I couldn’t believe that Paul was asking me to marry him. I couldn’t believe that the ring was for me, and I couldn’t believe it was happening right NOW.
Paul, a man of a million words, wasn’t saying anything. I looked down at him and saw that he was crying and then realized I had been SOBBING, not in a cute romantic way. I was crying so hard, Paul later told me he thought I was about to say no! I crouched down into Paul’s arms and stayed there for a while. Taking it in. After all this time, it happened. It happened in the most beautiful place on the most beautiful day and as we were finally up on our feet, drying our eyes… the bus honked!
Paul and I scrambled our things together and raced back to the bus where Diana from Indiana was helping the stragglers on board. I couldn’t help but blurt out the happy news and then Diana started crying too! She was so excited for us that when she got back on the mic, she made an announcement to everyone on board. In many years giving tours here, we were Diana’s first couple to get engaged. Old men were heaving themselves out of their seats to high five Paul and all the ladies were asking me to flash my ring for them to see. I don’t think I’ve felt happier in my whole life. As the bus made its way back down to our port, I settled in next to my Paulie with and enjoyed the ride besides the wonderful man I get to marry.