Renée and Efrain

How We Met

Efrain and I met in 2011 when I was 16. His family lived next door and we had a basic neighbor relationship. That summer his sisters approached my mother asking if I needed a summer job, offering me a canvasser position at their company, which I happily took. A few weeks later I went in for my first day of training which his sister, Sandra introduced me to her little brother who would be working with me and training me.

The moment he walked in was like a scene from a Rom-Com where the girl sees an attractive guy and short circuits and forgets how to speak. Yeah… I think I managed to say hi. And then remained silent.

For the rest of our shift, I tried to be cool. But every time I looked at him I couldn’t help but smile. At the end of the day, he asked for my number so we could contact each other if we got separated, and he totally crushed me when he responded with “thanks squirt” I thought he friend zoned me. LOL

For the next two months, we worked together almost daily after school and for hours on the weekend talking about anything and everything. That’s when I found out he was several years older than me… he was 23 and I had just turned 17. I pretty much lost any hope of anything with him. Until one day…

on this day we had an oddly good day. It’s not like our days together were ever bad but this particular day was different. We laughed more we talked deeply and when he looked at me I felt …something. After he dropped me off at home I went up stairs totally bummed knowing that it could never mean anything and tried to shake the sadness when my phone buzzed. Efrain had texted me asking if it wasn’t too weird for me if he could take me to a movie over the weekend. Again, pretty sure I short circuited.

(Knowing he was older I quickly made sure it wasn’t illegal to go on a date with some older, and in the state of Colorado it wasn’t. Woo)

That date leads to an amazing week before he asked me to be his girlfriend. We spent that summer falling head over heels in love.

Of course with the age difference, we weren’t welcomed with the most support lots of people thought it was weird. I thought it was weird. But there was something between us greater than an age gap. It was the most unconditional pure love.

Anything life has thrown at us we have over come. Efrain has literally been at my side through every major life event that’s happened the last 8 years. He was there proudly at my graduation, he has sat with me in the emergency room whenever my mother (who is chronically ill) has been admitted to the hospital. He was there the day I saw my father for the first time, which also was the day he died. He was the reason for my first plane flight and first trip abroad. And has loved me through every bit of it unconditionally. I’ve sat through emergency heart surgery on his father and watched Efrain battle two rounds of kidney stones. Late nights of homework and studying, stress from finals. You name it we’ve probably been through it. Efrain is truly my best friend and rock and I knew I wanted to marry him pretty much on our first date. But I patiently waited for him to finish school and be ready.

How They Asked

This year we planned to take a little mini staycation here in Colorado. I desperately needed a break from work and he was so close to finishing college, he earned the break too. We finally decided a three day trip up to Estes Park and a sunrise hike to Dream Lake was the perfect way to celebrate his graduation my birthday and our anniversary all wrapped in one. I had secretly been hoping that he would ask soon. We had been together long enough and I was eager to make the transition to wifey. But when he showed no real excitement for the trip I was sure it wasn’t happening then.

On May 29th we woke up at 3:30 am got ready and headed out to the trailhead hoping to be up to the lake by sunrise. This year Colorado has had a pretty long winter which as a Native I’m all for it, but that meant the trail was completely snow-packed…

Renée's Proposal in Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

We headed up the mountain only for my asthma to kick in which made me stop every few minutes. I felt horrible knowing we wouldn’t be up to the lake at sunrise. The weather called for rain and snow that morning so we tried to hurry. We finally made it just past sunrise. Efrain was acting sort of anxious and seemed distracted. After walking all around the lake we headed back to the picture perfect location where he told me to get some more photos of the lake. I figured I better get a panorama because the view was unbelievable at every angle. Just as I was ending the panorama I heard “Baby? Baby?” When I turned around there he was, on one knee.

Wedding Proposal Ideas in Dream Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado

Once again I short-circuited and burst into tears hugging him, he was finally able to say “will you marry me” and I managed to say yes. Just as he slipped the ring on my finger I hear rustling behind us. I saw two women taking pictures and I assumed it was just hikers happening to capture our moment. One of the women said hello and that’s when I realized the women were his sisters, Sandra and Meli. He had planned a month prior with them to have them hike up ahead of us and be there to capture the best moment ever. He was acting so anxious because he didn’t see them and we had no cellular service. He gave them the head scratch signal and that’s when he popped the question!

Dream proposal at Dream Lake to my dream guy.