Ross and Alyssa

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How We Met

Alyssa and I met during our December breaks from college and medical school, respectively. Alyssa was home from college in New Jersey, and I was on break from my first year in medical school in Brooklyn. Thankfully, Alyssa was close enough to me for us to connect via Hinge! Both of us were slightly skeptical of online dating, so after matching, Alyssa contacted our mutual friend who she knew from high school and I knew from my fraternity at the University of Miami. She made sure I was “normal” and I did the same! After getting this confirmation, we decided to meet for dinner in Manhattan. We had an amazing meal together at a Mexican restaurant and spent the rest of the night walking around together. I knew she was so amazing right from the get-go. We immediately made plans to meet up again for New Years. I went to my brother’s apartment for New Years and she was going to one of those all you can drink bars in Manhattan. The plan was to meet after our respective events and spend the night together.

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Unfortunately, that didn’t go quite as planned! Alyssa had a few too many drinks and I ended up having to leave my brother’s event early to pick her up. Let’s just say she wasn’t in the best of shapes! After that night, I truly thought I would never see Alyssa again. The girl I had met the date before didn’t seem like this girl I saw on New Years. Thankfully, Alyssa didn’t want to let me go! After a few days of not talking, she reached out to me and asked for plans. She said she would make the night up to me, and for some reason, I gave her a second chance. Alyssa came to my apartment with an entire 3-course dinner cooked for me. It was absolutely delicious and it showed me how that girl from New Years was not the true Alyssa. Alyssa only had a few more days in New Jersey before heading back to Hartford, Connecticut for her final semester in college. We met up one more time and decided that we had something special. We knew that we only would have to do long distance for a few months before Alyssa graduated and we knew we would make it.

The past 3.5 years of my life have been the most incredible I could ever ask for. Being in a relationship with a medical student is extraordinarily difficult. My schedule is extremely structured and inflexible. Alyssa has been incredibly selfless and loving to me throughout medical school. She understands when I have to study, and even at times, has encouraged me to continue studying, even when I just want to come home and be with her. She has pushed me to be the best me possible, and I can’t thank her enough for it. She has been so helpful to our medical school friends as well, helping them put together their resumes and prepare for residency interviews, as Alyssa works as an HR recruiter. Alyssa is just the best, most loving and caring person I have ever met and I am so happy to have her in my life.

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how they asked

After my second year in medical school, I begun a 6 week, 10-12 hour a day study period for my first national exam, called USMLE Step 1. Alyssa helped push me to do the best I possibly could do, and would always be home waiting for me after a long day. We had been dating for about a year and 3 months and while sitting in the library one day, I just thought about how happy Alyssa makes me and I knew I would marry her one day. Matchday is the third Friday of March every year and is the day when 4th-year medical students around the world find out exactly where they will be doing a residency after medical school. I was sitting in the library and knew that match day was coming up. I looked up exactly what date my match day was and it happened to be 2 years to the day away. That’s the day I decided how I would propose to the most special girl in the world.

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My match day was to be March 16, 2018, so on March 16, 2016, I began a 2-year project. I decided that on my match day, the day that Alyssa and I would find out where we will be living and where I will be doing a residency for the following 6 years would be the day that I propose. So I began to take a picture every single day holding a sign counting down from 730 days (2 years) to our engagement. So that’s what I did, every single day, regardless of where in the world we were. However, I needed to make sure Alyssa wouldn’t find out.

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So I took the picture every day on my phone, then sent the picture to an email account that isn’t on my phone, then deleted the picture from my phone, and then dug through the trash to hide the sign on the bottom of the trash. I would occasionally download the pictures from the email account to my external hard drive and eventually made the final project. But taking a picture every day mean meant taking pictures at our apartment in Brooklyn, in Texas, in Florida, in Thailand!, and anywhere else. My most difficult picture was taken when Alyssa’s nephew (and now mine too) was born. When he first came up from the NICU to the main room, everyone crowded around to see the baby.

I stood in the back corner and have an amazing picture with a sign and everyone around the new baby. Had anyone turned around and saw me, the entire project could have been ruined! Thankfully, no one did and the picture came out amazing.

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I loved taking pictures with Alyssa in it while she was sleeping so that she would be part of my project. Only in the last few months of my project did I start telling friends and family. I wanted the people in our lives that are special to us to be included in this special project. I started by telling my parents, brother, and sister in law, and slowly moved to our friends and Alyssa’s family. I was so scared that after me holding the secret for so long, one of my family or friends would slip up.

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Thankfully, that didn’t happen! I made all 730 photos into a 6-minute powerpoint slideshow accompanied by music that is special to us. But that’s not where the surprise ends. After matching into my dream residency program at 12 pm, I told Alyssa that at 6 pm, we would go to dinner with my parents and her parents. However, this was just a slight lie! I had rented out a private room and a beautiful Italian restaurant in Park Slope, Brooklyn and arranged for my brother and sister in law, as well as Alyssa’s two brothers, two sisters in laws, two nephews, and one niece to be at the restaurant.

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My brother showed up 45 minutes early to set up a projector, screen, and speakers. At 6 pm, Alyssa, I, my parents, and Alyssa’s parents showed up to the restaurant and went to the private room. When we walked in, Alyssa was shocked by our entire family’s being there and before she could process anything, the slideshow started!

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After a very quick hiccup with the audio, the slideshow went off perfectly. At the end of the video, I got down on one knee and asked the most important question of my life. After initially not even answering because she was crying, Alyssa said yes! We then were able to have an amazing dinner with our families to celebrate. It was the best day of my entire life!

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