How We Met
Vlad and I met on Halloween 2014 at SAX, a trendy bar in Washington, DC. My friend and I had decided to go at the last minute after the manager invited us to their private party. I threw together an outfit of leather pants, boots, corset, a bow and arrow and braided my hair, deciding I’d be Katniss for the night.
Upon arriving to SAX we noticed that everyone was dressed in masquerade wear, we clearly had not received the memo that it was a themed party! None-the-less we were allowed in, grabbed drinks and hit the dance floor. It was one of those nights when we just wanted to have girl time and dance so I was not impressed when a masked man in a cape approached me and started small talk. I humored him for a while, my interest slightly growing when he told me that he had just returned from a trip to Peru and had grown up in Russia. I shared with him that I loved to travel and one of my favorite places was Ethiopia.
I eventually decided I had enough talk and rejoined my girl for more dancing. Towards the end of the night the masked man returned, but having removed the mask and asked me if I would go out with him sometime. I smartly replied, “If we went on a date, what would we do?” To which he replied, “I’d take you rock climbing and after we would go out for Ethiopian food.” I was sold. Yet I did not not give him my number, taking his and texting him a few days later. Our first date was exactly as he promised. While it took a few months, between my international travel for work and then contracting malaria in Uganda, we knew early on that we were going to spend the rest of our lives together.
how they asked
While moving west, from DC to Hawaii, we decided to stopover in my home state of Alaska for 2 weeks. As it was Vlad’s first time we did a mini “grand tour” going to all the places that were dear to me and meeting family and friends along the way. One place that I hold very dear to my heart is my family’s cabin on the 40 Mile River, which is a branch of the famed Yukon. I spent many summers as a chid there, with my parents as my father was a small time gold miner. We drove 6 hours from the interior of Fairbanks, with the last half being a dirt road. To get to the cabin we had to hike down river. I wonder what was going through Vlad’s mind as he checked his phone and found no network and saw me forging ahead carrying my dad’s old 12 gauge shotgun!
The next day was summer solstice, the longest day of the year. We decided to hike up to the ridge to a place known to my family as “The Park” where the moss is beautiful among the birch and spruce trees and where we have a small rock pit to make fires as we look down over the winding river. My family had spread my dad’s ashes there 13 years prior. As we were hiking up, Vlad handed me a beautiful bunch of wildflowers which I put in my vest pocket.
Once we finally reached the ridge and I was surveying the breathtaking view, with Vlad getting the camera behind me (or so I thought) I was surprised to see him at my side, on bended knee asking me to be his wife. I said “Yes!” and he pulled out the most beautiful ring I had ever seen. He was so nervous he grabbed my right hand, saying “Which one is your left?”. It was priceless. We spent the afternoon, or what I think was the afternoon as we did not have any clocks the entire trip on the river, sitting next to a little fire we build, overlooking the river and hills as we discussed the rest of our life together.