Samantha and Matt

How We Met

Matt and I both grew up in the small town of Woodstock, Vermont. We both attended the same middle school and high school, although Matt was a year younger. Our school was very small, so even though we didn’t run in the same social circles we had many mutual friends. I’m sure somewhere in my senior yearbook I have a “You’re awesome, have a great summer!” from Matt, but that was the extent of our high school romance. Flash forward 11 years, Matt and I both end up in Florida- Matt in south Florida, me three hours north. I had just gotten out of what we’ll just chalk up to be a series of bad decisions, and with the coming of the new year had vowed to give myself the time and self-care to be alone and happy. And I did just that until… enter Matt. A random Facebook message popped up on my phone – “hi sam! are you in Florida? I just bought a house in ft. Lauderdale, if you are around we should grab a drink!” Matt Pickett? Messaging me? And he’s three hours away? I wrote him back quickly with a “sure if you’re in the area hit me up!” And didn’t think a second thought, (actually, that’s a lie, of course, I crept on his Facebook pictures -wow, was he always this good looking? Man, he really likes fish…). Thank goodness the kid was persistent. “You should come down for my housewarming party!”

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Unfortunately, I couldn’t attend the party, but he sent me texts and pictures throughout, making me feel like I was there. The next few days I felt the downside of being stuck in a small town with your ex, and on a serious whim decided to make the three-hour drive south to “grab a drink” with Matt. I only freaked out twice on the drive down (WHAT are you DOING?!? Do I bring an overnight bag? Am I supposed to get my own hotel room? Do I drive three hours home? Are we really JUST catching up!?) but finally pulled into his driveway. I decided to leave the overnight bag in the car, (don’t want to seem presumptuous!), and slowly opened his front door. It was like a scene out if a movie- Matt stood up from his couch, completely backlit by the afternoon sun so just his silhouette was walking toward me, and all I could think was, “Wow! Matt got HOT!” Thank goodness I was much smoother with my words. “Um, you’re a lot taller than I remember.” Smooth. From this first moment of (re)meeting Matt, I knew this was going to be different; this was the one.

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Samantha's Proposal in Hillsboro Inlet, Pompano Beach, Florida

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How They Asked

Matt works as a marine engineer on a drill ship offshore, so he spends a month at home and a month at sea. Usually, crew change days consist of early wake-up times, long flights, lots of naps, and an early bedtime. This past crew change home happened to land on my birthday, so I immediately prepared myself for a low key day. I was just happy to have him home. I picked Matt up at 5 am at the Miami airport. We both crashed when we got home and slept in until 10, when Matt flew awake exclaiming, “I have to go get a haircut!” Dazed, and a little confused, I said, “Ok, give me a second and I’ll come with you, we can get breakfast after.” “No!” Matt said, with almost a little too much emphasis. “I am just going to get a quick cut and I’ll be right back.” And with that, he was gone. Stunned, I was about to start being upset when I remembered, nothing was worth ruining the day, and with that, I shrugged it off.

TWO HOURS later Matt walked in the door, freshly cut and with an air horn in his hand. “We needed this for the boat,” he informed me. Ok, so you’re running errands for the boat instead of spending the morning with me… my inner dialogue was going buck wild. “Ok, that’s weird,” I said. “Let’s go get lunch.” Matt didn’t want to go out for lunch! We ended up going to the grocery store and getting subs to bring home and eat on the couch- not unusual for his first day home, but very lackluster for my birthday! “We’ll go to dinner by boat tonight,” he said, as we sat down to Netflix and turkey subs. Not ideal, considering it was the coldest week we’ve had al year (in Florida!), but I begrudgingly accepted that as my birthday plans. The day came and went very quietly, with no calls from friends or family to say happy birthday, (including the parents!), and finally, we drove over to his brother’s house to the boat. His brother was home, and decided to come with us, (first red flag: Matt’s brother RARELY takes a day off from work or leaves early- why was he coming for an afternoon boat cruise?), and we made our way to the inlet. “Do you want to take a birthday picture in front of your lighthouse?” Matt asked me.

As we made our way to the bow, Matt said, “Your present is in there,” pointing to a hatch. I bent down and opened the lid suspiciously, revealing a long black sleeve. It was a swordfish bill from the biggest swordfish I had helped catch earlier that summer! He had had it painted for me, all black as I requested. “Thank you so much! I love it!” I said. Matt looked at me like I was clueless. I looked again. On the bottom of the swordfish bill were the words, “Samantha Soo, will you marry me?” As I read them I saw Matt bending down on one knee and immediately lost my breath, started crying, and couldn’t stop smiling all at the same time. (I said yes!).

After prying my arms from around his neck, Matt handed me the air horn. “Ok, blow the air horn,” he said. I looked at him confused (once again) and cautiously blew the horn. There was cheering from the pier. I looked over and waved, only to realize we KNEW those people! Matt has secretly planned to have my parents and friends drive the three hours south to help us celebrate. I burst out into (more) tears; how lucky am I that this incredible man knew how much it would mean to me to have these people here? I couldn’t have imagined a more thoughtful, amazing, or romantic proposal, even as a little girl, and I feel so blessed to have found my other half, my best friend, my person.