Sasha and Joe
How We Met
A little over two and a half years ago my sister convinced me to join a couple of dating apps. I had just moved into a new apartment and was living by myself for the first time. I had had a string of toxic relationships and was ready for a fresh start. The only thing was that I was not really into the idea of online dating! It did not seem organic or natural to me but my sister convinced me to make a profile on Tinder and Bumble and keep it for ONE month. “What was the worst that could happen?” she said. I gave in and starting make my swipes but wasn’t all that much into it. I went on a couple of dates but nothing was standing out to me. About a week before I was going to delete the Tinder app, I got a message from Joe with a simple “Sasha!” I replied likewise with “Joe!” What followed was “Ask me any history related question and I promise not to look it up.” This stood out to me because I did note in my profile that I was a history nerd but also a history teacher. I had never been greeted in such a way and I was intrigued! After he got my question right (he still maintains he knew the answer and did not look it up to this day!), we started to chat back and forth. After a few days, we exchanged numbers and began texting. The first time we were supposed to meet up he had to cancel the day of because a train got derailed and it affected his commute home from the city (we both live in NJ). I thought this was his way of letting me down easy. He mentioned he was going to a wedding in Michigan but when he got back he would hit me up again. I made a mental note to keep my expectations low. About a week later, a message popped up on my screen, asking to meet up for drinks. I guess I wasn’t sure about him or that he was being serious but I never ended up responding thinking he would move on (ooops!). A week later he checked in again! At that point something in my gut told me to give him a chance. So we decided to meet half way at this speakeasy-esque bar called the Dillinger Room in New Brunswick, NJ. I was sooo nervous and did not know what to expect. Our first “date” went so well and I knew from the number of drinks we had: three total! I figured if the date wasn’t going well he would have called it a night after the first or second one. Our conversation was filled with topics of history, travel, background and sports interests (I pretended I like football and baseball). After we left the bar, he insisted he walk me back to my parking garage. Once we got my car, I remember being so nervous because I wasn’t sure if he was going to kiss me or not. Well, he went in for it. My heart was beating out of my chest and funny enough months down the road he said he swears he could hear my heart beating so loud that night in the parking garage. I guess we liked each other because we went out on a dinner date the following week. What I loved about our relationship was how easy it was to feel comfortable with each other. We just clicked. We love all things history and so we bonded over that especially all of the American Revolutionary history in our area which led to a lot of cool dates! After about a year of dating, Joe moved down to Sea Bright, NJ (this tidbit matters) for an eight-month winter rental. He always loved the beach and his apartment was pretty much right on the beach. We fell in love in Sea Bright and with Sea Bright. I began spending two-three nights at his apartment and weekends we would explore all the different restaurants, take ways at Sandy Hook beach and dolphin and whale watch on the beach in front of his apartment. It was here that our relationship really flourished and grew into something more serious. As his winter rental came to an end we started throwing around the idea of moving in together. That May we decided to move to Highland Park, NJ which is about three minutes from New Brunswick, where we had our first date. We felt like the universe was on our side! We couldn’t frequent our first date bar because it has since closed but we enjoyed reminiscing about the parking garage kiss and began exploring other parts of New Brunswick. Once we moved in together, it solidified for me that he was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him…
How They Asked
The day before Mother’s day, my sister, Joe and I decided to take my mom to Asbury Park. There was a spring bizarre happening at the convention center and there were other things to do like take pictures at the many murals that line the walls of AP or grab a drink at a local bar. When Joe and I were in the car on the way down, he said he had a surprise for me and that since we were going to have to start saving money for future expenses and had a busy couple of months coming up he wanted to take me out for a romantic dinner. He said we were going to Sea Bright to eat at Anjelica’s, a restaurant where we went on our first anniversary. I was really surprised and even found it a little odd but went along with it and was excited that we were going to spend some one on one time together that evening. Our day in Asbury Park was perfect and the weather was sunny and warm with a slight breeze. However, after lunch, it got very windy and chilly and it appeared like it was going to rain.
Joe told me that our reservations were for 8 pm but he wanted to leave Asbury by 6:50 pm so we could have time to walk around and see the old apartment and take a walk down to our favorite beach spot. Around that time, we were running a bit late and I did notice him getting a little antsy so I thought it was because we were going to be late to the restaurant. I suggested that we just skip the nostalgia tour and go straight to the restaurant but we insisted we go to the beach and walk around. We departed from my sister and mom and headed out. As we were driving, it started to drizzle and I made another comment saying that we should just go to the restaurant if it was pouring by the time we got there. He again insisted that we at least go see the old apartment. During the car ride, we were reminiscing about all the places we ate at in Sea Bright and all of our memories. The drive made me very nostalgic and I was getting excited to be in Sea Bright again!
Once we got there, we parked and headed out to the walk by the apartment and then head to the beach. Once we go to the beach, it felt like we were living there again and all the memories came flooding back. It was so windy and chilly but you could see there was a break in the clouds and you could see the light coming through, evidence that the sun was setting. We were the only ones on the beach with the expectation of a woman taking pictures of the beach with her camera. Joe walked me down to the beach and we were going back and forth sharing memories about our time in Sea Bright. I noticed he was leading me to a very specific part of the beach and then he abruptly stopped. When he stopped he took my two hands into his and began turning me so that I could face him. I thought it was really weird and when I finally looked him into the eyes I knew what was happening and I pretty much lost it. The tears rolled in and I started getting really nervous and saying things like “what are you doing?” and “why are you acting like that?” I think he picked up on my nervousness and got nervous too because he kept trying to calm me down and talk to me.
He was trying to get out his feelings and points that I later found out he has thoroughly prepared for in a three-part speech! I really only remember tidbits of what he was saying to me because I was completely overwhelmed and then I noticed the woman who had been snapping pictures of the ocean was actually our proposal photographer. I remember Joe saying that he couldn’t imagine a more meaningful place than Sea Bright to start the next chapter of our lives and that he couldn’t imagine his life without me and that I was the love of his life. I am pretty sure there was more but that’s was lost to all of the emotions I was feeling. Joe got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.
After I excitedly said yes, he slipped the ring on and we embraced. The ring is a dream and everything I wanted and more! Our photographer Lin was just so amazing and lead out through the rest of the shoot. We got so lucky with the weather because it didn’t start full on raining until we left the beach. We were able to get pictures with the beautiful horizon that had appeared as we were standing there. As we were taking pictures Joe said that were was a change of plans and that we were going to Rum Runner to meet some people. After our shoot, when we go to the Rum Runner, we walked in and 16 of our closest family members gathered around us to congratulate us. That night after we got home, we took a moment and just embraced it all. We cannot wait to start planning our big day and this new chapter of our lives!