How We Met
My cousin Mike had been begging me and my other cousin Katie to come out to Astoria, OR and visit him for a year and a half. He had enlisted in the Coast Guard a few years ago and was dying to show us around the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, Katie was only 20 at the time, so we had to wait until summer 2015 for her to hit the legal drinking age before setting out on our adventure. If it weren’t for Katie’s youth, we would have visited the summer before. Ironically enough, if we had gone out summer 2014 I would have never met Ben.
Ben had enlisted in the Coast Guard right after high school. As most people know, when someone is in the military, they have to move around to different locations every couple of years. In fall 2014, Ben was given a list of possible locations he could pick to be stationed at next. He ended up getting stationed in the same base as my cousin’s wife, which happened to be his absolute last “pick” as far as locations go. As fate would have it, it ended up being the best thing that could have happened.
In August 2015, Katie and I hopped on a plane to Seattle, WA to meet up with my cousin Mike for a few days before driving down to Astoria, OR. During our drive back to his house, Mike said “Hey Shan, my friend Ben is going to hit on you”. What came across like a warning was actually meant to be a sales pitch. As it turns out, my cousin Mike and his wife Ilene had been talking me up to Ben months before. “You would love Shannon, you guys are so alike”.
Typically, when meeting people for the first time, I tend to “pump the breaks” a bit and feel them out before overwhelming them with my true sense of humor and personality. With the sales pitch gone wrong, I decided to be 100% myself when I met Ben for the first time. During the first few hours of meeting each other, I had dropped some jokes that usually end up putting women in the “hilarious friend” category and not the “romantic interest” category. Rather than being scared off, Ben met me with humor and wit every step of the way. After a group of us got pizza, we hopped around a few different bars in Astoria. I couldn’t even tell you exactly how many people were out with us, because I didn’t pay attention to anyone else but Ben. I would assume that the others with us were talking, playing bar games, and dancing. Meanwhile, Ben and I were having one-on-one conversations the entire night.
At the end of the trip, Ben had causally suggested that we keep in touch. He ended up visiting me in Boston, MA a month later and from there the rest is history. Due to the military, we had to do long distance for the first year of our relationship. Luckily, we were able to see each other at least once a month (for the most part) and then had to rely on skype/texting/calling to keep the spark going. Ben then became a veteran, got out of the Coast Guard, and we did a cross country trip back to Boston in August 2016. We have since lived together in our “terrifying from the outside, but beautiful in the inside” apartment in the city.
how they asked
Ben had been working with a jeweler all fall to design my dream ring. 6 weeks prior to asking me to marry him, Ben had driven down to my parents’ house to ask them for permission. During that trip, Ben had asked my Dad to create a ring box made of birch tree (which is my favorite tree). Ben and my Mom had driven all around Massachusetts trying to find the perfect Christmas tree farm for him to propose at. On November 25th, we drove out to Mistletoe Christmas Tree Farm in Stow, MA. At the farm there is this cute, little, red side barn with a sleigh inside, Christmas tree lights are everywhere, and it is stuffed with Christmas trees. While checking out some potential trees for our apartment, Ben got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. It was the easiest question I have ever answered (YES!!). My parents and siblings aren’t as skilled with a camera, so the moment wasn’t perfectly timed nor was it captured on video. No worries though; we were able to snap a few pictures after the fact at different spots around the farm. Ben and I proceeded to buy our “engagement tree” and then went back to my parents’ house to celebrate with the family and champagne.