Thea and Rico

Image 1 of Thea and Rico

How We Met

Thea and I both attended Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. Our campus of just 1800 students made it easy to spot a familiar face. Although, somehow nearly a whole school year passed by before Thea and I actually crossed paths. During our Winter break from school, I was surprised to find Thea’s Facebook profile through mutual friends. “How have I never seen her around campus?” I said to myself as I went through photo album after photo album of her pictures on Facebook. She had an amazing smile and reminded me of my celebrity crush, “Chilli” from TLC.

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We’d always joke among my fraternity that one of us could potentially find our future wife in college. It was rumored that Hamilton College’s alumni-marriage rate was relatively higher than most liberal arts colleges, but it never crossed my mind that I’d be a part of that statistic, especially since I was just completing my freshman year and Thea was entering her final year as a senior. Little did I know, our frat’s on-campus party in the Spring of 2011, marked the beginning of the rest of my life spent with the women of my dreams, my favorite Hamiltonian. Thea attended our party that night. I recognized her from somewhere but was certain that I’ve never seen her around campus until then. Either way, I knew one thing for sure…she had the most beautiful smile I’ve ever seen.

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We joked about possibly being friends on Facebook without actually meeting face to face… (right swipe for sure). We danced together for about ten songs straight before taking a seat to get to know each other better in conversation. From that day on, we met for lunch around the same time each day, bonded over our interest in Psychology and the movie “Love and Basketball,” and spent late nights in the library passing notes and “doing homework.” I earned the nickname “Chico”. She was “Chilli”. We were inseparable. The school year came to a close and before we knew it, we returned home for summer vacation. Four hours apart, she lived in Boston and I was from New York City. That summer, Thea worked as a camp counselor and every night we would FaceTime after her campers went to bed. Needless to say, we couldn’t wait to return to school in the Fall to be together again.

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Soon after our return from summer break, I asked her to officially be my girlfriend. I still joke about how I wish I had asked a day before, so that we would share Michael Jackson’s birthday as our anniversary. Nonetheless, August 30th 2011 will always mark one of the most important dates in our love story. May 20th 2012 was the next. It was the day we began our long-distance relationship, as she graduated from Hamilton, leaving me with two years left to complete. It never crossed my mind that Thea and I couldn’t make a long-distance relationship work. The distance improved our communication. We laughed harder. We cried harder. We loved harder despite the distance. Most of all, we trusted that our plans to someday live together would come to fruition. “Love Has No Distance,” we’d always say. We traveled to and from Boston and New York City for three years until she moved to New York City. Moving away from her family, friends, and most importantly, the Red Sox, Thea and I made our first home in Harlem, New York.

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how they asked

Rico doesn’t have the best track record when it comes to keeping surprises from me because he gets so excited and just truly wants to make me happy. Knowing this, Rico knew that he had to completely throw me off so I wouldn’t start any investigating. Unbeknownst to me, Rico had contacted my mother and they created a plan to tell me that my family was throwing an All White 50th Birthday Picnic for my aunt. When my mom called me and told me about my “aunt’s party” she even made sure to throw in that it was an all women’s party, and that meant that Rico would be staying at home in New York, while I traveled to Massachusetts to celebrate my aunt. As I was preparing myself to leave for Boston, turns out Rico was doing the same! He convinced me to take the bus to Boston for “safety reasons” (but clearly because he planned to drive my car to Boston to surprise me!). During my bus ride, he periodically checked on me (as he always does) to see how my ride was going.

While I was travelling to Boston, he told me that he was hanging out with his best friend, helping campaigning, who’s father is currently running for county legislator. When I arrived in Boston, my mom picked me up and before I went to bed I called Rico to say goodnight and he told me that he was on his way home for the night. Fast forward to the next day, my mom snuck out of the house at 5am to meet with Rico, his friends, and his immediate family to start setting up what would be the best day of my life! My mom called me around 10 am and told me she went to pick up some things for my aunt’s party and for me to start getting ready. Both my mother and I were dressed in all white, but when we arrived at Castle Island, I realized that we were the only ones wearing all white. I looked at my mother and asked her what was going on and at the same time I noticed a T and an R balloon and two hearts that said I love you. At that moment, I knew what was happening. I followed the short path and was greeted by my family and closest friends.

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I immediately started crying (ugly cry face and all). I saw my soon to be fiancé, who wiped his tears, and walked me to a perfectly set up picnic blanket decorated with teddy bears from our college. He was accompanied by his best friend and Bruno Mars, “That’s What I Like,” started playing and I watched the love of my life perform for me before asking me to marry him. I cried the WHOLE time! He placed the most perfect ring on my finger and my cousin immediately serenaded us. We celebrated with our families and friends for the next few hours. My fiancé even made sure to include a picture of my late father who I know was smiling down on us! It was a perfect day!

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Our Video

Special Thanks

Michael Reyes
 | Choreographer