Taylor and Travis

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How We Met

¡Muchos peces en el mar! There are many fish in the sea… a little slice of Spanish advice I received from a high school teacher that blossomed into me falling in love (and getting engaged to) my favorite fish of all! It began when Travis and I met for the first time during our freshman Spanish class during high school in Jacksonville, Florida. Travis caught my eye from day one—something most people (guys) don’t do; he brought a sense of life to our classroom, played varsity football as a freshman, and was academically at the top of our class… he made me want to be around him. We remained friends from a distance until junior year when, as fate would have it, we refreshed our friendship in Spanish class yet again!

One Spring afternoon, Travis casually slid his desk next to mine and asked if we could “share my book,” a question I’ve always thought was funny considering he: 1. never, ever, used a book in class, 2. never “shared” anyone else’s book, and 3. excelled at Spanish… with or without a book!

I obviously said yes, not thinking twice about my current relationship or the sequence of events that could follow my willingness to accept his invitation to “share.” After a few days of “forgetting his book,” Travis decided his new permanent seat in the class was the one next to mine, and I couldn’t be more excited to have him next to me! In these days of getting to know each other, he revealed that my eyes literally caught his back during freshman year, because to this day he swears there was a gold twinkle in my eye when we met for the first time. I guess you could say people began to notice our chemistry, and even our teacher, Mrs. Rodriguez, commented that we were “cocinando” (cooking!)

Despite what everyone wanted to believe at the time, our friendship was just that— a completely innocent friendship, due to me already being in a relationship. But as this friendship with Trav developed, so did my confusion… until once again, Mrs. Rodriguez added her input and boldly told me (and the rest of the class) that there were “¡Muchos peces en el mar!” And as you can probably guess, I finally decided to listen to all of this bilingual advice and surprised Travis at his baseball game the same day I decided to cut all previous strings. And so our sweet love story began…

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From cheering Trav on from the sidelines at his football games, to attending multiple proms and homecomings together, our admiration and wonder for each other blossomed further and so we decided to both stay local for college. We attended separate universities in Jax, but spent a lot of time together in the early years… I may or may not have been considered a fifth roommate if you asked his dorm-mates back in the day. Life progressed and we had our ups and downs; Travis took on the role of President of his newly-colonized fraternity and played football, and I became more involved in sorority life and working full time. Aside from the stress of school and our social lives (and Travis writing all of my papers,) our hearts always pulled us back together even when our minds said otherwise. Our graduations came and went, and so Trav’s acceptance into grad school down south prompted us to say goodbye to our home town and hello to South Tampa!

Moving to Tampa was a huge step in our relationship, and probably the step I am most thankful for. It was just me, him, and a big new city… a city that afforded us the opportunity to be closer to one another like we never had before. For the first time, we got a taste of what our future lives together would be like and we couldn’t get enough! Marriage and babies were always something we dreamed of sharing together… even five years prior, so not soon after moving in (and loving every minute of it) I started to wonder when and if he had intentions of popping the big question…

how they asked

Let me preface this with Travis is probably the worst secret keeper ever, and that’s perfectly okay with me… because I’m a self proclaimed control freak, therefore secrets and surprises surrounding me aren’t really Trav’s forte. Not soon after our move to Tampa, he mentioned wanting to plan a vacation for Christmas of 2016, a vacation “just for us.” I love traveling so I was on board immediately, but was curious as to why he dreamt up this idea out of no where; Travis isn’t really the travelin’ kind. He claimed he wanted to get away prior to starting medical school in the fall and I completely get that—so I happily started planning! He gave me free reign on anywhere I wanted to go, so naturally I decided we needed to explore somewhere more tropical and leave behind the “terrible” winter we have here in Florida. Puerto Rico it was! (Funny how our story has a Spanish theme, right?!) So we booked our flights, hotel room, and every excursion my little heart desired… and then it was a waiting game.

During the weeks leading up to our trip, I started to notice my closest girlfriends either not wanting to talk or just acting weird when we did hang out. On top of that, Travis’ stress level was on a whole new level… which he claimed was “because of work.” I had a hunch something was in the works but tried to play it cool and not think too hard about it. The day finally arrived and we started off on a mini road trip to fly out of a small Orlando airport. Before we know it, we’re holding up the security line because Trav’s entire body lit up on the screen—probably due to the overabundance of metal in his body from all of his surgeries during football; but come to find out… (I later learned this) he was freaking out because the ring was buried in his carry on, and he already let security know not to search the bags with me watching!

A short plane ride later, we’re in Puerto Rico and are so excited for a week together with no distractions! We had breakfast on the beach each morning, spent a day exploring small islands via catamaran, and even rode horses along the beach and in the rainforest… it was perfect and exactly what I’d dreamed of. As the trip came to an end, I started to think that all those quirks I’d been noticing weren’t adding up and this trip wasn’t the trip I hoped for… but figured it was okay because we were having so much fun together either way. Day four arrived and we spent the morning exploring Viejo San Juan, the quaintest and most beautiful little area of the capital. Travis knew I wanted to have dinner one last time at a restaurant I’d fallen in love with on night one of the vacay (Oceano’s,) so he made reservations and we headed home to get ready! Just a short time later, we were ready for our last dinner in Condado and Trav suggested we walk on the beach since the restaurant was just a couple blocks from our hotel. I may or may not tried to bargain that we take a cab instead… only because I spent so long getting ready and there were hurricane level winds on the beach. Of course I gave in, and thank goodness I did because it was right before sunset… so the waves, the sky, everything, was like a scene out of a movie.

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Before I knew it, my very best friend in the entire world was on one knee… and I was hysterical. I wish I could reiterate word for word all the sweet things Travis told me in that moment, but I’m pretty sure I blacked out— even more so after I saw my perfect ring.

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Between all the sniffles and tears rolling down my face, I was fixated on Trav telling me that “I drive him absolutely crazy, but he wanted to be crazy every day of his life.” A crowd of people surrounded us in stitches and cheers, while a hidden photographer captured the moments during and after the proposal. Needless to say, I think all was right in the world in this moment… after six & a half years of dreaming about what could be, I said yes to my first and only love (and favorite fish!)

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Special Thanks

Rafael Sotomayor
 | Photographer