Triana and Brandon

How We Met: I go to school in Chattanooga, TN, but have been fortunate enough to have made friends with people from all over the country. One of those friends, Hannah, really wanted me to visit Indiana (her home state) with her to volunteer at a youth event her dad was in charge of in Indianapolis. The thought of driving for nearly 8 hours each way for a weekend trip had me skeptical, but if there’s one thing about Hannah it’s that she is relentless once she gets an idea in her head. So, that Friday afternoon I reluctantly got into a crammed car and started my journey. (Little did I know it would be the beginning of a life changing trip!)

When we got to Indiana, we were nonstop busy from pretty much sunrise to sunset. That weekend was loads of fun, but I was constantly moving from one task to the next. The one time I do remember taking a break was when I walked into the gym to pass out snacks to the other volunteers. That was when I saw him – a tall, handsome guy quietly setting up chairs. I decided to offer him a snack, and when he declined I lingered for a while, making light conversation. We really connected, but as is the case with all trips, it was soon time to go and all I got from him was his name: Brandon.

Months passed, I forgot our encounter, and it was soon recruiting season for summer camp workers at my university. As I mentioned before, Hannah was relentless about me going to Indiana. Only this time, she wanted me to work at her parents’ summer camp with her. I had an appointment set up to talk to her parents, but was feeling tired the afternoon it was scheduled and was going to skip it. Hannah, on the other hand, had other plans. She called me ten minutes before my interview was set to start and begged me to show up. After just a few minutes into the interview, I had made up my mind that I was going to work at camp that summer.

So, when June rolled around, I found myself unpacking my things in a cabin at a camp in Indiana, nervous about being in a place where I barely knew anyone. That first night of camp, I remember being extremely homesick, shy, and questioning why I had come. All that, that is, until seeing Brandon walk into staff orientation. For the eight weeks that followed, we sort of just fell into place together. There wasn’t a definitive moment, just a series of small ones. We talked whenever we had the chance, hung out in between activities with the campers, and spent our rest periods getting to know each other. Whenever I walked into the cafeteria, his was the first face I would look for. Nobody made me laugh as easily and as naturally as he did, nobody was as easy to open up to as he was, and nobody made me so sure of a future after having only known him for a few weeks as he did. My soul just knew it was meant to be in his company from there on out.

Image 1 of Triana and Brandon

how they asked: Since Brandon goes to school in Michigan, we usually have to schedule our visits weeks in advance to plan for the ten hour drive. For weeks Brandon had been telling me he was going to spend the weekend of March 27th at a friend’s house out in the country where he gets no service, so I didn’t think much of it when that Friday rolled around and he told me he wouldn’t be able to talk all day.

My car was in the shop for repairs, so my friend Jourdan offered to pick me up from student teaching at the end of the school day on Friday and suggested we get our nails done together to celebrate my recent job offer for the next school year. (I can never pass up getting my nails done!) Earlier during the week, my housemate Arleny and I decided we would go out to dinner that same Friday night to commemorate the final few weeks we had together. When I got home from getting my nails done and Arleny got home from work, she (literally) forced me to take a shower and get dolled up for the night out. At one point, I was so frustrated with having to pick something to wear that I suggested we just stay home and order a pizza. Arleny was peristent though, and much like Hannah, she got through to me.

We went out to eat at a local restaurant in downtown Chattanooga, and on the way home (Arleny was driving) I noticed she had turned on the GPS. Confused, I asked why she had it on when we were literally 5 minutes from our house. She quickly explained that she had to stop at her coworkers house to drop something off. Annoyed and tired, I told her I would just wait in the car. I must have been out of it, because when her car pulled in to Brandon’s best friend’s driveway, I still didn’t think anything was going on. In fact, it took Arleny about 5 minutes to convince me to get out of the car. (Hmmm, I’m seeing a trend where I’m ridiculously stubborn…) It was then that I saw a lit path of notes on the bamboo trees leading up to the lit-up deck and heard Brandon and I’s song playing, and I knew that night was one to go down in the books.