Victoria and Don

Image 1 of Victoria and Don

How We Met

Don and I have known one another for over 10 years. He grew up around the corner from me. For most of my young adult life, I had not thought much of Don. He was my best friend’s brother, someone I got along with and someone with who I would always share a laugh with but never in a million years did I think I’d marry him. He and I would chat here and there, catch up on work as we are both school psychologists, and I’d see him whenever I’d see my best friend. During the 2020 peak pandemic, I reached out to Don to go for a walk in my neighborhood, I was stir crazy and I figured he might be too. After our walk, we ended up carpooling to see one another a few weeks after to both jointly visit his sister (my best friend). While in the car, I noticed how easy our conversation was. I remember thinking during the car ride “how is it so easy to connect with him but not to the boy I’m currently talking to now”. Over the course of the summer of 2020, Don and my paths crossed much more frequently than normal. He’d spend time with our friend group and we always ended up speaking. Around the middle of that summer, he asked me to go to the beach with him alone for drinks. I remember panicking! How could I go on a date with my best friend’s brother?! The whole time I thought of anything and everything to make it clear I was not interested in being anything more than friends (helping him set up bumble and pep talking him with dating). We had a wonderful time that night and shortly after began talking on the phone for hours frequently, texting often and spending some time together here and there. Don wanted more than I did at that time and I did anything I could to avoid dating. After all, I could never date my best friend’s brother. I was the Maid of honor at her wedding and if I did not work out, how awkward would that be?! Nonetheless, Don persisted. He reached out after summer ended and I returned back to the city but I pushed him away. We saw one another a few times that year, for his 30th birthday and NYE. Don would continue to try to swoon me but my stubborn self did not allow it! I mean this girl had a Ph.D. to complete and MOH duties to attend to. Fast forward to June 2021, I had just graduated from my Ph.D. program (#boss) and Don texted me that he had a gift to give me. He gave me a thoughtful gift and after that my gears started turning a bit. A week later he and I saw one another at the wedding. We flirted a lot of the night and I kept getting this overwhelming feeling of wanting to go over to talk to him. Meanwhile, both our mothers were praying we would get together LOL. The next day, Don left for Arizona and texted me that morning, and from that day on we texted here and there about his trip. When he got home, he called me and we spoke for 7 hours straight. Every night after, we spoke for hours about anything and everything, nothing at all was off the table. Don and I were so connected yet I still was hesitant. My worry about it not working was still in the way of us taking that next step. Finally, my stubborn self asked him ( I KNOW) to go for a walk in late July and we ended up going to dinner that night. A few days later we had our first kiss and it was all over after that. We spent our first weeks as official boyfriend and girlfriend in NYC and made the most beautiful memories and laughs while there. I never had it easy with dating and to think that the love of my life was always right around the corner but that I was too blind to see it still blows my mind. Thank God Don was so persistent from A so we could finally get to Z.

How They Asked

While away on a trip to Italy with Don and his parents, we decided to spend a day alone on the Island of Capri just the two of us. Don booked the hotel for us but I had to book the restaurant because he is notorious for his lack of planning. As we got back to the hotel that night, Don asked me “Do you want the good news or the bad news first?” and I responded by asking for the good news. He told me we would be staying over an additional night in Capri but that the bad news was that we would have to wake up early for a 7 am lemon farm tour. I know, horrible news to wake up in Capri early right? I was so excited to stay an extra night there and enjoy another day exploring. When we woke up in the morning, Don told me that we, unfortunately, had to change hotels due to his last-minute booking. He explained the reason we were staying another night was that the restaurant he wanted to go to was booked the first night and only had reservations available for tonight. When he tried to add an extra night at the first hotel, it was all booked and he had to find a room at a different hotel nearby ( I believed that story at the time- again not a planner). After our delicious breakfast, we walked over to the most STUNNING hotel I have ever stayed at. The front desk greeted us by name the second we stepped foot in it, it smelt like heaven and the views of the cliffs and water of Capri were unmatched. I was stunned by Don. Why were we staying in such an amazing place?! Our room was not ready yet and so we decided to venture out to the beach at Marina Piccolo. While there, Don was so worried about us leaving his backpack. He dragged it with us down by the water and would not let it out of his eyesight. He kept saying that he was worried about our passports. After sweating our body weight, we returned to the hotel where there was a beautiful bouquet of flowers, a handwritten note from the hotel and a balcony with a view like you would see in a movie. Don and I spent the remainder of the day enjoying the hotel pool, talking about how lucky we were to have one another, to be in Italy, and how excited we were for our life and adventures together. I was so excited about dinner too. We were going to be eating food from the hotel garden. I remember texting my best friend saying I was shocked at how well Don planned the whole day for us. When we got up to our room, we started to get ready to go to dinner. Don luckily packed us extra clothes and knew that I wanted us to both wear all white one night. I wanted to get ready a little earlier to take pictures. Right before taking photos, Don asked if his phone looked weird in his back pocket and I said no. Without me knowing, he put the ring in his back pocket at that time. While taking photos I started to get a little in my head (the psychologist in me started needing more information). When we got ready to leave to go to dinner, Don had a backpack in his hand. I told him we should not bring a backpack to dinner. Don was insisting we bring it for the tripod and I was confused due to the fact that we just took photos on the balcony and so I blurted out “the only reason you should bring a tripod is if you’re proposing”.

Image 2 of Victoria and Don

Don said he was not but that we were having a private dinner that he wanted to take a photo at. admittedly felt disappointed because why on earth would we have the most perfect day, IN ITALY and all white and him not propose?! When we went to dinner, I felt disappointed that there was not a “Marry Me” sign as I still had some hope. After looking at the menu, Don asked if we could quickly get a picture at the table. He set up the mini tripod and clicked a few times for some photos ( worst angle ever I thought). Then he said he had written a poem. He read it off to me:

Every starry night
Spent on a weekend
We did it just right
Cooking, laughing, & playing pretend
We started so quick
Woke to a City sunrise
Now taking a trip
An Italian surprise
With two psychologists together
An abundance of communication
I will love you forever
Wait, what’s your justification
You’re my friend of a lifetime
And I’m not surprised
A true partner in crime
All wild and organized
There is no place I’d rather be
Here with you from A to Z
Victoria Marilyn Broems, will you marry me?

Image 3 of Victoria and Don

At that moment, I froze. I was in shock. After a flood of questions “How did you get that” “How did you fit this in your pocket” “Did you ask my dad?!”I finally said YES! In the most beautiful private dinner overlooking Capri, my fiance pulled off the surprise of a lifetime. And without me knowing, he caught it all on video. That tripod angle didn’t seem so horrible after all because now we get to relive the most beautiful moment of our lives anytime. Oh and that backpack he was so worried about, that’s where my dream ring was hiding!

Image 4 of Victoria and Don

Image 5 of Victoria and Don