Vika and Slav

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How We Met

From her point of view: Slav and I met when I had a summer internship in 2014 for a State Senator at the California State Capital in Sacramento. One of my first Sunday nights there, I went with my best friend to a young adults bonfire at her church. Being the social butterfly that she is, she left me standing there which forced me to talk to new people. It’s okay because Slav was then one of the ones who came to introduce himself to me that evening. That same night I came home and told my roommate, “Today I met a guy with the most charming smile ever.” We went on to just say hi whenever we’d see each other that summer. I then left back to UC Berkeley for my Fall semester. We saw each other again at his church’s New Year’s Party in 2015. We started texting but I was leaving to study abroad in Jerusalem in 20 days. Slav came to the airport to see me off with a leather notebook and a box of chocolates. (What a brave guy!) He even sent me flowers to Jerusalem twice while I was there that semester! I traveled the Middle East and Europe until August of that year, but I couldn’t get him off my mind. I knew that I had found someone very special. We began dating when I returned back to California.

From his point of view: The beginning of our wonderful story unfolded on a warm summer evening in 2014 when Vika came along with a mutual friend of ours to visit my church’s young adults service. This time the service took place under the open sky around a warm camp fire as dusk began to settle in. After the service, people mingled around as they associated together and at one point in the evening I recall joining a group of people in a conversation where I met her for the first time. I remember her as being an attractive, young, blonde girl wearing yellow pants and oxfords. I could tell right away that she was a friendly and social person. It turned out that she was from the East Bay Area and temporarily moved to Sacramento to intern at the state capitol for 6 weeks or so. Over that short period, she visited my church on weekends and even invited me and my friends to her dormitory where she lived. Then, at the end of her internship, she returned home and that was the end of it. Luckily though, by the time when she moved back home some developers had created a social network that facilitated a spark of interest after a little while of silence between us. This platform was called Instagram. I remember scrolling through my feed and seeing her picture where she was dressed in a white dress posing next to a Christmas tree and wishing her friends a Merry Christmas. I should admit that I was taken aback by her appearance then that not only did I like the photo, but went as far as commenting on it.

Mind you, I don’t normally just comment on girls’ posts… Time went on and the next time I saw her was at our church wide New Year’s party. She was again invited by the same friend to whom I am forever grateful. Now, I wasn’t initially planning on attending this party, but my brother and I were invited to participate in the music program for that evening, which we agreed to. So somehow it happened that we ended up being under one roof that night. We began talking from then on. A few weeks into 2015, she left to study abroad in Israel and over the course of time we kept in touch. When she returned in the summer, I went to “welcome” her back home from her six-month absence. We went out into the city (SF) and had lunch together (this had to be our first unofficial date). We continued to stay in touch and later that year, we went to see a Christmas musical together after which I asked her if we could be more than friends… A little over a year has passed since then when in Emerald Bay, Tahoe she gave me another resounding, “Yes!”

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how they asked

From her point of view: Every January, for the past 15 or so years, I have attended a winter camp from my church in Lake Tahoe and became one of the main organizers of it about four years ago so it had a special place in my heart. For this year’s retreat, I really wanted Slav to come with us. He ended up coming with his brother and sister. Although we all got to the retreat Friday night, he said he is going to come Saturday morning instead (More on that later). So Saturday goes by great. Lots of snow in Tahoe. We were in and out of workshops all day. Then Sunday comes along. On Friday I was telling my friends (Slav wasn’t even there) that I really wanted to check out Emerald Bay during our free-time Sunday afternoon. I have never been there but kept seeing many of my friends post pictures of it. So Sunday afternoon comes along and I rally two cars of my friends to go to this pretty viewpoint.

Our friend brought his professional camera because what else do you do at viewpoints besides take pictures?! When we got there, the view was spectacular. So we all found a good angle of the lake and began taking pictures. First Slav and I took pictures, then we took some with our friends and with siblings. After a set of pictures, we all decided to go down the snowy trail further into the forest and just had a great time playing in the snow and making snow angels for about an hour. We then eventually began to head back to the cars. We were about to pass the viewpoint where we initially took pictures and Slav tells me, “Hey let’s go take a few more pictures over there because I don’t really like how the first ones turned out, and plus there’s less people there now.” Growing up as a daughter of a photographer and loving to take pictures, all I thought to myself was “Wow! Someone who likes to take pictures even more then me! Sure, let’s go. At least I’ll have more to choose from later.” After 2-4 more pictures, I hear “Well I wanted to ask you..” as he gets down on one knee and asks, “Will you marry me?”

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Nobody has ever played a better surprise on me than this! (I usually find everything out beforehand hah.) It was so surreal that I just stared at him for five seconds before I started shouting, “Yes, yes, yes!!” My friends and his siblings were all there to cheer for us as well. I then got back to the campsite that evening to even more friends and people close to me. It was perfect. And so I came to find out that the reason he didn’t come to camp Friday night was because he drove from Sacramento to Bay Area that evening to visit my parents and ask for my dad’s blessing. It also turns out that he had originally planned Emerald Bay as the proposal location many weeks in advance without me even knowing! Now here’s to a lifetime of adventure :)

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Special Thanks

Slav Romanov
 | Photographer