My hubby-to-be, Matt, moved to my tiny Arizona town when we were both in fourth grade. Although I won’t say that sparks went flying when we were nine, I will say that I found a very close, lifelong friend. For the next five years we walked to school together, played flag football, and shared awkward moments at middle school dances. When we hit high school we had different sets of friends but still saw a lot of each other in physics club and in classes. Not to mention our moms were (and still are) friends, so that caused a lot of encounters. Even though we both had mad crushes on each other for years, the timing was never right for us to date and high school passed without official romance. Matt left for college at Arizona State University and I headed to Western Oregon University. We talked occasionally but drifted apart as we led our own lives. One Thanksgiving I came home for the holiday. I ran into Matt and Holy. Wow. He grew up quite nicely! We kept in touch after that until I finally took a chance and moved back to the big A-Z. He then took a chance and asked me out.
Our dating years have been fantastic! We started with the typical dinners and movies as we got to know each other for a second time. On our first date we had a bite to eat and didn’t want to say goodbye. Instead we went for a night walk around a lake in a beautiful local park. It was one of the most romantic nights of my life. This has been our “spot” ever since. It was included in the epic proposal scavenger hunt Matt created for me and was the location for our Save the Date pictures.
After these early months we got into what we really love: travel and outdoor adventures. There’s nothing like going on a weeklong camping road trip to test the durability of a relationship. Remarkably, we are perfectly suited travel companions! So far we have been to many national parks, California, Oregon, New Orleans, St. Louis, Jamaica, Mexico, Grand Cayman, and countless amazing places closer to home. We are looking forward to a lifetime of exploration together.
We moved in together after a year of dating and figured out we make good roommates too. There has been a lot of talk about marriage over the last couple of years, but we both wanted to finish our graduate degrees and start our careers before tying the knot. Mission: accomplished! Matt proposed several months after we met our personal goals. I am so glad we decided to take that approach. I feel like we are living each stage of our lives to the fullest by not rushing. We are now fully prepared for life’s next great adventure: marriage!
Eighteen years of friendship, four years of dating, a house, a dog, and a cat later we’re getting married! I am so lucky to be marrying my best friend, my favorite travel buddy, and a genuinely decent man.