December 31 2010 was an oddly warm day. Matt broke out the grill he had just received for Christmas and lawn chairs for a mid-afternoon grilling session. I was busy taking a nap until the food was ready. Little did I know what all had happened during that nap, or the week before.
Despite all odds, Matt had worked with KFB Jewelers to design my ring (See the full gallery on their Facebook Fan Page). He didn’t think he’d have a way to pay for it that day, but with some unexpected blessings, everything worked out. He picked the ring up early New Year’s Eve morning, and had it in his coat pocket all day.
We went to a Rock Band New Year’s Eve party. Just a few moments before midnight he asked me to go into the living room by the fire. I had an idea that something was happening before we even left the party in the basement, but was fairly sure he didn’t yet have the ring. To my surprise, he not only had a ring, but had designed it.
Several months before this big event, Matt had me look through engagement rings on a few franchise retail sites. I narrowed it down to the idea that I’d like our friend Kendal’s handiwork on something that was yellow gold, a round diamond, and sat in a 4 prong setting. I loved the idea of a 3-fold cord as well. Matt had all that in mind when he went to see Kendal.
In the past 5 years, I’ve been in a very tumultuous life transition, and Matt knew that I wanted a fresh start in many ways. Matt’s words to me were “As a season ends, a new year begins. Will you marry me?” at the stroke of midnight. I was speechless, which seldom happens. We lingered by the fire for a bit in tears, and made our way back to the crowd of friends downstairs. A few knew it was about to happen, but we opted to not make a huge scene of the event.
It took all I could do to track down my little sister and share the news with her before I posted about this on Facebook, as she’d already flown back to Santiago, Chile.
Though Matt has lived in many different places throughout his lifetime, there were a lot of things he hadn’t done. Just after Labor Day in 2010, we packed up for a few days at the beach. I’ve grown up spending a week in southern New Jersey nearly every summer, so we headed there.
The funny thing is, when we got to our hotel room and dropped our luggage, we wanted to take a walk to the beach for his first view of the ocean. However, we quickly learned we were stuck together. The door was locked from the outside and we had no way to leave the room! After calling the front desk, we were able to remedy the situation by getting an upgraded room. Bonus!
It wasn’t long until we took a second trip back to the same beach area to spend some great time with friends at a huge beach house.
Next on the adventures was a hike at Rickett’s Glen, near my alma mater – Bloomsburg University. Seeing the look on Matt’s face watching the water falls was pretty spectacular. This time around, the trails were marked and I was much more eager to grab his hand. I don’t do well with tight spaces that happen to be covered in water.
We left the hike and spent the next day visiting friends in Bloomsburg. Matt even hopped on a horse while there.
We also went hiking at Cowans Gap that fall for the first time. While there, I told Matt that the hill for the water retaining wall reminded me of the scene in the Princess Bride where Buttercup pushes Westly down the mountain to realize it is her true love. I resisted the urge to see what would happen if I sent Matt rolling down as well.
It was a very busy summer and autumn. Matt learned from the start that I like to be on the go, love the outdoors, and am usually near a camera. It was such fun to also see Matt experiencing many new things for the first time and to share my childhood memories of many places with him. The later autumn months were quieter than the the adventures from the beginning, but a few big surprises were just ahead.
During the middle of winter 3 years ago we met at a mutual friend’s house. Our mutual friends had an obsession of sorts with Rock Band. Matt arrived later in the evening, and initially didn’t introduce himself. After crossing paths a few times, he grew more silly and soon offered his phone number. See our crazy friends in action:
In order to get to know him better, I asked him to take us to High Rock for a chance to talk about life. We spend a few hours pondering all sorts of things and played a game fo 20 questions. Mostly, we figured out that we’d never make a good couple and headed home. On the way down the mountain, Matt’s breaks started to act unusual so we detoured to Sheetz afterward and lingered over some snacks.
Later that night, we went to Buffalo Wild Wings. While I rode with a friend to and from the restaurant, Matt had an odd look on his face. He seemed to follow me out the door as we left to head home again. I still was a bit clueless at this point, but began to get some idea that though we had a long list of differences, there might be hope for us yet.
Just a few weeks later, Matt and I went hiking at tumbling run.
It was very awkward. In his mind, I was being stubbornly independent because I wouldn’t let him help me more. In my mind, I would ask for help when I actually needed it, but was unsure how to let the man that had never gone hiking lead me up the mountain I’d hiked countless times before. It was an adventure, and once we’d reached the summit we both relaxed more. However, we had to make a quick get-away due to the rain moving in.
It wasn’t long until we were spending considerably more time going to the movies or hanging out, but it took a few weeks for us to see that we were becoming fast friends.