Monday, June 25, 2012

It's a Miracle: The Engagement Story

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- I already knew the weekend of June 9 was going to be a great weekend.  Isaac was coming to D.C. for a visit. But this time, he was going to be here for a whopping FOUR days.  Our visits usually only lasted for 2 or 3 days max, so this put me over the moon. It's rough being working adults... 

Isaac arrived to D.C. Saturday morning on the red eye. That night we had plans to eat at the restaurant where we had our first date. Not for any sentimental reason, in my mind, but simply because I had a Groupon for it. So, that evening we headed that way. I took a few wrong turns en route, and it made Isaac uncomfortable, for reasons I would discover later. He acted so strange and squirmy in the passenger seat, and I'd never seen him act that way before. I thought my driving was making him nervous. He kept saying, "Let's just go somewhere else."  And I would snap back with, "No way, I have a GROUPON!"   

After dinner, Isaac declared he was taking the reigns and making the plans, which is normally my job when he comes to D.C.  He said he thought we should go to Gravelly Point -- one of my favorite parks in D.C., where you can watch the airplanes land at Reagan National Airport. I'd been there with him before several times, including on one of our first dates.  So, we headed that way, and as we turned into the park, we noticed it was incredibly crowded. People were everywhere. This is typical for a nice evening in D.C., but Isaac had never seen it this crowded before and his eyes got really big.

I was first tipped off as to what was happening as we got out of the car. Isaac, who had a nasty cold all week, informed me he was bringing his backpack with us. You know, just in case he needed a kleenex or a water bottle. I told him I could put it in my purse, but that was unacceptable.  So, off we went, with Isaac's backpack in tow.  

We made our way up the path, away from the crowd, to a pretty, isolated bank of grass right along the Potomac River, overlooking all the monuments, with the sun setting perfectly behind us. Isaac had timed it just right. And thousands of fireflies were dancing in the grass all around us. These creatures don't exist on the West Coast, and Isaac described it as looking like a Disney movie. 

So, here we were, enjoying our Disney movie setting. And soon he started saying really nice, sweet things to me. At that point I was completely aware of what was about to happen, though I didn't think it was possible that he had already gotten a ring. But soon, he declared that he had a present for me. He reached into his backpack, and pulled out a pretty little box. I believe I yelped, "How did you get that already?!"  And he opened the box, revealing the prettiest rose gold diamond ring I had ever seen. I immediately shouted, "YES!" And pulled him off the ground. 

And that's how it happened. 

At Gravelly Point, soon after Isaac proposed

So, while some may say it's a miracle both Isaac and I are finally getting married, I'd have to say that I never doubted it would happen whenever it was supposed to happen, though frustrating moments certainly took their course. It's more a miracle that the stars aligned for us this way. As I stated here, it's a miracle in the sense that two people end up liking each other at the exact same time. And it's a miracle that two people can actually make it work. And it's certainly a miracle that we crossed paths again, living on opposite ends of the country, after we had known each other for so long.  

Isaac is such an incredible, loving, worthy, honorable, hard working, sweet, respectable guy. There may have been a time or two that I didn't think it was possible such a single man still existed. But it's as if I had been praying (and maybe I was) for God to send me the best single guy he could find me. And He did. He's a good one. ;) I'm so excited to marry him. 
The day after we got engaged and shared the news
We'll be tying the knot on October 20 in Draper, Utah. We'd love to see you there.
A rainy day in D.C. a few days after we got engaged

Friday, June 15, 2012

It's a Miracle

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- They say you meet someone when you least expect it. I always thought that was the dumbest line. But I must admit, that's exactly how it happened. The truth though is that I've known Isaac for about a decade. Sometimes funny things happen that you'd never predict. Ever. Here's the full story... and I do mean full story:

I met Isaac back at BYU. I dated his best friend, Nic. I don't actually remember at what point I met Isaac, but it was likely circa 2002. Isaac doesn't remember much about it either, but he does remember interacting with my twin sister, Brittany, more than he remembers me. Ironically, Brittany dated his other best friend. (Don't worry... both BFF's will be at our wedding. It'll be a fun little reunion.)

Over the years, Isaac would randomly send me messages on Facebook-- first, to say hello and to ask when he would see me using my reporting skills on the Today Show. I had just moved from Washington state to report at a news station in Florida, and he had just moved to Washington state for his first year of residency after med school. His most recent message came last summer to tell me he'd be in D.C. that fall from Seattle for an entire month for a radiology conference, and could I please show him around and introduce him to my cool friends? I told him I'd be happy to show him around, and thought nothing more of it until he arrived to our nation's capital a few months later.

A few weeks prior to his arrival, I had just returned from visiting my brother in Sweden, where I must admit I had hung out with some pretty good looking Swedish men. It was then that I had an epiphany that my dating woes might be solved if I simply branched beyond my comfortable two-mile radius dating zone. Afterall, the men in Sweden were incredibly handsome and tall, which was one of my top dating requirements. So I figured I just needed to find a European to date. I was so excited about the idea of branching out, that I recruited an old roommate to look into European YSA conferences with me.  We were pumped to make this happen.

Instead, this happened: Isaac messaged me telling me he was in town. I remember thinking, "Oh yeah, I forgot he was coming..." I invited him to a church activity the next night for half-price burgers. I had been assigned to go to these activities every Monday night, otherwise this never would have happened.
At half-price burger night
It was fun to see Isaac and catch up that night. At the end of the evening, I dropped him off at the metro and promised I'd keep him posted on all things social. The next night, he called and asked me out. I assumed he just wanted some entertainment, and I was the only person he knew in town, so I gladly obliged. We ended up going to a restaurant in Georgetown called Taj of India later that week, followed by a driving tour of the monuments all lit up at night. It was fun getting to know him one on one. I found it kind of refreshing. I had known him all these years, but didn't really know him.

The next week, he asked me out again. This time, his brother was in town, and they wanted to go on a double date. So, I recruited a fun friend, and we explored the monuments. Again, I figured the out-of-towners just needed something to do. Later that weekend I ran into him and his brother at a lunch gathering in between Sunday General Conference sessions, so I invited them over to my house to watch the afternoon session.
On our double date at the Lincoln
It was during that session that my blinders came off. Call me naive, call me what you will, but it just never crossed my mind that he was ever interested in me. I certainly didn't think of him that way. I had dated his best friend, so the idea just struck me as plain weird. It finally hit me that he was interested when he tried putting the moves on me while we were watching General Conference. Back scratches, attempted hand holding... Quite frankly, I couldn't believe he had the nerve to be so bold with other people around, and right in the middle of conference nonetheless. I remember flashing my roommate a glance, like... Can you believe this guy?

But, despite my disgust at his PDA, the dates continued. This time I was well aware that he wasn't just looking for a buddy. But my mind wouldn't switch over so easily. I simply had never thought about dating him before, and it seemed so strange to even consider it. And furthermore, he did not meet my height requirements of at least 6 feet (for the record, he is still much taller than me). So there was really no point in even thinking about it. But, I figured he'd only be around temporarily, so I might as well keep going and having fun. Every time we went out, I had my mind made up that by the end of the night I needed to tell him that we could not date. I was not interested. But by the end of every date, I always had so much fun that I couldn't bring it up... Until one night when I dropped him off at the metro and told him something like... "This is kinda weirding me out... and by the way, I'm super busy all weekend." This piece of news was delivered heading into his last weekend in D.C., before he'd be heading back to Seattle for good. But as Friday night rolled around, I felt pretty guilty for how things ended. So, a friend convinced me to send him a text that night to see what he was up to. He bit and we ended up going to the Iwo Jima Memorial. I later found out, that had I not sent him a text, he had no intentions of ever contacting me again. And it was on this night that I finally came to grips that it was okay if he put his arm around me. And it was okay if he liked me. And it was okay if anything were to happen before he left. Even if I still thought it was weird. And it was okay, even if there was no point, because he was leaving. Because he lived really far away. Like as far away as Europe.

That night, he kissed me. And it was kind of nice. And I realized even though the thought of dating him was still a little weird to me, he was a really good guy. Like the best I'd gone out with in a long time. And even though he may not meet my height requirements, he was still better than all the tall guys I'd gone out with. But even still, I wasn't entirely sold on the idea of dating him. Nonetheless, I promised, even though the rest of my weekend was really busy, that I'd take him to the airport on Sunday morning.

Little did I know that he asked me to pick him up several hours early, just so he could spend time with me before he left. And I'm glad he did. Because it was right there in the cell-phone waiting area at the airport that something miraculous instantly hit me -- I'm talking hit me hard. It was like this light switch suddenly got flipped on in that stupid, stubborn, uptight head of mine. I will never forget that moment. Because suddenly, just like that, it was like I was looking at him with different eyes, a different mind-set, and I was immediately overwhelmed with emotion that he was leaving. I was so bummed that he had to get out of my car and fly to Seattle. He promised to keep in touch. And off he went. That night, on the other side of the country, we decided to Skype. And it was during our first Skype conversation that I was once again struck hard by something miraculous. I looked at him through my computer screen, and this nerdy, techy girl knew something was different about this guy. I felt it. I'd never experienced anything quite like it before. So, I guess God has His ways of letting us know when something good is staring right in front of our faces. Even through a computer screen.

In D.C. at a friend's fancy party
This leads me to a conversation Isaac and I had early in our relationship. We talked about the miracles of dating. How every relationship is such a miracle. It is such a miracle that two people end up liking each other at the exact same time. That a girl keeps saying yes when a guy asks her out. It is a miracle that two different people can somehow make it work. It is a miracle that two people can fall in love. And it is certainly a miracle when two people make it work and get married. So much goes into a relationship and so much must align, that I strongly believe, in the uncheesiest sense possible, that it is nothing short of a miracle when it works out in the end.

So, for the last 9 months, Isaac and I have been flying from coast to coast. Every two or three weeks, he'll come here or I'll go there. Somehow, we've miraculously made it work on opposite ends of the country. I'm not sure why it had to be that I finally found a man this way. But, for whatever reason, I had to look beyond my usual means...outside my little two-mile radius... that happens to be filled with some pretty good guys, by the way. But when it comes down to it, I'd rather fly across the country to be with Isaac than to make it work with any guy next door. And I guess that's the miracle of it all. 

So, in the end, I didn't get my European man. But, when you do the math... flying to Seattle comes pretty close. And I never even saw it coming.

Stay tuned for the story of the proposal, coming up in Part 2 of "It's a Miracle." Because let's face it... this post was getting pretty long.