The Engagement Story of Ava & Joe
Joe and I met in the most unconventional of ways: At the ‘Red, White & Blue Cafe’ in Las Vegas. We were there for my sister’s wedding to my (now) brother-in-law, who happened to be one of Joe’s best friends.
While sitting at the wedding rehearsal luncheon, I noticed a table full of about ten giant Air Force rugby players – all of whom were very handsome. Joe caught my eye and kept it, mainly because he had a chin that rivaled Superman’s, and a laugh that echoed throughout the room/shattered glass.
I immediately called dibs on him, and then texted my two friends who had not yet arrived that “I call dibs on the guy in the blue shirt. His name is Joe, and we are in love and are going to get married.” I should mention that I still had not spoken a word to him at this point, yet I definitely knew what I wanted.
We hit it off right away (post-dibs calling), and two days after meeting, Joe and I parted ways. The odds were stacked pretty high against us: I was 19; he was 25. I lived in California; he lived in Colorado. I was a waitress who worked at night; he was Second Lieutenant in the Air Force who worked during the day.
Also, we had only known each other for 48 hours, and we met in Vegas. Luckily, Skype was around, so we started off our awkward courtship via virtual bowling dates, emails, and phone calls.
It soon became clear to us that we actually, legitimately liked one another, and we wanted to make it work. So for a year, we flew between states, worked around class schedules and time zone differences, and celebrated birthdays by opening presents over webcam.
The following August, we both moved to Los Angeles: he was re-stationed there and starting his MBA at UCLA, and I was transferring to UCLA to finish my Bachelor’s degree.
Even then (with LA traffic in mind) we were long distance, as the drive between our apartments took about 1.5 hours each way. Regardless, living in the same state was amazing, because we could actually go on dates that did not involve a computer screen and virtual high-fiving.
It was July now and our three year anniversary was approaching, and me/everyone around me/mainly me was getting a bit antsy. I had just graduated in June, Joe was almost 29 years old, and it was kind of “tick-tock hey we should do this thing” time.
Little did I know, Joe had asked my dad in February if he could marry me. Little does everyone know, but Joe likes to take his sweet time with any decision (even picking out socks), and leisurely took the next five months to design an engagement ring and psych himself up for committing to my craziness for the rest of his life.
My mother and father basically thought Joe was bailing on this whole engagement thing, and were a bit worried while they waited for the awesome and/or terrible news to come.
Joe and I like to hike (aka Joe loves hiking and I do it with him, but complain the whole time about rocks, insects, and sweating), so it wasn’t out of the ordinary when he said one day in July that we should go on a hike soon.
The morning of July 30th, he asked if I wanted to go to one of our favorite spots in Palos Verdes, California. It was a bit overcast (which he later stated made him nervous), but ever-resourceful Joe had two back-up plans in case the view wasn’t pretty enough for a proposal.
I became a bit suspicious when I appeared at Joe’s doorstep in sweatpants and no make-up, and he told me to change into nicer clothes. He used the excuse that we were going out for drinks with friends afterwards, but I am a hard person to lie to, so I kept my hesitation at the surface. We packed a lunch in our hiking backpack, and went over to the cliff.
About 30 minutes into the hike/Joe looking for flat ground/me saying I needed a sandwich, we set our picnic up on some flat rocks overlooking the ocean. Joe set his iPhone up on a mini tripod with the excuse that he was taking a picture of us; in actuality, he was videotaping the entire moment.
He waltzed over to me, casually leaned down on one knee while I was talking, and whipped out a ring box out of his motorcycle boot.
We laughed, cried, and brought out a bottle of Dom that Joe had secretly packed in our picnic bag; we drank it right out of the bottle, along with our smashed turkey sandwiches. Sorry, classy people of America.
On June 16th Joe and I got married after almost 4 years of dating. The odds were definitely stacked against us from the start, but those odds have only drawn us closer rather than farther apart from one another.
He is my weirdest friend, my best friend, and truly the love of my life.