How we met and how he proposed

I originally posted these stories on our wedding website when we were planning. I want to share them here because I don't want to lose them, and after a request near and dear to my heart, there was no reason not to! I've combined two entries from the site I'm moving them from; the first is the story of how we met, and the second is from five years later, when Sam proposed to me.


I was 21! It was the summer my best friend had just moved back from Germany and we had reveled in every second of it. We danced, we went to the river, we spent days by the pool, we were making up for lost time in this brief magical month before we all had to go back to our lives. That is how we discovered Townhouse, a dive, an admittedly wonderful and simultaneously yucky bar with a dance floor and a new biweekly dubstep event. Dubstep was really big in 2010, and I think never again after that. 

Jessica and Ashley and I had been before and would regularly run into friends here. I happened to see some friends across the bar and went to say hello. There was Sam! 

Apparently Sam had also been at a party that I attended with these friends a few months before; apparently we'd watched a TV show together at said party with some friends and had had a conversation! Funny little world!

Anyhow, it's about an hour into Grimey Dubstep Dance Party with My Princesses when I notice a guy (Sam!) with a very sweet smile has been standing behind me for a while. I smiled back! He gestured to dance with me. I said yes!

A few dances later everyone is outside, and Sam drops the smoothest, "So you got a number or what girl," and I've been laughing ever since. 

Look y'all, there's only so cute I can make this story be while still being honest. I met the love of my life at a dive bar on a dance floor, at a Tuesday night dubstep event called GRIMEY. I was lucky! To honor our serendipity, Sam and I like to break into a spontaneous dance party while making dinner or running errands or swimming.


Sam planned for months! I knew nothing, but walked around blushing and daydreaming, suspecting something big was about to change. When Sam finished school at the beginning of this summer, he came home from his last final and texted me while I was working, "Hey we should go to Monterey! It's been a while and I wanna celebrate." 

This was it! Part of me knew it the whole time, the rest of me was on a constant inner rant calming me down, telling me not to get my hopes up or put unfair expectations on what would be an amazing and much needed trip anyway. 

It had been almost five years since we met and we had discussed marriage often, but we also just loved sea otters and I think both our favorite memories together have been made walking along Cannery Row. This really could go either way, so I told myself to be fair on the guy if he's just planned a sweet day at the aquarium. Which, I mean, he did, but also I GOT ENGAGED TO MY BEST FRIEND THAT DAY, SO. YEAH.

Anyhow, it's early in the morning and we have nutella donut holes packed, appropriate shoes on our feet, and we're parking close to one of the path entrances at Point Lobos State Reserve. It is blustery and sunny at the same time, the paths are busy with visitors and Sam seems really thrilled but also a little nervous. Looking back now I realize he was trying to find the path he'd picked and also find it at a time where tons of other people weren't around. 

It didn't matter! The morning was perfect, we walked a few of the trails, talked to people, pet their dogs, got lost, and so on. I was thrilled! I think I was slightly delirious because I knew if it was going to happen at all it was going to happen here. The lovely part of it was being in a place so beautiful that I really meant it when I told myself this would still be a perfect morning even if it wasn't the proposal I suspected, I had never been here and I was blown away by its beauty and the access it gave you to views from cliffs and little lagoons. 

It was at one of these little lagoons that Sam found a tree with the dirt around its roots worn smooth. You know these trees. Perfectly placed at romantic vantage points, their bark is sometimes shiny from all the palms that have pressed against them while friends or lovers carved letters into that smooth patch someone had cut into the trunk. These trees have a convenient root somehow raised for you to sit comfortably on, these trees are parts of love stories. I think we both knew when we saw it; we marched right up the path and climbed up the little hill to sit underneath it. 

I took a second to soak in the place for my memory. A second was all it took! He'd already opened up our little breakfast and somehow shoved this unnecessarily large box out of his pocket (seriously Ritani what were you thinking? It was like a box in a box in a box). So while I nervously chewed on a donut hole and nervously interrupted what was to be the beginning of Sam's proposal speech, this sweet angel got down on one knee and let me process the open box he held out to me. THEN HE PROPOSED TO ME IN PERFECT ARABIC Y'ALL. Yes, my best friend had practiced, with my mom's help, the words to propose to me in arabic. 

I laughed! I laughed and laughed and finally remembered to say yes. The first people I told was a couple hiking on the path near us. They were very excited, and told other hikers on their path to congratulate us! It was a magical walk back to the car. After that Sam and I spent the morning gloating on social media and yelling to each other, "Hey I engaged you!" then finally made it to the aquarium. I got to see the jellyfish exhibit that I love, and we got a pretty great view for almost an hour at the otter tank, Sam's favorite. Now I'm engaged to my favorite person in the world and we can own as many cats as we want and it won't be sad or creepy.