I attended summer vocal camps at Westminster Choir College for three summers before deciding to go to college there. As a college student I was a camp counselor for those same camps and worked in the Office of Continuing Education (the office that runs the camps). Matthew worked in the office since his first summer as a student at Westminster—even while I was a camper! The summer after my sophomore year (2004) at Westminster Matthew began stealing me from the office for "field trips" to buy extra pillows at Wal-Mart, to unlock the church across the street for a class, or some other outing/errand.
As the summer went on Matthew began to stay after work to keep chatting and spending time with is new friend (me). I had no idea that this meant he was interested in me! One of the camps has a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure and Matthew was asked to come along for additional supervision. Matthew spent the entire day with me, made me get a caricature with him, and sat with me at the fountain the whole two hours when it was my turn to be on duty as a counselor. For Matthew's birthday (July 26) I took him out to dinner and this was our first real date. I think we both assumed this was a summer fling and never talked or thought about anything else.
By the time my 21st birthday came around (November 15, 2004) Matthew and I were still together. (What a summer fling!) He gave me a beautiful white gold earrings and necklace set with tanzanite and tiny diamonds. Apparently we were serious...?! That Spring I spent living in London. Matthew and I decided to stay together simply because neither of us could actually decide what to do while I was gone. This was by far one of the toughest times of our relationship! I was traveling Europe and Matthew was at home teaching students who were not very nice to him (to say the least). Nonetheless, I came back across the pond and we were stronger than ever. Later that summer Matthew finally told me he loved me. I was caught so off guard that it took me a few weeks to say it back!
Things were great between us and in December of 2005 Matthew began showing me Hearts on Fire Diamonds. They are the World's Most Perfectly Cut Diamond (http://www.heartsonfire.co.uk). When I asked him if I should be thinking about things like marriage he said "Oh no, just showing you some cool stones" and I didn't think twice about it! We hadn't really talked about marriage or anything as far as what would happen after I graduated from Westminster. As far as I was concerned, I was moving back to London!
Friday, April 14, 2006 Matthew and I were making dinner at his apartment and he began asking who would toast us. I said I had no idea and he dropped it. Later in the evening he asked again claiming that someone would have to do it. Frustrated, I asked "Matthew, do you have the ring or something—" he cut me off and said "Yeah! Do you want to see it?!!" I told him I didn't want to see it unless he was asking "the" question. We talked and all I knew was that it would be before my graduation so that it didn't overshadow that particular milestone of my life.
Easter we were at my parents' house in New York and I couldn't help but wonder when it would happen. Monday, April 17, I couldn't take the suspense so I drove to his apartment with a plastic 25¢ ring and cheap flowers and asked him to marry me. He said "Yes. I have to run errands, so let's go." We ran errands including me dragging Matthew around Michael's for an hour for supplies to make a game for my students. Matthew made a nice simple spaghetti dinner and we began watching Star Trek. I had no desire to see Star Trek. I announced that I needed to get home to be rested for my first day back to teaching after Spring break and he told me to wait. He disappeared so I curled up on his couch. A few seconds later he tapped me on the shoulder and when I turned around I saw it. The Hearts on Fire box. I sat up and he knelt down and tried to open the box but I stopped him because I knew I would freak out if I saw the ring before he asked the question. I can't recall precisely what Matthew said but it definitely included something about marrying him. I said "Of course I will" and then he opened the box. It was the most beautiful diamond ring I'd ever seen. We called our parents to spread the news. All were excited and welcomed each of us into the other's family.
And that's our story!