That's right. Open bar. Bad Dance Moves. You in or you out?
Down to Par-Tay?
Kara met Sam at a party. It was only a few weeks after kissing goodbye to her family after graduation from the University of Colorado at Boulder and recently landing her first "big girl" job on a political campaign, when she met a friend who invited her to a BBQ. This was your typical Boulder-esk gathering. There were hammocks hanging from the ceiling in a cabin-like-house a bit outside of Boulder. Kara brought cupcakes since she knew only one person at the party and briefly met Sam while learning how to light Sambucca shots on fire from the infamous Jonathan Volfson.
BBQ Party Continues to the Bar...
Sam remembers the image perfectly from top to bottom when Jonathan introduced him to Kara.
She had bold red cowboy boots, a bright green Mexican style dress and big sparkly glasses that looked like they came from 1960.
On top of that, she had a peacock feather in her hair. The party shifted to Pearl Street (Downtown Boulder). Based on her outfit and her exuberant speaking style Sam remembered thinking...
“This girl is definitely unique".
Needless to say they hit it off, exchanged numbers, and dated for a few months in Boulder before Sam picked up a geologist opportunity in Idaho and Kara moved back to Phoenix after the 2010 Election in preparation for her impending Peace Corps service in El Salvador.
The Foreign Years (aka los anos extranjeros)
After a brief stint in Idaho, Sam’s boss sent him down to his project in Nicaragua. Kara and Sam hadn’t kept up with each other for a while, but in January of 2012 he read an article about the Peace Corps having security issues in the Northern Triangle (El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala).
Kara had been living in El Salvador and Sam reached out to Kara to see if Peace Corps was being pulled out of the country or not.
She decided to stay, and months of e-mails and Skype conversations ensued, and she eventually invited him to visit. They saw each other that June in El Salvador, then in August where they met up in Phoenix and met one another’s families.
Returned to the States: The Windy City
The Nicaragua project eventually ran out of money, and after spending six months of funemployment in Colorado (including one last trip to El Salvador to visit Kara), Sam got a job as an environmental consultant in Chicago. The bitter cold Chicago winter got a lot warmer when Kara moved there in January 2014.
They had the "official" talk basically on the way to a work gala that Sam's company was throwing which went like this, "We are about to get asked about our history a 1,000 times, so we should get our story straight." Sam reasoned. Kara clarified what that meant exactly and they agreed it was about time to be "officially" together.
The next eighteen months they enjoyed all the sights, sounds and tastes Chicago had to offer. Kara quickly created an amazing group of friends (majority who have lived abroad for several years with this crazy thing called the Peace Corps). Sam's time in the Windy City was drawing to a close as he prepared to move to Vancouver, Canada to pursue his masters at the University of British Columbia.
Escaped to Canada
Amazingly, Sam had plans to move to Canada before November 2016….and he started his masters at the University of British Columbia in September 2015. Kara had just completed a year at a job she loved and wasn't ready to "pick up and leave" after falling in love with Chicago. They decided that based on their current career situation, it made the most sense to become long-distant and evaluate after a year to see whether Kara would move or they'd wait until Sam completed his degree.
It was a tough decision and after all of their international trips, both Sam and Kara had saved a ton of frequent flyer points, and they rocked the long distance relationship and saw each other at least once a month for almost the whole first year. They spent time seeing friends and meeting up in new places while finding a distant balance of work and school.
After Summer 2016, Kara shipped a pod full of everything she owned to the border and moved to Canada. Their new adventures in Vancouver began.
Our Proposal (As Told by Sam)
Years ago, in early 2012, Kara mailed me a letter from El Salvador. She had colored every inch of the envelope, and the insert was a hand drawn and colored note, with her fantastic cursive penmanship and all sorts of magazine clippings. It was so much, that I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away.
Then for my birthday, she sent me a massive envelope full of stuff, colored to the brim. Then another, and another, and before I knew it, I had a bag of all the letters and notes she had sent me.
I didn’t know what I was going to do with them, so I just started saving every letter, card, postcard, etc. that she sent me. When we talked about getting engaged, Kara made it clear she wanted her family and friends involved in some way and she wanted to be surprised, other than that I freedom to do what I wanted.
When I finally decided that I was ready to propose, I decided to make a scrapbook timeline of our history together through these letters. I enlisted the help of my friend Jeannise, and we put together a large scrapbook with everything.
On my last visit to Kara in Chicago, I met up with Kara’s friend Caroline the morning of to secretly add the finishing touches to the book. But also to retrieve the engagement ring and hid it in one of the final pages. Later that night at dinner, I surprised her with the book, and we went through our memories together until she flipped to the present, where I took out the ring and proposed.
The ring itself has a diamond from one of Gail’s earrings that Kara’s Dad gave to her.
She wonderfully provided us with the centerpiece of the ring, which Kara and I then designed together. After showing her dozens of different gems and minerals we could choose from to adorn the sides of the ring, she chose blue zircons.
Zircons are some of the most interesting minerals in the world, as their durability allows them to survive for billions of years, and they are the main mineral that scientists use to tell how old some of the most ancient rocks on earth are.