So, I decided to share the story of how I met my husband because to be honest, it still amazes me every time I think of it. Meeting the one God intended for me certainly felt like a really looooong time coming, but at the perfect time, all at once (if that makes any sense). It all started with a trip to Puerto Rico, which I initially never planned to take. Two of my best friends (Cassandra and Glenda) decided to do a friends-getaway in May 2011 for their birthdays (in May) and extended the invite to me and the rest of our friends who wanted to come along as well. Since I was heavy in the midst of one of my toughest semesters at grad school and busy with work and the ministries I was a part of, I never even thought twice about going. Then when I finally finished my semester and went to register for my next two classes, I realized that they would start in only 2 weeks! It was then that I made an impulse decision to go along with them for the extended Memorial Day weekend trip to Puerto Rico – with the intention of fully enjoying the little 2 week break I had. My classes would start the day I returned…literally. So, I bought my ticket a month before the trip (and still got a good deal – thank you Lord!) and met up with my two besties in P.R. on Thursday, May 26th, 2011. We had no idea that there was a total of three different Memorial events that was going on in P.R. that weekend, so there were many other groups of people from various parts of the U.S. there, as well. Anyway, the next day, we went to the beach in the morning and then hung out at Old San Juan (the hot spot for beautidul architecture and nightlife) in the afternoon/early evening.
That’s when I started to feel pretty sick and crampy (sorry TMI). Translation: I was no longer having fun and just wanted to get back to the hotel. Cassandra and Glenda omewhat grudgingly joined me in a cab ride back to the hotel (thanks guys!!), but wanted to explore the area near our hotel since the night was still young. I almost just stayed there at the hotel, but at the last second (again), I started to feel a bit better and decided to join them. I promised I wouldn’t make them turn back around before they wanted to, this time. 😉 Can I tell you… I was SO glad I decided to go back out. The night was absolutely BEAUTIFUL and as we were walking, I heard latin music playing and saw what looked like a cool, fancy place to check out… turns out that place was El San Juan. So, we walked in and found out it was a hotel resort with a lobby full of people (mostly locals) who were salsa dancing – no admission fees needed to join in. So, of course, we joined in and had a great time!
Meanwhile, Joel was in Puerto Rico vacationing for a few days with some friends on their annual “boyz trip”. It was actually the first time he vacationed with this group of friends. Although they were there for one of the Memorial Day weekend events that was being hosted on the island, on their second night (which was also our second night) Joel decided to tag along with his friend Cliff to explore a spot – El San Juan – they had heard a lot about since arriving. Almost immediately upon entering El San Juan, they were glad they did! The atmosphere was a welcome change of pace considering the experiences from their first night -the music, the crowd…finally they felt like they were in Puerto Rico! Shortly after entering and circling for a bit, they were even more excited to be there as they introduced themselves to us (Glenda, Cassandra and I) and joined us for a bit. Although I wasn’t really interested in meeting anyone in particular, it was nice to have some male company. After taking a break from dancing, Joel started a conversation with me, so I chatted with him for a bit. Little did I know, Cassandra was motioning for Joel to ask me to dance, which he soon made me aware of. Color me embarrassed! Lol. So, he did ask me to dance… which is when I noticed that he had two left feet on the dance floor (sorry babe!), but he also had the BEST, most handsome smile. So I laughed and smiled along with him, as we finished our dance… It was nice. By the end of the night, Cliff and Joel were welcomed to “our fam” and contact info was exchanged before we parted ways. Although we had a great time, I was shocked that Joel texted me a little the next day…nothing major – just really sweet, genuine texts to see how I was doing and how my vacation was going. We even decided to meet up again at El San Juan the next night. However (again), I didn’t come to P.R. to necessarily meet anyone, so that night I shared with him that I was just there to have a good time with my friends for their birthdays. Surprisingly (again), he was very understanding and un-phased. He simply asked if he could keep in touch with me after the trip was over. I said “sure” thinking there’s no way I would hear from him again. There were so many beautiful people there that weekend, that I figured he probably wouldn’t even remember my name.
However, over the next few months I noticed persistence from Joel in keeping in touch with me through daily texts and an occasional phone call, whenever I had free time. Believe it or not, I still did not think it would lead to anything, and I convinced my friends that I was not interested in starting a relationship… he lived all the way in Florida, I was in Maryland and my semester had started up again… I had zero time. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I wasn’t hoping against hope though. Meanwhile Joel’s days living in Florida were becoming shorter than even he realized. It turns out Joel had interviewed for a new job prior to vacationing in Puerto Rico and he soon received a job offer a few weeks after returning. That job was located in Maryland. After Joel counter-offered so that moving expenses would be covered, he got the offer he wanted and moved to the DMV (DC/Maryland/Virginia) area in just a few short weeks. So, the distance between Joel and I was now much shorter, and it wasn’t long before he asked to meet up with me again. The rest is history. The journey to an incredibly amazing new friendship and courtship began in August 2011 and it continues to surpass more than either of us could have ever dreamed of….months later, on Jan. 1, 2012, he proposed, and we were married on December 1st …in El San Juan, Puerto Rico that same year.