• Love Stories: Together at Last, Together Forever

    Love Stories: Together at Last, Together Forever

    A love story of 10 years, reconnections and—finally—a happily-ever-after.

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Ricky and I met over 10 years ago: April 29, 2006, at the Global Night Commute at Rice University. We were there to show support and raise awareness about the crisis of Ugandan children at risk of being captured by the Lord’s Resistance Army. It was a fitting meeting place for us—we were both young and idealistic and at the beginning of our personal journeys to understand how to promote social justice. We dated a few years later when we started working at Starbucks, but eventually we went our separate ways.

A little over a year ago, we reconnected. At first we hung out as friends, but after realizing we both wanted to be closer, we began dating. Ricky was living three hours away in Galveston then, and I was living in Bastrop, so we started alternating weekends between our two cities. In the fall of 2015, Ricky, a surfer, made the leap and came to Bastrop, despite the fact that it meant leaving behind the ocean he loved. Soon after that, he asked my dad for permission to marry me, but I had no idea about it.

On May 1, 2016, Ricky and I were in Houston visiting our families and planned to meet for brunch. I drove to his sister’s apartment to meet them, and Ricky told me that they’d decided to have a picnic at Rice University. At first, I was frustrated because it seemed last-minute and they’d told me they were just having a lazy morning together.

I had no idea that anything was going on, which still shocks me. I drove over to Rice University and the whole time, I was just thinking, why didn’t he call me? I was hungry and I was irritable (the two emotions tend to travel together). I got there and I got lost, which made me even more annoyed. Finally it occurred to me…oh, we met at Rice, maybe he’s going to propose, maybe that’s happening, but I didn’t dwell on the thought.

I finally found him and realized he had a whole picnic set up under a sprawling tree on campus. He had put up all these decorations and he was standing there waiting for me, and my first reaction was, “You tricked me!” It was a huge surprise, and it was beautiful. As I was trying to process what was going on, I suddenly knew he was about to propose. He had a letter that he read. I was half listening and half trying to figure out what was happening right now. It felt very surreal. I haven’t been surprised many times in my life, but I was completely caught off guard and I loved it, but my brain couldn’t stop trying to figure it out.

He proposed. The first thing I asked after I said yes was, “Do my parents know? Does my sister know?” He said yes. And of course I was thinking, “I’m engaged!” and I wanted to tell everybody.

His family was there, which was perfect. They got to help take some pictures for us. There was cheese and fruit and food, but I was too excited then to eat. We hung out there for a little bit until we were ready to leave. The unglamorous side was we had to take everything down at some point, but that’s real life—and we took everything down together. Afterward, we spent the day together doing things we love in Houston. We went to a couple bookstores and just hung out. That night, we were supposed to meet his family for a celebration dinner, which was great, but I was wishing my family were there—and then he surprised me again by having my whole family at dinner. It was a wonderful surprise because our families are so important to both of us.

After that, I went into hyper wedding planning mode. I love planning. We set the date for Nov. 5, 2016, almost six months from when we got engaged. I love the fall, and neither of us cared if we had a long engagement. So we picked a date, and we’re hosting it at my family’s ranch here in Bastrop. I also hired a wedding planner to help me with various aspects of the wedding. It’s been fun getting to learn a lot of stuff. Pinterest is such a fun place but it’s a nightmare at the same time, which is why I’m glad we have a wedding planner.

Most of all, we are thrilled to enter into this next phase of our life together, and we are so grateful to have such a beautiful community of friends and family who will celebrate with us and support us along the way.

— Naseem and Ricky, Bastrop, Texas

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