Wendy's Story

I met Paul thanks to a good friend and my Indiana ties. In January 2008, my friend Clare called to say that she was going to dinner with a friend-of-a-friend who had just moved to DC from Indiana. She wanted to welcome him with fellow Hoosiers. I remember thinking I was tired and it was a cold night, but I drudged up the energy and went anyway. I was most excited about going to the Southern food restaurant that Clare had chosen, but when Paul arrived I was suddenly intrigued. He was an open, thoughtful, and caring guy; whose energy and excitement about moving to DC was "catching". Since I am always on the lookout for new friends who can keep up with my many requests to try new restaurants and new activities, Paul immediately became my next target. We both seemed up for anything the other suggested, and during the first days we spent together, we had long analytical conversations about life and family. I knew I had a crush on him the second time we were together when he willingly went dancing with me at a local African bar. It became clear to me that he wasn't pursuing me for dating though, so I pushed the crush aside and enjoyed getting to know him as a friend.

During the next few months we discovered a mutual love of oysters, watched an Air Show in the rain, played frisbee and softball on the Potomac, and went to an interesting Indian dance show. I traveled to Rwanda for the month of July and then began arranging a longer-term assignment. I talked with Paul about my excitement but also shared my anxiety and fears about going to Rwanda for a longer period of time. 

Unexpectedly, in the last few months before leaving, our friendship changed. One night we were out as "friends" as usual and he reached for my hand. I was overjoyed! Our feelings grew rapidly and we worried about what my leaving would mean for us. We crammed as many fun things as possible into my last two months in DC. We saw and did so much, including attending the Presidential Inauguration in our great city. It didn't take long for us both to know these feelings would last through anything. In February we tearfully said goodbye in the airport knowing we had something that would not end with my leaving. After hours and hours of long distance phone conversations; many heartfelt letters, packages, and emails, two trips to Africa for Paul and one month in the States for me, he made an incredible proposal in front of the Great Pyramids of Giza.

I feel blessed and happier than I have ever been. I love Paul because he is a good person who wants to make the world a better place. He is smart and likes to create things. He has an amazing cute smile and great sense of humor. He is optimistic about life. He likes to dance and try new things. He loves his cats. He is generous and loyal. His inspiring technical expertise, which he uses to help the world, melts my heart and there is no one else with whom I'd rather spend time! I'm so lucky to have found Paul and to be spending my life with him.

Paul's Story

Wendy was one of the first friends I made in DC. We met at a fun dinner in my neighborhood, through an Indiana connection. We hit it off pretty well from the start, and became friends right away. Over the few months following that meeting, I remember many deep conversations about life and contribution to the world. I always felt like Wendy appreciated what I had to say (even when I obviously didn't know what I was talking about). I have fun memories of walking barefoot down side roads in DC for some reason, and meeting at Wendy's place for breakfast before volunteering for Hands on DC. We went dancing, to eat oysters, to cool events, and to a super rainy air show. At the air show, I learned to appreciate Wendy's sense of adventure and ability to enjoy herself in any situation. She also did me the favor checking in on my cats while I was in Seattle...what a great and trustworthy friend! When Dave, my best man, was visiting from out of town, Wendy and a few of her friends met us at a bar for some chatting and a drink. Afterwards, Dave said something about how cool she was and something clicked in my heart. "You know, yes. She's really awesome," I thought.

Our first night out after that, Wendy and I had fun at a local sports bar, where she was talking about getting ready to go to Rwanda again, and making plans for that. I seem to remember a glow behind her head and a sparkle in her right eye... anyway, I remembered we had talked about Cirque de Soleil and I happen to have borrowed some DVDs of the shows, so I invited her up to my apartment to watch it. As we sat there watching the (very odd) show, I got excited and nervous because I thought she had strategically placed her hand within grasping range. She was playing it cool, not making any moves or anything, but I knew what she wanted. So I reached over and grabbed her hand in mine. And smiled.

Even though she was leaving for Rwanda shortly after we decided to become "an item", I knew in my heart that we could make it work. And I'm so glad we did! We crammed in a bunch of activities the two weeks before she was going to leave, and made a commitment to each other that we'd be together. We owe some thanks to technology, as most of our interactions have been over email, instant message, phone calls, and Skype (online video conferencing). It's been great to get to know Wendy even better through pretty much every medium possible. We did get a few trips in. I was lucky to see Wendy in her Rwandan home, and meet many of her friends there. And Wendy and I met at her sister Ginger's house when Wendy was back home for a few weeks in June (and she went to my sister Carrie's wedding too!). On my suggestion, we met in Cairo in September, which I figured would be a super awesome spot to ask her the question that I had decided to ask her a long time ago. So I did! I got on one knee in front of The Sphinx, presented her with a cool engagement ring, and asked her to marry me. Of course... she said yes!

Wendy is many things to me: adventurous, beautiful, classy, upbeat, fun, energetic, loving, kind, authentic and engaging...to name a few. She's fun to talk to. I feel completely free and open to say anything that's on my mind, and I know that she's free with her thoughts. She has great insight and a sweet, caring heart. Her view of the world is one of inclusion and a want for good health and opportunities for everyone in it. I'm in awe of her commitment to her valuable work and her love for her family and friends...and especially for me. I'm so lucky!