Every year at Transit, the company I worked for, we would all make a trip on Halloween to one of the many theme parks in the LA area. I was never too fond of those nights being the anti-social, bad in crowds, generally awkward person I am. But the year Whitney started at our small company was one of the best nights of my life, because that is the night we first got to know each other. I would have found an excuse to skip that years trip, but the mere possibility of getting to spend time with her outside of work was too good to pass up. The day started with all of us coworkers and respective partners arriving at the office to wait for our party bus to pick us up. When the bus arrived we loaded in, and much to my disappointment she was sat in the back while I was put in charge of music up in the front. I figured that was it; we wouldn’t strike up a conversation that would last all night culminating in a mutual connection that would last the rest of our lives, instead we would stay separate the entire night and continue on as generic work acquaintances. Thankfully fate was on our side and it had a plan B lined up to drive our paths together.
Our first real connection happened on the themed tram ride around the park. Everyone in our party was shepherded from the waiting line into the tram, and with the help of my friend Jordan I managed to sneak the last seat right next to the most amazing person. From the haunted mazes where she grabbed onto my arm to hide from the monsters to the line for the Mummy ride where we discussed our favorite things, we were side by side the rest of the night.
(A later recreation)
In the several weeks that followed we talked online daily; I got a library card and read both of her favorite books: The Stranger, and Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Even though I was clearly head over heals for her I still couldn’t muster up the gumption to ask her out on a real date. On Friday October 16th 2015, using the courage I didn’t have, Whitney asked me to go get drinks after work; we have remained inseparable ever since.
The months passed by and we only grew closer, we got an apartment together where we lived happily with our dog Yoshi. I traveled to visit her amazing family in Boise and she met my family in Davis. I knew it was time to ask her to marry me, but I also knew the proposal had to be perfect. My initial idea was to ask her on a trip to Kauai we had planned together with friends of ours, but somehow that felt cliche. The place I asked her would have to have a special meaning to both of us, so I began planning a week long proposal that would take us to some of our most memorable spots.
Our first Halloween
My proposal-extraordinaire began at the bar we had our first date, Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica. There I gave her the first of four Harry Potter themed gifts (her REAL favorite book), which was an invisibility cloak that ended up looking more like a large novelty silver cape. Our next stop was to GameHäus Café where we played a version of the board game Ticket to Ride that I had made which included many of our favorite spots around town, once she won that game I gave her a Universal Studios Harry Potter wand. I secretly asked our bosses to let us both have the day off in order to take her to Universal Studios on Tuesday September 26, 2 years since that fateful work trip. We arrived in the morning and spent a few hours galavanting around the theme park before I gave her the third gift, a key which would open the final gift at The Getty Museum. I must note here that the original idea was to ask her at the theme park, but you can’t fault me for choosing the Getty after you see the view. The museum is located at the top of a hill overlooking almost all of Los Angeles, as we boarded the train to the top I noticed that the photographer I hired to capture the moment was on the same train but thankfully he knew discretion was key so we exchanged a quick knowing glance before averting our gaze and continuing on our way. Whit and I walked the halls looking at famous works from Monet and Degas before the time finally came for me to guide her out to the lawn where my photographer friend had set out a blanket on the grass. I presented her with a small wooden box that could only be opened by the key I had given her, inside was the ring. I was an absolute nervous wreck that day, but I’m 99% sure she said yes!!
When I started working at Transit it wasn’t long before I noticed Ryan. I definitely had a crush but I didn’t think that much of it because in my experience he was so good looking that he was probably arrogant or dated around. Still I wanted to give it a shot and started looking for opportunities to talk with him.
As a fun Halloween season treat Transit would take everyone to one of the theme parks in LA that turn scary at night with zombies and horror mazes. That year they brought us to Universal Halloween Horror Nights. As we all loaded into the party bus I was a little disappointed that Ryan and I ended up on opposite ends, as I was with a friend who was one of the first onto the bus and he was put on iPod duty at the front. The entire bus ride (you’ve heard about LA traffic right?) I was trying to drum up the courage to go over and sit next to him so we could talk, but it seemed too obvious and I couldn’t convince myself.
Once into Universal there were many more opportunities to pair up. Most of our coworkers had brought significant others and Ryan and I stood out somewhat as two singles. The group decided to go into one maze, I believe it was the one themed for Guillermo del Toro’s Crimson Peak, and there was a really long line to get in. To my delight Ryan and I ended up in line next to each other which gave us plenty of opportunity to talk.
It went really well! We talked about our favorite movies and books. I felt somewhat embarrassed when he asked my favorite movie and I said The Lion King. I worked in the movie industry after all, shouldn’t I have a more interesting answer? But it didn’t seem to bother him and by the time we went into the maze we were still side by side.
I am genuinely averse to horror entertainment. It really scares me and makes me paranoid and I was pretty nervous about the idea of going to the park that night at all. I did know though that I could use that to my advantage with Ryan. At every jump scare I screamed and turned toward him, and at one point as I reached for him we even momentarily held hands. I was surprised that it was going so well. He seemed interested in me and there was that undefinable spark. We stayed with each other through the rest of the park and at the end of the night ended up sitting and talking on the rails around the Universal globe as we waited for the bus to pick us back up. I knew the whole company could see us flirting together which made me a little nervous as it can go really wrong to date someone at work, but I knew in a sense that many of them were encouraging it.
On Monday back at work Ryan started messaging me though the office chat program. Over the weekend he had gone to the library, opened his library card, checked out the two books I had mentioned and nearly finished them both. Now Jonathan Livingston Seagull and The Stranger are pretty short books, but I was still extremely impressed and again somewhat self conscious. Those are two of my favorite books for some personal reasons and I didn’t know what impression they would make on someone without that context (the POV character in The Stranger is a pretty terrible person). He seemed unbothered.
Over the next two weeks I waited eagerly for Ryan to ask me on a date. We chatted constantly and walked back from the monthly company drink night together, but he wasn’t asking me if we could see each other outside of work. I was getting nervous that I had the wrong impression, but with the encouragement of my friend and boss I worked up the nerve to ask him out. My boss had known me at my last job and later confided that when he hired me he had hoped that Ryan and I would hit it off.
That Friday two weeks after Universal our company had our weekly meeting where we watch the new trailers released that week and have wine and cheese. I nervously asked Ryan if he wanted to get a drink with me after the meeting and he said yes! I later learned that he was also working up the courage to ask me out that night. He even had an idea of where to go. We went to a bar, played Connect 4, and have been together ever since.
I like Halloween, it was never my favorite holiday, but it played a part in many of our first dates. Ryan took me to a live orchestra showing of The Nightmare Before Christmas at the Hollywood Bowl and my roommate’s boyfriend told her that he must really like me as he brought a bouquet of flowers to the date. By the time that actual Halloween rolled around we went together to the West Hollywood parade, and that is the night that I knew I was in love. All of the strangers around us knew it too from the way we were looking at each other, with remarks such as “Ewww, they’re in love!” coming from the crowd.
In September 2017, Ryan started taking me on a number of dates that ended in receiving a gift and a card with a clue to the next date. First he took me to dinner at one of the places we went on our first date and gave me an invisibility cloak. The card led us to the board game cafe where we had also gone at the start of our relationship. We played a version of Ticket to Ride he had made with a map of LA and important places to us on it instead of the normal map. Here he gifted me the Elder Wand to use at Harry Potter World, which had recently opened at Universal. At this point I realized that I was just missing the Resurrection Stone…stone….diamond…. Two years to the day of that first night at Universal, we went back to Universal dressed in full Harry Potter student gear. At the end of the date he gave me a box and inside was… a necklace with a shiny black stone. The Resurrection Stone. I guessed I had read too much into it. But underneath the necklace there was a key and a card leading us to one more date. We changed clothes and went to the Getty where we had gone on another one of our beloved first dates.
Ryan proposed on the lawn of the Getty with a secret photographer and a crowd that cheered when I remembered in my shock and excitement that I was supposed to say an audible, “Yes!” instead of just nod my head. He had guessed I was on to him about the stone, and went out and bought that necklace the night before to throw me off the track. I am elated that such a wonderful man wants to spend his life with me, and I am excited to vow to that commitment surrounded by the love of our family and friends. Thank you for being a part of our big day!!
At Halloween Horror Nights!
Our first Getty date
A family hike in Franklin Canyon Park
Proposal Day 3 - Universal
Proposal Day 1 - Santa Monica
Proposal Day 2 - GameHäus Cafe