When we met is a matter of debate – either it was during college at Rice University, somewhere during our freshmen or sophomore year due to our mutual friendship with a certain Matt O’Connor, or after I returned from California to start my doctorate in the fall of 2011…at the home of Matt O’Conner for his weekly Cook Night. Regardless of the when, our story truly began that fall in 2011 when two college acquaintances became good friends. We would cook meals with friends, grab movies, play video games, catch shows, and go dancing. Then came a series of events that changed how we looked at each other.
With a group of our friends, we visited a haunted house where I proceeded to (almost) fall in the mud and was saved by Naren’s quick hands as well as his preparedness. He grabbed me before I essentially sat in the muck and helped me clean up with supplies he had in his car. Around this time, I had been asking friends if they knew anyone interested in tutoring me in statistics as I was getting schooled by my grad school class and wanted to get a handle before midterms. Enter our cupid Mr. Matt O’Connor who innocently suggested I ask Naren. When I did, Naren immediately offered himself. We met at Agora and spent the next hour and a half “studying” (which in reality was getting to know more about each other and flirting). To this day, Naren feels guilty about how little statistics I learned that afternoon.
When we finally decided to call it a day, Naren asked if I wanted to grab dinner at Brasil across the street where we proceeded to have the most epic meal ever. We sat on the back patio listening to electro-swing and talking into the night. Four hours later, and after we realized the wait staff had graciously stayed open well beyond close to let us just talk, he walked me back to my car. While we wondered whether the bright star in the sky was the North Star or Jupiter, Naren cleverly used his phone and Google Sky to put his arms around me while we investigated. We said goodnight and I called him on my drive home to tell him how much fun I had and how I hoped we’d do it again.
Fast forward a few years, and we’re in San Francisco, and we’ve created our own little family. We’ve survived grad school, supporting each other through dissertation proposals and defenses, cross country moves, and countless other milestones (including actually learning a little bit about statistics). As I was preparing for another, the match for postdoctoral fellowship, I was a nervous wreck. I was invited by my friends from internship for a girls’ night to let off a little steam. We dressed up, got our nails done, and went out for dinner and drinks in what I would learn later was all a ruse setup by Naren for what was to come later that evening.
When it was time to leave, I called Naren and didn’t notice how on-edge he was to have me home. All I focused on was my urgent need to use the restroom as the restaurant’s was out of service. While Naren sweetly inquired about my ETA, I interjected that it didn’t matter because as soon as I got there, I’d be making a beeline for the bathroom. This may be why I didn’t notice his perpetual interest in my whereabouts throughout the night or the following sign on our door:
When I unlocked the door, I was greeted with Naren, handsome as ever and bedecked in a suit with a huge smile on his face. He had recreated our first date in our living room, changing the furniture out for the bistro set of Brasil’s back patio, fairy lights strung across the ceiling and walls, our song playing in the background, and the statistics book we barely cracked on the table.
He shared his love for us, his hopes for our future, and then he asked me to marry him. I said yes, and we come to now. If you’ve made it this far, dear reader and valued guest, we’re hoping to see you on November 11th of this year. Regardless of your attendance, please know that you have served some part in our story, and for that we are appreciative. Thank you for your piece, and we hope you can join as we celebrate our marriage and the start of our next big adventure!