Our Love Story
One cold January eve, a boy from Maryland and a girl from Texas settle down in front of their computers, for a night of fun and camaraderie - vanquishing virtual foes via a certain popular online gaming platform. The Friday night group needs a fill-in, and it just so happens, the girl plays just the character they need! Thanks to the group organizer (the future Best Man) - over several spring Fridays said boy and girl get to know each other through shared triumphs, failures, and rages – and discover that aside from gaming, they have tons in common, such a love of music, art and books.
Gradually, the two become friends, through long chats via Skype, and especially PVP (every couple should PVP together as part of premarital preparation, seriously ;) After one of these sessions (thanks to the help of Houston’s patron saint), girl tells boy he’s pretty cute – and the cat is out of the bag.
From that night on, June 20th (roughly) is known as “when it all began”.
Maryland is Cold & Texas is Hot
After many, many nights of long, enjoyable Skype conversations about life, the universe, and everything, finally they meet at long last over spring break – Greta visits the East Coast for the first time! Despite Texas being quite balmy in mid-March, Maryland is still rather chilly and needs the “winter” coat for sightseeing. Jeremy shows Greta the big hits of Washington D.C. – in whirlwind visits to the Capitol, Kennedy Center, the National Archives, and various Smithsonian Museums. Last, they visit Baltimore, where Greta discovers Maryland crab cakes and the wonders of the National Aquarium.
In summer, Jeremy visits Texas for the first time for the 4th of July, and discovers it’s hotter-than-freaking-hot and there are mosquitoes. Greta introduces him to Cajun delicacies and dancing at Larry’s French Market, and the Tex Mex paradise of Café Del Rio. After the summer visits, Jeremy and Greta know this is truly the beginning – of the rest of their lives!
Houston, We Have a Greta...
In summer 2012, Greta lands a job at one of her favorite museums in Houston – and such begins big city life! After settling in to the new apartment, job, and the crazy traffic, she realizes something is seriously missing – a Jeremy. He is still hard-at-work finishing his BFA degree at UMBC, so keeps her spirits up by calling, texting and Skyping every chance he can get.
The best part of the year though is when he finally gets to visit their future home – the Bayou City! Jeremy flies down for Christmas, which is spent with her family, and then Greta introduces him to her favorite spots around town. For her birthday, they have an amazing dinner at Uchi, later to become one of their regular haunts.
And Finally, a Jeremy!
In May, Jeremy finishes his degree in Animation and Interactive Media, and Greta travels back for his graduation. Again they visit Washington DC, to see the Air and Space Museum, and spend time in adorable Ellicott City, where they have the most amazing fudge. Greta also gets to meet his extended family, which is a blast, and they all eat enormous crab cakes together.
By this time, they are fully into planning his move down to Texas that summer – and Jeremy makes the three-day drive to Houston at the end of June! In just three weeks, he finds a fun job in his field, and life as a twosome is off and running. Talks of the future become more frequent, and soon…they are looking at sparkly objects together.
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From the outset, I was planning to surprise her. I knew that John Williams was one of her favorite composers, and he happened to be coming to town to conduct the Houston Symphony that December. I also wanted friends and family there and decided it would have to be separate from the concert. Let the planning begin!
Amidst secret conversations, always just behind Greta's back, it didn't take long to get our parents onboard. But it didn't take Greta long to throw me another curveball! It’s not surprising that she has many music friends, but one going to that concert - and inviting him to meet beforehand – I didn’t see it coming! And I didn't have anyone's contact information. Despite that, I was able to covertly find numbers and invite Rebecca and Stacy. Michael was a problem!
Despite setback, I moved ahead to book a table at Uchi: the first restaurant on my first visit in Houston and again when I moved down to be with her. I told Greta my parents were coming to visit the day after the concert, since I knew she'd want to plan. Of course, it wasn't that easy. I changed itineraries, but I couldn't change the attached calendar dates. ”It must be an error!” And of course, Greta wanted to take them to Uchi the first night.
Fortunately, things started to come together. I'd have to talk to Michael, the lynchpin to make it work. He'd suggest meeting at Uchi, and I'd convince Greta we could go two nights in a row. As luck would have it, Kathleen returned to visit friends and family a month or two prior. Michael was attending the get-together at Larry’s. I was briefly worried Greta wouldn't leave me a moment to talk to him, but soon everything was set up for the night!
Except, nothing quite went as planned. We hit the road a bit late to 'meet Michael'. I was keeping our party of 7 secretly informed. “59 would be too congested,” we thought, “Let’s just go down Westheimer for rush hour.” Mistake! (Though in the end, it made an even better surprise.) We ran into just about everything: Bad traffic, multiple waves of road construction, an abandoned wreck in the middle of the road, a full passing train. Even a reroute ended up getting us stuck unable to turn left – and around we went again.
We were so late, I told our party to go ahead and get the table. (Texting wasn't a problem at 2 MPH, and Greta thought I was checking traffic.) The plan was to arrive at the bar to 'meet Michael and friends' before taking our table. Greta was frantically texting him and making amends. As we finally arrived at the valet, she rushed off without me. Fortunately, he was waiting in the entryway, and the rest were safely out of view!
From there, Michael led us to ‘his table’. Of course, it didn't take me long to spot our parents and Rebecca, but Greta had tunnel vision. When he stopped and gestured toward an occupied table, I could see her doing a mental double-take! At first she couldn't understand why they were there - "What are y'all doing here!" When I started to tell her sweet things, she was too frazzled to even listen! (And now I don't even remember what I said, so I guess that's alright!)
By the time I got down on my knee, she had figured it out ("Are you kidding me?!"), and I was enveloped by her arms. We're actually still not sure who put the ring on her finger, and we had to confirm the 'Yes!' a bit later.
As we happily took our seats to celebrate, they were already bring us delicious things – which we would have had to wait for if not for the terrible drive! (And now we really only had a few minutes to enjoy ourselves and chat before running to the concert!)
In the end, I'm really happy how it all came together, and even happier to spend the rest of my life with her!
It’s the first week of December, and I am looking forward to a concert we’ve been waiting all year for – that Thursday, we are going to see the Houston Symphony with my favorite movie music composer, John Williams, and cellist Yo-Yo Ma! Then, the day after that, Jeremy’s parents are coming into town for the weekend.
We have arranged to meet my friend Michael for drinks at Uchi beforehand, as he will also be attending the concert – it is hard trying to decide on a place to meet, because I am hoping for Jeremy’s parents to also experience Uchi that weekend, but eh, the place is so darn good I say “let’s totally just eat there two nights in a row!”
We get all gussied up in our fancy duds, and finally head out (a bit behind as my new contact lenses are being a bother). On the way, it seems the world is conspiring to create every obstacle – we find construction, a just-wrecked car in the road, detours (trapping us on a street you can’t turn left off of!)
I am texting Michael so he knows we’re on the way, and eventually we arrive – I rush out of the car to meet him, leaving Jeremy with the valet. Michael greets us at the entrance (giving Jeremy time to catch up), and takes us to a table already secured…
I’m thinking, “Gosh, this table is a looong way back,” as we navigate the jam-packed restaurant – when suddenly, he motions to a table, and I look up and see my mom!!
Both my parents, in fact! AND Jeremy’s! I am terribly confused and blurt out, “What are YOU all doing here?!?” They all start giggling like schoolgirls, as I gingerly put down my purse – and realize I have totally, completely, been had.
It dawns on me what is happening, and I start trembling and exclaiming over and over, “Are you kidding me?!” I see Jeremy talking (apparently saying sweet nothings), but I don’t actually shut up until he takes a knee and the velvet box pops open, all glowy and angelic-voiced.
No one is still quite sure how the ring gets on my hand – it is suspected I put it on myself. I am so flummoxed I forget to actually say Yes - we are hugging and my friends ask, “Well, what’s your answer?!”
As we chuckle and celebrate, champagne and food magically appear, and we quickly toast and chow down before making it to a truly wonderful concert. An evening of a lifetime! I have to hand it to Jeremy, he totally put one over on me – and that is pretty hard to do! ;)
Of Fun, Food, and Planning
As the year begins, Greta and Jeremy are thrilled to finally be engaged – it’s been such a long journey! They go on a Valentine’s getaway to celebrate, to Galveston and the Bay Area, where they have oysters in all the ways (except raw, eww), endless shrimp, saltwater taffy, and awesome drinks. It’s the perfect trip - except for the fog that rolls in so thick you can barely see your hand in front of your face. ;)
Later that spring, they welcome Jeremy’s parents back to Houston for an exhibition featuring his mother’s art, and also have fun attending concerts with friends, and trying new restaurants.
Afterward, they truly set into wedding planning – and realize there is a LOT to do! They get venues arranged by summer, setting the date to be exactly 5 years from that first “night it all began”. Summer and fall go by in a flurry of research, vendor meetings, and decisions, as more is checked off the to-do list (and more appears.)
Happily Ever After (The Wedding)
With the wedding inching ever closer, Greta and Jeremy are looking forward most to having all of their family and friends together for the day, and to FINALLY being a married couple! While at times the past five years have seemed long, they also have flown by because of the fun they have together.
After tying the knot, the newlyweds will relax a bit, and then take a leisurely honeymoon in early fall to explore Napa Valley and San Francisco.
They are thrilled to share their special day with those that they love – and hope you have just as much fun being a part of it.