Every woman has dreamt since she was a little girl about that magical moment when the man of her dreams proposes marriage to her. I always dreamt of a Christmas proposal; I figured that since Alan knew how much I Looooove Christmas that he would propose during the Holidays so we could add our anniversary to all the family celebrations.
Well Alan never proposed, and I never accepted….so how exactly did we end up married you ask? Ahhhhh, the Lord moves in mysterious ways.
Alan and I had been steadily dating since late October 2001. Early in 2002 I was applying for local doctoral programs, but for some reason (I wonder why) didn’t make it in. I applied to three local schools. One was restructuring the program so decided they will not accept new students. The second had budget issues and was going to skip an admission year. The third, boy this gets good. The third school its department chair got an ear infection that somehow lodged in his brain, rendering him in ICU. The school had no idea what to do so they never accepted anyone.
Nada, que lo que no pasa no conviene. It wasn’t meant to be. In any case my GMAT that year was horrible since I had panicked at question 16th of the Math portion and never finished it (the Math portion that is).
Labor Day 2002, we were driving back from spending the weekend in Key West (ahhhhhh memories…..but those are for another post). As I was staring out the window while we were stuck in traffic I asked Alan if he was willing to go with me if I applied to doctoral programs outside of Miami or Florida for that matter.
His reply? If he had already moved from Chile to Miami, moving within the US was no biggie. Besides he wanted to see the REAL United States. So I stored his response.
In January 2003 we traveled together to Puerto Rico so he could meet Papi. Imagine traveling together without being married. You laugh, but in an old-fashioned Cuban family like mine (think Que Pasa USA?) that sort of stuff happens. Mami had a near hissy fit; Papi on the other hand had no problems. I know, I was just as surprised.
During that year we started talking about the possibility of getting married in 2004 and then going away for my doctoral studies in 2005. This would allow us to save one entire salary for a year. We thought we had it made. Still, no proposal, no specific plans, no dates. Only a lot of calls from our friends to either move in together or get married already.
Our company had hit hard times and we were about to endure a 2nd round of layoffs. I had taken some days off to paint my guest bedroom since I really did not want to be there for the layoffs. Alan came to lunch at my house during those days. I’d had the nagging feeling that I should pursue my doctoral studies in 2004 and not 2005 and told him so. I remember I told him that if he got laid off that was our cue to move our plans up one year.
Lo and behold, the next day he got laid off. We just had one problem, his visa was an intracompany transfer, so it was contingent on him working for this one company. That meant he had 30 days to leave the US. I didn’t even think about it. When he called me to tell me he had fallen victim to the layoffs, I just said it: “then we have to get married“.
That was it, our fate was sealed. People in shock about his pink slip asked us scared what were we going to do? Simple, I ‘d answer, we’ll get married! It took us only three weeks to pull a wedding together so we could send in the INS paperwork. THREE. WEEKS. Our closest friends even threw us an “engagement dinner” twice!
Everyone pulled together around us; I had never seen such an outpouring of caring. Invitations, cake, dress, location, catering, music, everything in just THREE WEEKS. And you know what? It was the best wedding EVER!
And so it was that on a date hated by freedom loving Cubans everywhere – July 26th – Alan and I got married. Him disappointed because he never really got a chance to ask, and I disappointed because I never really got a chance to say yes.
In retrospect, we kid around that the man upstairs (God) exasperated by our relationship inertia decided to do it for us. I guess he got tired of waiting. Between you and me, I’m glad he did! I don’t think given the chance to realize what the heck I was doing that I would’ve gotten married. This way before I could panic, we were already married!
And oh yes….this was only our FIRST wedding, because a nice Cuban girl like me has to get married por la iglesia too!!
How’s that for a story to tell you kids and grandkids?