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“Ryan and I have known each other since we were little kids. My two best friends, who I’ve known since kindergarten, are his cousins and we all went to school together and played every chance we all got. Ryan is a year older than I am, so we always looked up to him and his friends as the “cool kids” who we would follow around nonstop. We always had a crush on each other, but were too young to take it as anything serious. Fast forward to our high school years (we still attended the same school together – yup, that’s 12 years!!) where we finally took the plunge and started dating! We dated for a few years, but ended up going our separate ways. P.S this was my first real heartbreak!! Ryan went away to college in Philly, and I went to upstate NY the following year. We both would keep in touch occasionally throughout these years, but found ourselves in other relationships and moved forward with our lives. No matter how much time or history seemed to pass us, Ryan and I always found our way back to each other. We always found little reasons to chat, or check in on each other through our friends. Four years later, after we both graduated college and were moved home (we also live around the block from each other, as if school and friends weren’t enough in common!) my friends started planting the seeds slowly but surely to get Ryan back in my life. They would tell me he was asking about me, and eventually would unknowingly have us both meet up at a family BBQ. At that point, I had just gotten out of a relationship and wasn’t really interested. I told my friends thanks but no thanks, and left the bbq. I got in my car and no less than 30 seconds later I had a text from him. We chatted on and off for a few days before he asked me to go to dinner. I told him I couldn’t – that I had to pick up a passport at my aunt’s house (I know – what a terrible excuse??!!!) and he replied, “Okay pick you up at 8”. He didn’t take no for an answer and I’m so glad he didn’t – four years later and here we are!” Read about Ryan’s surprise proposal to Kaitlin on their Turks and Caicos vacation. Photo credit: Dyanna LaMora Photography