of how we met spans the country, and we are very grateful to live in the digital age. It's quite a ride – you ready?
Steve has been friends with Scott (the Best Man) since junior high. Scott went to college in Boston, where he made friends with a group of people of similar philosophical persuasion. As many of the people in this group were college aged, they later spread out across the country, creating a large extended network of friends of which Steve was a part, as well as Mike (the Man of Honor).
Meanwhile, through a strange quirk of the Internet involving Mike trying to find the lyrics to a Cheerios jingle and Elicia mentioning it in an online diary, Mike and Elicia became close friends, and Elicia met many people in this extended network. Mike spent part of the year living in Los Angeles where he became friends with Steve, and Elicia often visited Boston and became friends with Scott. Elicia lived in Washington, DC at the time – which also happened to be where Steve went to college, but not at the same time that Elicia lived there.
Meanwhile, we were both part of an online blogging community called Livejournal. Through this community we knew of each other, and sometimes read one another's journals. But despite this connection and all of our friends in common, we didn't know each other directly. Although we had seen pictures and each secretly (or not so secretly!) thought the other was cute.
One day, Elicia was visiting her friends Michael and Donna in Delaware. (Not the same Mike as the Attendant of Honor.) Steve was also friends with Michael and Donna, and they suggested to Elicia that we would make a good couple. Elicia sent Steve an instant message joking about this, but we agreed that neither one of us was interested in pursuing a long-distance relationship with someone we had never met. However, we did become close friends, IMing and talking on the phone frequently.
In late 2002, Elicia was looking to leave DC, and a friend of hers offered a place to stay in San Diego. As this was only a two hour drive from Los Angeles, we finally met in person. Our friendship became even stronger, and we spent more and more time together until eventually we realized we were way more than friends. We became an official couple on December 24, 2002. Hooray for man's ingenuity, bringing us the Internet!
You're probably wondering about the proposal! Here it is, in Elicia's words:
Steve was planning a special weekend trip for us for about a month. I didn't think anything about it, because we like to do surprise things for each other a lot, and about a month prior, I'd planned a weekend trip for him that was a surprise - well, a surprise in the sense that he didn't know where we were going or what we were doing until we got there and did it, and the trip he was planning was a "surprise" in the same sense.
The last weekend of September, we set off. I was driving, because his car was unreliable, and mine is a manual and he doesn't know how to drive it. That made the surprises a tiny bit harder to keep, but it still went well! We headed north from L.A., and thanks to my lack of knowledge of California geography, I didn't really know where we were headed, I just followed his directions.
Our first stop was Hearst Castle, which was beautiful and amazing, and we had a great time there touring and gawking. From there we drove north a tiny bit and stopped at the beach to see a seal colony that has a hangout around there. It was late afternoon and the sky was slightly overcast, but the sun was bursting through in some spots. It was peaceful and beautiful, and as we left I actually had tears in my eyes, because I was so overwhelmed with love for him and with the perfectness of the moments we'd been sharing.
We continued driving up PCH, a spectacular but SLOW drive, but absolutely worth it at sunset. We stopped for dinner in Big Sur, where the waitress lived up to the town's name by being surly. Regardless, dinner was tasty and we enjoyed the atmosphere and chatting with people around us. We then continued north(ish). I suspected we were going to Monterey to the aquarium (because they're famous for their otters, and I adore otters), but we passed Monterey and I was confused. Again, my lack of knowledge of California geography was in his favor - little did I know, we were on a peninsula and there was only one place we could be going. When I started seeing signs for "San Francisco - 10 miles" I knew that was it. That had been my suspicion, but based on the route we were taking, I thought we were headed far inland! I'd never been to San Francisco before, and we'd talked about going several times. I was thrilled!
We stayed in a nice hotel downtown (The San Francisco Marriott Moscone), and Saturday morning I woke up excited by the surprises ahead of me. He had the whole day planned - We started with Dim Sum in Chinatown. (Dim Sum is my favorite meal, and it's what we had the day we became a couple.) You can see a video of our Dim Sum adventures here. We then wandered around Fisherman's Wharf watched the sea lions, and looked in cheesy tourist shops. I thought it was a bit weird how excited Steve was to get a San Francisco picture frame, but didn't think much of it, except that it was incredibly cute. Then we went to Alcatraz, followed by the Ripley's Believe it or Not! Odditorium. Later he told me he almost proposed in the museum! But he decided he didn't want us to be those weirdos who got engaged at the Ripley's Odditorium. This prompted me to utter one of our favorite out-of-context quotes about the engagement, "If we had done it in the kaleidoscope room, we never would have gotten to see the two-headed weasel." For dinner, we headed to the famous Boudin's for clam chowder in bread bowls, and you can see video of the aftermath here. We capped it off with a (freezing!) cable-car ride back to the hotel, where Steve kept excitedly mentioning how awesome the upcoming surprise was. At one point, he thought he blew it by saying "Just remember how excited I was about this surprise, that will make it even better once you find out!"
The day was perfect. Honestly, I went throughout the day feeling like I couldn't possibly be more in love, and then the next minute, I would be! All day he'd been telling me that there were bigger surprises to come, and that the biggest surprise (and the one he was most excited about) would be that night.
He said we were going out somewhere, so we went back to the hotel and I changed into a cute outfit I'd brought specifically for that night. He came over to me and put his hands in my hair and said "You are so beautiful, and I can't wait to spend the rest of my life with you." Then he dropped down on one knee, pulled out the ring, and asked me. I was totally flabbergasted. He was crying, I was crying, it was amazing. I finally realized I should say "Yes", but by then we were hugging and kissing, and I was pretty sure he knew the answer. :)
We were engaged on September 30, 2006, exactly a year before our wedding.
The next day we got up early and started the drive back to L.A., but he still had some surprises in store. First we went to the Santa Cruz Mystery Spot, a cheesy roadside attraction that I loved. Then we did actually go to the Monterey Bay Aquarium and saw the otters! We were exhausted by the time we got home - we drove 1,000 miles between Friday and Sunday, but it was the best weekend of my life.