John and I have never been big on Valentine’s Day. We might give each other a card or something. But in general we see it mostly as a commercial holiday. We make a point to be loving to each other and say loving things on a daily basis. I’d much rather celebrate our love on an anniversary that has true meaning to us, like the day we met or got married. But this is a day a lot of people celebrate love, so I thought I’d share our own little love story. Maybe someone is reading and this could offer some inspiration. Who knows.
On June 7, 2003 my good friend Tania and a couple of other girls hosted a singles party at a pool hall Q’s in Santa Monica, CA. It was a friends of friends of friends kind of deal, so I planned to go.
Earlier that year had been tough for me and my mental health. I had been at a very low point and briefly went “home” to my parents in Florida to undergo intensive therapy, which had actually been amazing for me. I returned to LA feeling much more alive and confident in myself after a few months, and shortly thereafter this party came up.
My friend Marilyn took me to Melrose to shop for a cute outfit, and we talked extensively about how I was feeling and how finding the right person will only happen when you’re truly ready AND when you put yourself out there. Being ready and sitting at home just doesn’t cut it. So I looked at this singles party as a chance to try out my newfound confidence and just have some fun meeting people.
Cristi & John
As I walked into the singles party, I saw Tania at a pool table and went over to say hi. This guy she was playing with immediately popped over to introduce himself with this kind of overly excited “Hey, hi, how’s it going!?!” kind of party vibe. I flitted around for awhile talking to different people, and this guy…let’s call him John 😉 came up again and started chatting.
At this point, I came to realize we had one big thing in common, he made video games and I did PR for E3Expo, the biggest video game industry event. It was nice chit chatting about that, but I wouldn’t say sparks flew then and there.
After the party, a big group decided to go get dinner. John went out of his way to sit next to me. He’ll tell you I was trying to sit next to his friend Jose…and he may be right. But I ended up next to John. At this point we were able to break past the party chit chat and I realized “Hey, this is a really good guy.” Super sweet, kind, funny and clearly into me, which is always flattering.
I later found out that just as I had walked into the party John’s friend Jose had asked him, “So what’s your type of girl?” John looked around and pointed to me said, “She’s my type.” No wonder he came right over. 😉
Cristi & John
That night he asked me for a date and said he’d call, and did the next day to schedule it. A few days later on June 11, we went for sushi. Now I must tell you, John had very recently purchased a brand new Mini Cooper and my friend Tania & I LOVED that car. So as we walked out to drive to the restaurant, he tossed me the keys and said “Wanna drive?” Of course I did!! So he let me. John will tell you and anyone who’s ever heard this story, that he “got me” with his car. Silly silly man.
The wait for a table was ridiculous, so we stood and chatted for forever about everything, work, life, love, hobbies, history. It all just flowed from waiting for the table to sitting down for sushi, which we both LOVE. It was just a really great date. And I went from not being sure if I was attracted to this “guy” to knowing I was attracted to John.
We were in our late 20s and sick of the dating games, so we even discussed and agreed “no games”… If you want to call, call, no waiting 3 days etc. We went out 2 nights later, and it was that night that I threw caution to the wind. For some crazy reason, I wasn’t afraid to say it first, and I told John I thought I loved him. Yes on date #2! I don’t even remember if he said it back right then, and I didn’t care. I just couldn’t believe I was having these feelings for a really wonderful man and wasn’t afraid in the least. It felt right, and obviously it was.
John & Cristi in Napa
We pretty much saw each other every day after that. We took a short trip to Napa to meet up with my parents after only dating about a month, and were ring shopping (and buying) about a month after that. At 3 1/2 months dating, John proposed on one knee surrounded by lit candles in his apartment. My answer was “Of course” which he thought was funny and cute. I suppose yes is the typical response but it just didn’t seem enough.
Fast forward 11 months later and we got married surrounded by about 70 friends and family at a lovely restaurant on the patio overlooking the marina in Marina del Rey, CA. Tania, my friend who threw the original singles party got ordained online so she could officiate our nuptials. It seemed only fitting, and we were so honored she agreed, not typically being a fan of public speaking.
As we said our emotional, personally written vows, the quiet was overwhelming. I cried with joy as I told John the things I had written…And then out of nowhere the Coast Guard yelled over the loudspeaker “Please slow your craft!!” to a speeding boat nearby. Everyone looked around in shock! And I jokingly said, “Yeah John, slow your craft.” All of us, and our guests burst out laughing. It was perfect. A never to be forgotten moment, of tears, joy, jokes and laughter right in the middle of our ceremony. We loved it.
The wedding was amazing and so much fun. And the honeymoon was even better. We actually got to go to Bora Bora, just like a fairy tale. My Aunt Marilyn (of Lighthouse Travel) booked the trip for us, and even though we paid for a garden bungalow, we got an over-water bungalow just because we asked. Seriously people, it never hurts to ask!
I find it funny looking back over our history when I realize that I actually thought John was annoying when I first met him. Just goes to show you that first impressions aren’t always correct. To be cliche, “You can’t judge a book by its cover”. Our book is only about 7 1/2 years long so far, but its been a pretty damn good one and I don’t wan to put it down. <3