Sunday, May 05, 2013

Laura and Sam are engaged! (Part I, by Sam)

To our friends and family: Many of you know only one of us; or only part of our tale. Though we'll certainly retell this many times, we wanted to ink it out for your benefit and curiosity. For those whom we care about, and who care about us. 

This is part I, written from my point of view. Here is Part II, from Laura's point of view.

Introduction at Stanford -- Apr 2007 to Dec 2008

How did we meet each other? We went to Stanford together. When exactly did we meet? Good question. The tangled answer is a fitting introduction to our friendship.

The first time I met Laura Brignone, it was spring 2007. At the time, six Stanford students were gathered in the common room of the Branner dorm, pretending to be five-year-olds. We were all tutors at an after-school program in Palo Alto, we were doing role-plays to practice crowd control, and I was leading them.

I don't remember meeting her there. 

The second time I met Laura, it was fall 2008. I was with my friend Anne Sophie at the Friday Night Waltz dance in Palo Alto. We both recognized Laura from church, but had never really talked. Apparently Laura was big into social dance, and we chatted a bit there.

She doesn't remember seeing me there.

What I Looked Like...

The first time I met Laura

The second time I met Laura
(good thing she gave me a second chance!)

In either case, we became friends, and would often walk back to our dorms from church together. I asked her if she wanted to go see the glass museum exhibit, little knowing that she was from Corning, the glass capital of the world. We went to my fraternity special dinner together.

I was smitten. It was really the conversation -- Laura had a habit of bringing up interesting counterarguments to what I said, and we would banter while wandering around the beautiful Stanford campus. 

But between me heading to India for two years for my mission in January 2009, and (I found out later) Laura not seeing me as anything more than a friend, nothing really happened. 

A correspondence friendship -- Jan 2009 to May 2012

India was amazing. Being a missionary means that for eighteen months or two years, you are meeting people, listening to their lives and situations and problems and trying to help them apply principles of the Gospel in their lives. It was incredibly hard work, and by both design and will, there's little time to keep up with friends at home.

March 2009, Chennai, India. Returning to apartment 9pm,
after long day in 100 degree heat and 100% humidity

As a result, Laura and I only exchanged a couple letters during the time I was in India. In October 2010, as I was preparing to return home, I dropped her a line by email, seeing if she was still around Stanford.

No, she said. I graduated. I'm actually getting ready to go on a mission of my own.

That's awesome, I thought. And I won't see you again for another year and a half. 

Over the next year, after I came back from India, I went on with life -- returned to Stanford, graduated, got a job in San Francisco, dated. But I wrote Laura almost every month, and she wrote me back.


February 16, 2012 was my sister Rachel's 21st birthday. I had decided to visit her. And so sitting on Rachel's couch, in her apartment north of Chicago, with some encouragement from Rachel and her roommate Bethany, I decided to pen a different kind of letter. The previous ones had been written as a friend. The message here: Laura, I've liked you for a long time.

Laura's subsequent letters were as friendly as the ones prior. She noted that she had received my letter, but didn't comment on the romantic content.

In May, she returned from her mission to her home in Corning, NY.

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