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Wednesday, July 07, 2010

"Jon and Kelli: How We Met"

[Wedding Countdown: Three days. July 10, 2010.]

Earlier this week, I posted about my marriage proposal to Kelli -- a red ribbon, a happy "Yes!". Today, I thought I'd go back in time even further, and write about how we first met; what brought us together. Boy... meets girl.

Actually, as luck would have it, we both went to college together... at Wisconsin Lutheran College in Milwaukee, WI. I was studying Art and Theatre; she was a transfer student from Martin Luther College (MLC) in New Ulm, MN. Kelli was only in Milwaukee for a year (before returning to MLC); I was in the process of a four-year degree. Both of us had different interests, and rarely came in contact. We knew each other existed, we had some of the same friends, but that was about it.

As it would turn out, one of those mutual friends -- Kim -- would eventually become the wife of one of my roommates. Kim was in Kelli's circle of friends. And she was in mine. She was, quite literally, the reason we met.

Back in college, Kim hung out with her eventual husband and a few other friends of mine who were big into Star Trek/Star Wars role-playing. We'd get together on a Friday night, assume characters in either science fiction universe, and create thrilling adventures until late into the evening. It was what we did. For fun.

At one point, Kim even invited Kelli to join us. Unfortunately, Kelli wasn't all that interested. Such geeky-ness wasn't her cup of tea. So she declined. Little did she know, though, ten years later... she'd be marrying one of those geeky friends!

Time passed. Kelli returned to MLC, finished her teaching degree, and took a call to a small grade school in southwestern Michigan. I finished my art/theatre studies at Wisconsin Lutheran College, and remained in Milwaukee. Neither of us had contact with the other. In early 2008, however, fate came around full circle -- once again, through our mutual friend, Kim.

This time, Facebook was our connection. Kelli was connected to Kim, and over time, and through my interactions with Kim, I started noticing this cute young woman among her friends. I didn't realize who it was, though. Afterall, Kelli and I hadn't gotten to know each other back in college. To me, she was just one of Kim's friends.

As 2008 wore on, I started interacting with Kelli more often. We'd leave comments, join in the same discussions, share common interests on Facebook. Shortly after she took her teaching call up to Brillion, WI (summer of 2008), we rediscovered our college connection, and started getting to know each other a bit more. A friendship developed.

Now that Kelli was a Wisconsin teacher, her yearly state-wide Lutheran teacher's conference was held in Milwaukee -- not far from where I lived. In fall 2008, while she was attending that year's conference, she stopped at my apartment for a visit. We had a great time and decided to get together in person more often. As a result, our friendship grew.

Around Christmastime the next year (November 2009) Kelli came down to Milwaukee to do some shopping. She wanted to hang out with me, but we couldn't settle on an activity. Finally, I suggested that I just tag along as she did her shopping. She liked the idea, simple as it was, and so she shopped... and I kept her company.

That evening, after finishing her shopping early, we had some time to spare before she had to drive back north to her apartment in Brillion. She suggested a movie at the local movie theatre. We settled on the cute animated Disney robot romance, "W.A.L.L.-E."

The next day, Kelli and I spent some time talking. About our friendship, visits, the day before (shopping and "W.A.L.L.-E."), etc. And then it hit me. We... she and I... would make a great couple! A compatible romantic couple. Kelli had come to this realization well before I did, and was quietly enjoying my revelation, but she agreed. Dating was a great idea. We'd take our friendship to a romantic level, and see where it went from there.

Two months later, I proposed. And she said yes.

The rest... is history.

-Jon

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Jon Baas

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