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Ana & John

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Welcome | Hoşgeldiniz

Ana

Bowe

and

John

İnanç

September 28, 2024

Wilmington, DE

Our Stories

Once you eventually get me (Ana) talking, I never shut up so here are more details than you asked for about our love story. John is cringing knowing people may actually read this.

How we met…

Early September 2013, John and I arrived to Paderno del Grappa, Italy, for a semester abroad. While John was traveling from Turkey, I was navigating three trains from Rome to the small northern town alone with a pocket Italian dictionary and an inability to roll R’s, a skill I’ve yet to master. It was my first time in Europe - all of the confidence and none of the travel skills. The first three days of the study abroad program were filled with an intensive leadership development training where the 50 American students were split into two groups. Although John and I were in separate groups, I was paired with one of his best friends from University of Delaware, Emily. I knew I wanted to travel with her for the first travel break rapidly approaching and offered to plan a trip for a few people. Peers I hadn’t yet met expressed interest in joining and shared their budget requirements like I was their personal travel agent. Attempting to be inclusive (+ people pleasing tendencies), I adjusted the itinerary to meet everyone’s needs. Right after a girl asked to reduce the budget again (resulting in a 20+ hour travel day vs. a 4-hour one), John approached to see what had been planned and ask if he could join. What unfortunate timing. Not even introducing myself (in my defense, he knew who I was since he sought me out), I said something like, “you can join, but I’m not planning or booking anything for anyone else so you’ll have to do everything on your own” (perhaps a forewarning that I felt very comfortable with him since I save my attitude for my dad and brother). His expressive eyebrows revealed his taken aback reaction. Luckily, Emily reassured him I must have been stressed and am typically kind (thanks, Em).

How we started dating…

The following three years (yes, you read that correctly) were filled with a lot of explaining that we’re just friends even though we talked on the phone every day sometimes multiple times per day. Summer 2016 marked the tipping point of when the courage to express our feelings outweighed the fear of losing each other as friends - specifically on vacation in Croatia with our friend Katie, who thankfully studied psychology because she secretly served as a therapist for both of us on the trip. Having been my friend for years, John knew I can be overly optimistic (Ana Land as we call it) and felt the responsibility to ensure we were both very serious about dating. During our shared layover before he went to Turkey and I went back to the US, we made a risk/benefit analysis of dating and agreed to take the next two weeks apart to reflect and imagine our future. Before even leaving the airport, I texted all my friends to share that John and I had officially started dating and will probably get married in Croatia, so I clearly followed the plan… two weeks later, John greeted me with a kiss to which I responded, “I’m so happy you’ll be in my life forever…also I already told everyone we’re together.”

How he proposed…

John asked for ring inspo soon after we moved to NYC for my grad school in summer 2018. I reacted with “Please do not propose until after I graduate in 2020.” Time stopped and all of a sudden, it was August 2022. Having been in San Diego a little over a year, we wanted to explore Santa Barbara. I booked an airbnb, concert tickets (for the band Rebelution…classic Ana music choice), and dinner reservations for the four-day trip. I kept calling the weekend getaway ‘John’s birthday trip,’ and he played along while secretly researching potential proposal spots. We arrived on a Thursday, and he planned to propose on Friday afternoon at the Botanic Gardens. I was perfectly dressed in a white dress, my unofficial uniform, until I looked up pictures of the gardens and realized hiking was involved. John didn’t want to cause suspicion so let me change into my sporty outfit, which luckily wasn’t very sporty, allowing for the post-proposal pics he knew I’d want. We walked to the top of a hill where we could see the Channel Islands in the distance on the clear summer day. John suggested for me to pose for pics with the beautiful views, and I eagerly obliged. I turned around to see him on his knee and yelled, “It’s happening now?!” (I was certain it would happen during an international trip later that year). I blacked out out of excitement, but he assures me he eloquently expressed his love. We then debriefed his adventure to find the perfect ring while wandering the gardens. This is my statement of apology to all that were involved in that hunt. The annual festival La Fiesta happened to be going on, making it very easy to celebrate all weekend long. We filled our time with drinking all the (natural) bubbly, touring the other potential proposal spots (beaches and hot springs), and dancing to Spanish music in the streets and reggae music at the concert (the original excuse to even go to Santa Barbara). I’m grateful to have a reason to return to such a beautiful place for future anniversaries.

To be continued…

SEE YOU AT THE WEDDING (hopefully)!!

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