We met in the Honors Lounge at Union University. Our first conversation was actually about Danielle's home state of Florida and the very strange coincidence that Ethan, from Scotland, had visited her home county of Palm Beach the previous year. We became friends over the course of freshman year and talked about honors-y subjects, Winnie the Pooh, Narnia, and Dietrich Bonhoeffer's Life Together - you know, the important things. Gradually, we started hanging out with a group of a few friends that has remained consistent throughout our time at college, some of whom you will see in our wedding party!
Over our winter break in 2020, we had the opportunity to meet one another's families and visit each other's home towns for the first time. We're so grateful for this because just a couple of months later, the world was in lockdown and we could have missed that chance until much later. Danielle flew to Scotland in early January, experiencing the beauty and dampness of Scotland for the first time. She loved being welcomed into the Judges' home in Irvine. We then both flew to Lake Worth, Florida, and spent a week with Danielle's family. Ethan was excited to see some of the places Danielle grew up in and was shocked when he got a sunburn on his feet in January!
In March 2020, when the world went into lockdown and we were left feeling a bit stranded, Danielle's roommate Emily Ann and her family, the Metcalfs, opened their doors to us and hosted us for quite some time. We are so thankful for their generosity and hospitality - they are like our Tennessee family! They live a short drive outside of the town of Dickson, and we spent hours every week walking the middle Tennessee country roads during lockdown. Middle Tennessee is a beautiful place and holds a special significance for us because of the time we spent getting to know their family and weathering some crazy times with them.
Ethan proposed at Du Bois Park in Jupiter, Florida, on December 16, 2020, while we were down visiting Danielle's family over winter break. We had a picnic lunch on the beach (Pub subs!) and then Danielle wanted to check out the historic house located at the park, so we walked up some steps to the top of the hill. (Wait...there are no hills in south Florida, you say. You'd be right. It's actually an ancient Native American shell mound that a house was built on top of in the 1890s.) As we were sitting on the porch of the house, Ethan said he had a question to ask. He got down on one knee and pulled out a small velvet box which he opened to reveal a beautiful ring with an aquamarine stone. Danielle was so excited to say "yes" she forgot which hand was her right and which was her left (which is not an unusual occurrence for her). After the two of us enjoyed the moment, we were eager to share the news with family. Ethan's family, in a time zone far far away, had been instructed to wait up to hear something exciting. We Skyped them, announced the news, and immediately afterward Danielle's phone died. Now phoneless, we managed to get back to Danielle's home (and to a phone charger) and share the good news with everyone. Then we went out for a nice dinner and talked about our exciting future!
We plan to stay in the Jackson area for at least the coming year as we figure out what God has for us next. Ethan is looking for jobs that would combine his intercultural skills and his love for ministering to people, and Danielle is on the lookout for positions as a high school English teacher or librarian.