I was in Texas and Zach was in Florida on leave with his parents. A mutual friend of ours, Keely Agnini, gave me Zach's information. I had remembered that Keely had a friend who was serving in the military across the Atlantic in Italy, and Keely mentioned that he was cute and single, so I asked her if I could have his Snapchat or if she could give him my Snapchat. The next day, we made our first Facetime call where Zach was working on his car and hit his head on the hood after seeing me, his words not mine. The rest is history!
We are not the average couple. After starting to officially become boyfriend and girlfriend on July 10th, 2021, we started the long countdown to when Zach was going to come home next. It was a normal military relationship with the not talking for a few days at a time because Zach was in the field training, a six-hour time difference, and him going to countries that did not have cell service. Once he even hiked up a mountain to get service to call me for 20 minutes. We still made it work and fell in love in the process. When he finally flew home and his parents picked him up from the airport on December 18th in Tampa, the clock started ticking. He left from his house in Punta Gorda at 10:30 pm and finally arrived at my house at 2:45 am. We had finally met each other in person. We both had fears we wouldn't live up to what the other one was expecting, but it was all thrown out the window when we made eye contact and gave each other our first hug. Zach always says he knew I was the person he fell in love with when he saw me standing at the end of my second driveway in Grinch pajama pants, purple crocs, and a fuzzy sweater.
Like I have said before Zach and I have a military relationship. That means he and I must wait a long six months between military leave to see each other. During Zach’s December leave we decided to plan a trip where I would go to Italy to see him and we could go to his battalion’s military ball together. We bought my flight ticket just to find out Russia invaded Ukraine and Zach’s battalion was on call to deploy at any time. This meant my trip was cancelled. We moved my flight to the end of March so we could still see each other before I took my college exams. On that trip, Zach was planning to propose. He had bought the ring, asked my parents and grandmother for their blessings, and he had everything planned out and ready to go. On February 23rd, 2022, Zach and his battalion were called to deploy. Zach and I were preparing ourselves for this, and he called me at 4 am to tell me he loves me and that he will talk to me soon. Soon turned out to be five days later, I finally get a call from him telling me he is safe and in the country of Latvia. He found out a few days after he deployed that the ring arrived in Italy a few hours after he left for Latvia. He was deployed until May 26th, 2022, which meant my trip was cancelled, again, and we had to wait the six months anyway. I finally picked him up from the airport in Tampa on July 2nd, 2022, and he proposed on July 4th. Zach managed to keep a majority of the proposal a surprise. He asked a friend of his to take pictures of the special moment and took me to one of his favorite parks in Punta Gorda. When he was leading up to asking the big question, I got distracted by this huge sea sponge behind him, in the bay water. When I told him to look, he had a very confused look on his face, and was pleasantly surprised to find a “fairly large sea sponge” in the water behind him. He thought that I was avoiding the question. He eventually got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I, of course, said yes.