The first time I met B, he had skateboarded by and then came trotting back to introduce himself. I left the brief exchange thinking there was something vaguely familiar about him. It took me a few minutes to realize what it was. I turned to S and exclaimed, “That guy totally looks like a dinosaur!”

Fortunately for B, I was obsessed with dinosaurs as a child. In kindergarten when my teacher asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I replied “a paleontologist” because I wanted to spend my life digging for dinosaur bones.

Fast forward through seven years of dating—four of which have been long-distance and three of those agonizingly international long-distance (not recommended, my friends)—to the last Friday night of 2013. I returned home from work to see B sitting on my bed wearing a snazzy knit tie and a sheepish smile. After weeks of mysteriously promising to visit me in San Diego, he had finally appeared.

“Surprise! Open your Christmas present,” he said, handing me a wrapped gift.

Inside was a photo book he had created entitled A Dinosaur Love Story, which documented some of our relationship highlights in words as well as photographed scenes reenacted by, of course, dinosaurs. We read down memory lane together, reliving moments like sharing a first kiss at the top of the Eiffel Tower and eating too many snacks at the drive-in movie theater. It was a wonderfully nostalgic journey that took us though years of memories to the last page of the book—a picture of a dinosaur with a ring in its mouth.

B then got down on one knee, uttered a few sweet words that I don’t remember, and slipped the ring on my finger.

Cheers to dinosaurs, love, dinosaur love, and finally being back on the same continent. Together. Forever!

And now the world will see all my life stages in my hodgepodge room:DCIM100GOPRO DCIM100GOPROLots of laughs. DCIM100GOPROIt was quite a long book.DCIM100GOPRODinosaurs are silly. DCIM100GOPROWhat is he reaching for…?DCIM100GOPROOh snap.DCIM100GOPRONose scrunchies.DCIM100GOPROSparkly!DCIM100GOPROT-Rex arms.DCIM100GOPROWe’re engaged!DCIM100GOPROI finally noticed the stealthy camera.DCIM100GOPROHappily ever after continues.

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Girls.

May 3, 2013

Even though I loved The Little Mermaid growing up and Ariel was my chosen Disney princess in childhood, my favorite toys were still a blue Jeep and a pouch of plastic dinosaurs. I wasn’t the girliest and in fact, by kindergarten, I had decided I wanted to be a paleontologist so I could devote my life to excavating dino bones and fossils. And obsidian arrowheads (which I totally headstarted on during recess). I was so cool.

L and K could not be more different in their interests. After our paper elephant safari, this is how we spent the rest of the slumber party:

Sleepover 014We dressed and stylishly fashioned our baby dolls.

Sleepover 017It’s all about the shoes.

Sleepover 018Then we took turns playing “Princess.”

Sleepover 023Of COURSE we painted our fingernails.

Sleepover 025And for dinner, we had “magic pancakes”
(flapjacks infused with rainbow sprinkles).

Sleepover 026“I love eating sparkles.”-Direct quote from K.

Sleepover 028Then we snuggled into bed in our satin Princess nightgowns and watched Tangled.
With our pink stuffed unicorns. And there was pink popcorn involved.

Excuse me, I’m off to rough up in a few mud puddles.

It started out with six of us, our Sunday nights, and Hot Monkey Love. The club, that is. We’d squeeze into one car and drive all the way down to El Cajon, making sure to arrive in time for the free lessons. The instructor always had the most flamboyant wide-legged pants, but his forgiving teaching style warranted the overlook on that point. We never forgot to go with an even number of girls and guys, so no one would get stuck dancing with a creeper. And, of course, as night owl college students in their prime, late-night taco runs afterwards were a must.

Man, I miss those days.

Slowly, our group swelled to include more friends, more sweaty palms, and more tacos. Since this was around the time B started doing his wooing dance in earnest, he naturally began tagging along on our salsa excursions as well.

Secretly, I was relieved to have a default dance partner even if his ultra-spazzy spins were kind of overwhelming. Not to mention, I was impressed that he as an Asian guy was so willing to put forth such a dancing effort. But I persisted in my denial that there was chemistry or that he even liked me at all (despite having gone on several dates already). I was moving to Spain for a year in a matter of weeks, and this was not the time to be inciting anything.

After a few uptempo songs and even more hip shakes, B led me out into the waiting room lounge for a break. We plopped down on a cushioned sofa and there on the coffee table immediately in front of us was a dinosaur encyclopedia. Otherwise known as a divine appointment. Nerdy banter and too many corny T-Rex jokes had us laughing sheepishly and relishing the ease of natural company.

Eventually, the salsa beats returned (this was pre-Bachata days for us) and we slunk back onto the dance floor. Settling into the basic step with some interspersed turns suddenly felt really comfortable and familiar. This is nice, I thought to myself. Really nice. I looked up to steal a glance of B’s face, and there he was gazing at me with this aloof smile worth a million bucks.

Every defense came crumbling down and I felt myself melting into a puddle of resignation. Fine, I like this guy. A lot. I finally let myself admit that we worked really well together, and that I could see a future in this dinosaur business.

That was a defining moment in our relationship. I will never forget it. Those pearly whites and the crinkly eyes. Sigh.

They still get me.

Dinosaur Love: The Pursuit

December 8, 2011

[Long-distance stinks. Sometimes recounting stories is what I need to do to stay sane.]

My sophomore year in college, I shared an apartment with an RA and two other InterVarsity freshmen Bible Study leaders. It goes without saying that Earth Hall South 213 was a social hub with a constant stream of people flowing in and out at all hours.

B was just one in a sea of faces that year to frequent the apartment. I always thought it was strange that he would show up whenever my apartmentmates were gone (since I presumed he was there to visit them), and though I didn’t exactly consider us friends per say, I would feel obligated to entertain him nonetheless. I remember having many an awkward conversation all the while hoping he would hurry up and leave so I could continue with whatever it was I was doing before he arrived. Cruel, I know, but I was busy that year!

G and S would tease me about his consistent and recurrent visits, but I brushed their insinuations off as implausible. After all, I barely knew the guy. Amidst never-ending MMW papers, Dollar Scoop Tuesdays at Baskin and Robbins, investing in my ERC freshmen, and all the responsibilities of ministry, I had no time to draw conclusions about a certain individual’s regular habits much less think about romantic interests.

Sure, we spent a fair amount of time together thanks to Dorm Team, but then again, our entire group of leaders spent a lot of time together. There was nothing out-of-the-ordinary in it for me. Finally, as the year drew to a close, the whispers got louder and many friends started blatantly giggling whenever B and I were in any sort of near proximity. I was still completely clueless and very perplexed about the sudden uprising of commentary. As I pondered the source of all this, I started to realize how compatible we were and how much I did enjoy spending time with B.

We were always the ones left in the kitchen washing dishes and cleaning up after big events. Most of our conversations were impassioned dialogues about world injustices and how we should solve them (the others were about junk food; in retrospect, how did I not immediately notice we were a match made in heaven?). He was pretty stinking witty, and of all the things I didn’t notice throughout the year, I never forgot that he looked very much like a dinosaur. I liked dinosaurs.