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The Proposal
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How He Asked

Although we had already been together for a few years in Colorado, around this time last year we were living far apart. First I (Tandena) moved 500 miles west to start working as a botanist in Idaho. I loved my time in Twin Falls, where I got to camp in remote areas every week and study ecology in many different habitats. Meanwhile, Jackson graduated from college in Boulder and was hired by a microsatellite company called SpaceQuest. He moved 1,500 miles east to their headquarters in Virginia. Chances to visit each other were slim, but during labor day weekend, I reworked my schedule and flew out to visit for four days. There wasn’t much time to spare, but I was intent on seeing the apartment (it was perfect), the DC metro (super cool), and Jackson (I love him).

Jackson also had his own plans for my visit. He knew I would be thrilled to see the National Arboretum - it is the perfect mix of botany and wilderness for me. On the day we went, he packed a picnic lunch with a summery pasta salad, fresh fruit, and some cookies for dessert. He even brought wine glasses to complete the romantic outing. We found a spot on a hill, and sat in the shade together enjoying the perfect weather.

Afterwards we walked down to a chinese-style Pagoda amid a botanical garden on the far side of the park. There Jackson stopped me, and pulled out the little blue leather box he had kept hidden. He asked me, right there, if I would marry him, showing me the beautiful ring. I was overwhelmed with what was happening, and it was all I could do to hug him and say “yes”!