We met in 2002 at Suncoast Motion Picture Company, the old movie store in the Grand Traverse Mall that used to be next to Hot Topic. I worked there part time while Matt worked at the movie theater. Most days, he would stop by Suncoast and join our mutual friend, Erin McCleaster, for dinner in the food court. Sometimes while he waited for Erin to get her things, we'd chat, and soon discovered a mutual interest in Anime. I'll never forget the day Matt stopped by with a video copy he'd made me of the original Japanese language copy of the Studio Ghibli film, Spirited Away, which hadn't been released in the United States yet. I was impressed beyond all measure, and from then on counted him a friend.
Our paths crossed again throughout the year. We both arrived alone to a Kiyoshi Nagata Ensemble concert around Christmas at the Dennos Museum, and happily spent the evening chatting and enjoying the concert.
The real romance started when we all (several people from Suncoast and other mutual friends) attended Anime Central in Chicago together. Matt and I carpooled down with Crystal, so in addition to the long drive, we spent much of the convention together. While there, I realized that he was not seeing Erin, and the mutual attraction became clear.
On May 19th, 2003, after the long drive home from the convention to Traverse City, when I dropped him off at his parents' house, Matt asked me to date him, and our relationship began to take shape.
We were still together when I left to study abroad in Japan in Fall of 2003. The long separation strengthened our bond as we spoke frequently (and racked up astronomical phone bills), discovered more interests we shared, and got to know each other better.
The years between then and now were rocky and tumultuous. Our on-again, off-again relationship faced difficult periods of separation as I completed college in Kalamazoo, spent another year abroad in Japan, and moved to Novi, Michigan for a job. I finally returned to Traverse City in early 2010, bought my house, and asked Matt to live with me. It turned out that living together was the key element our relationship had been missing (as well as life experience and maturity), and it was then that we realized we wanted to make this last a lifetime.
On May 19th, 2012, Matt proposed to me. We are both looking forward to having everyone join us on May 19th, 2013, our ten year dating anniversary and our wedding day!