A Peace Corps Love Story

Last Thursday afternoon in Addis Ababa, Ryan proposed! I realize that I haven’t properly introduced my now-fiancé to my blog audience, so I thought I’d do a sort of FAQ to answer a lot of questions you all may have.

Lora and Ryan at Timket

Photo during Timket in Gondar

1. Who is he?

His name is Ryan, a fellow Peace Corps Volunteer that arrived in Ethiopia a year before me. His service officially ended in December, but he extended for a third year to be with me (and you know, because he has a pretty awesome job). He’s a fellow Texan and we had to go halfway around the world to meet, but it has definitely been worth it!

2. How did you meet?

We met the afternoon of my swearing in as a Peace Corps Volunteer on December 14, 2012. My group was sworn in outside the Ambassador’s residence at the US Embassy in Addis Ababa, followed by a short reception. I was standing in the food line for seconds (or thirds) eating a dessert (to be fair, it was the first time I’d seen American food and desserts in almost three months!) when he walked up behind me in line and started talking to me. I was intrigued by him, so that night when some of my group went out to celebrate and he came along, we were able to get to know each other better. Several weeks later, we had our “first” date and the rest is history!

Cold date night photo!

Cold (and blurry) date night photo in Bahir Dar

3. How did he propose?

Ryan and I had a trip to Addis planned in order to take the Foreign Service Officer Test (more in a later blog post on this!). On Thursday afternoon he’d arranged an Embassy tour for us under the premise of seeing what working in an Embassy would be like. Our Peace Corps Country Director’s wife kindly acted as our escort and tour guide, and towards the end of the tour Ryan asked if I’d like to take a walk in the gardens where we met next to the Ambassador’s residence. We got back into a secluded area and when he asked me to marry him and dropped to one knee, I started crying and after a few seconds realized I hadn’t said anything and said, “Yes, yes, of course I’ll marry you!” I cried, we hugged and laughed, and as we walked out the Ambassador sent a member of her staff out with a surprise and hand-written note congratulating us on our engagement!

4. Did you know he was going to propose?

Yes and no. We had talked about it prior to him going back to America for his home leave, but while he was there he bought the ring ANd visited my parents in my hometown to ask for their blessing. So yes, I knew that it was coming at some point. However, I definitely not expect this past weekend… however airport security ruined that for him by forcing him to check his bag and I saw the ring box in his pocket. But all of that said and done, he still managed to surprise me with the time and place!

5. When’s the wedding?

We have no idea! Right now we are focusing on finishing up our Peace Corps services and will worry about it once we get back to the States (or whever we end up). With limited internet and phone service at my site, it’s really difficult to stay connected with family and friends back home, not to mention the stress of trying to plan a wedding from afar! So for now we are just going to focus on being engaged and enjoying that for awhile.