It was April 2012. Tracy was in her PhD program at Northwestern, and Andrew was living and working in Los Angeles. Andrew and his friends made plans to visit their buddy from high school, Jon Lesser, who happened to be one of Tracy’s new friends in Chicago. Andrew arrived late on a Thursday, a night before the rest of his friends, but was eager to get out and start enjoying the city right away. As it was a weeknight, Jon could only get one other person to join them for drinks, and that was Tracy. They all went to Lady Gregory’s, a pub in Andersonville, and much to Jon’s dismay Andrew and Tracy started flirting immediately.
Tracy spent most of the weekend going back and forth between grading and hanging out with the group, and Andrew spent most of the weekend wondering when he was going to get to see Tracy next.
Over the course of the weekend the spark kept getting brighter, until it culminated with Tracy performing “One Way or Another” at live band karaoke, at which point Andrew knew he had to see her again. He half jokingly suggested that she should fly out to LA to see him, and she bought a ticket shortly after.
The first trip wasn’t scheduled until July (more than 3 months after they met), but they still communicated almost every day. After months of anticipation Tracy finally flew out, and they both spent most of the weekend sick. While unfortunate, they made the most of their time and couldn’t wait to see each other again.
After that first visit, the time between trips started getting shorter and shorter until Tracy and Andrew were seeing each other every few weeks. They tried to keep things interesting, so they planned weekends not only in Chicago and Los Angeles but also in places ranging from New York and San Francisco to Sonoma and even Rome. Through all the adventures, it became harder and harder for them to imagine a life without the other. This was particularly true after one memorable trip to San Francisco when Andrew said I love you to Tracy while he was falling asleep but didn’t remember having said it the next morning, leaving Tracy to spend the entire day figuring out how to refresh his memory. (She succeeded.)
Finally, Andrew and Tracy sat down to have the exciting talk about the future of their relationship. Things went horribly wrong, with Andrew exclaiming, “What, am I just going to move to Chicago?!” and Tracy saying that she needed a break. After the longest two-day break in history, they started talking again and only a few weeks later decided - during a tearful and joyous weekend in Chicago - that they were done with long distance and ready to start spending forever together.
After nearly 2 ½ years of long-distance dating, Andrew moved to Chicago in July 2014. The happiest of tears poured from Tracy’s eyes upon seeing Andrew arrive at Midway Airport, and Andrew knew that moving to Chicago to be together was the best decision he had ever made.
Tracy and Andrew spent 4 wonderful years in Chicago together. Every day felt new and exciting, and they woke up every morning feeling grateful to live in the same place. Eventually - two apartments, hundreds of bars and restaurants, and 400+ attempts to win the Hamilton lottery later - Tracy got a professor job at the University of Utah that was too good to pass up. Excited to rekindle their love of hiking and backpacking, they packed up their things and moved across country to start the next chapter of their life.
Only a week after arriving in Salt Lake City, Tracy and Andrew embarked on a road trip up to Glacier National Park in Montana. On the first night, they stopped in Swan River State Forest, about 45 minutes outside of Glacier. After a five-mile drive down a dirt road, they discovered a quaint campsite right along the river, with a beautiful view of the sunset and virtually no other campers in sight. They were ready to eat after almost 10 hours of driving, so they quickly started to prepare dinner. During the preparations, Andrew kept looking at the car with a concerned look on his face. Tracy, not noticing the concerned look - or any of the looking for that matter - was just wondering why Andrew wasn’t really helping with dinner.
Then he hesitantly spoke: “Hey Trace, don’t freak out, but I’m a little worried about the car. I think we have a flat tire.”
Walking over to the car, Andrew got down on one knee to inspect it. Tracy did a surprisingly excellent job of staying calm in the face of calamity.
Tracy strolled over to view the tire when Andrew pulled her close. “.....Okay, there’s actually nothing wrong with the car. I want to spend the rest of my life with you... Will you marry me?” (Note: This part might be paraphrased.)
Tracy, mostly relieved that the tire wasn’t flat, said yes. Tears of joy once again commenced, with the sunset behind them and a lifetime full of love and adventures ahead of them. They drank Sudden Wisdom rye, cuddled through a delicious picnic dinner, and began to daydream about the awesome party they were going to throw to celebrate their marriage with their wonderfully supportive and always amazing friends and family.