HOW WE MET
(The following conversation took place on June 30th, 2018 over wine and charcuterie in AL & CHRISS’s apartment in D.C. Everything is MOSTLY word-for-word)
CHRISS - Bride
AL - Groom
CHARLAÉ - Moderator / Maid of Honor
VINCE - Friend/Photographer who captured AL's proposal to CHRISS
CHARLAÉ: Just going back in history, I would love to hear the story of how you two met.
CHRISS: So I’ll go…
AL: Yes. Alright. Ladies first.
CHRISS: So, in 2014, my best friend (CHARLAÉ) and I have been best friends for about 15 years or something like that. And she was like “Girrrl, we need to go somewhere!” and I was like “Yeah, girrrl! Let’s go somewhere!” So we were trying to decide where to go. And the lovely moderator here was going on a trip to Mexico anyway for one her colleague’s wedding. So I had the idea of like, well, I’ll just come along. I’ll just chill on the beach. I don’t want to have to crash the wedding or anything like that. But I’ll just come to Mexico and do all this stuff and you can go to the wedding. And long story short, she lets the bride know that she’s bringing someone along. And she was like “Of course she can come to the wedding!” So, I get my dress… I’m planning to go to the wedding. I remember being nervous about what to wear ’cause I’m like “Ugggh, I don’t want to stand out ’cause I don’t know these people. But at the same time, I want to look very nice ’cause I don’t know these people.”
CHRISS: So I put a lot of thought into my dress. I ended up finding a perfect dress at like a consignment shop—like something really reasonable. And I pack up my bags, I fly down to Mexico, and Charlaé is flying from California…so we couldn’t fly together. And I get there like 2 or 3 hours before you...
(Looking in CHARLAÉ’s direction to confirm. CHARLAÉ nods in agreement)
CHRISS: And so I’m freaking out. Because this had to be the first time traveling internationally by myself, you know. And so I’m seeing all these people shouting out things in Spanish at me…and trying to give me things. And I’m like “Noooooo, I don’t want anything pleeeeease!!! Nooooo!!! No! No! No! No! I don’t want it!”
(CHRISS and CHARLAÉ chuckling together)
CHRISS: So ummm—
AL: Did you actually say anything in Spanish?
CHRISS: No, I don’t think so. I spoke in English. I diverted eye contact and found the nearest bar…
(CHRISS and CHARLAÉ chuckle)
CHRISS: …and waited for Charlaé there.
(AL and VINCE nodding…following along with the story CHRISS is telling)
CHRISS: So we get there, and for me, it’s just a girls’ trip…it’s a vacation. It’s beautiful; we have this beautiful hotel room, we’re at this beautiful property, and it’s just me and her…we’re just doing our grown-up thing, spending time on the beach, ordering cocktails and all of that. I had no concept that I would meet anybody there—like NONE whatsoever. It was the furthest thing from my mind…because in my mind, I had my whole social life going on in DC. I wasn’t even thinking about trying to meet somebody…anywhere.
(VINCE and CHARLAÉ bow heads down in giggling and chuckling)
CHRISS: So, fast forward, Charlaé and I spend a lot of time together. And the day before the wedding—no, the night before the wedding … we go to a bar to meet the rest of the wedding guests… and the wedding party, and the bride and groom.
CHRISS: I may not have been the most—
I might have had a slight case of “resting bitch face” for that evening… And, at some point, I remember there being a glimpse of just seeing—
(CHRISS collects her thoughts and continues…)
CHRISS: there was this tall, dark-skinned dude…with a fedora, and sunglasses on... at night…
(VINCE laughing, shaking his head. AL nodding with a sense of pride)
CHRISS: So I’m just like “Ok!” (Shrugs shoulders) “He’s somebody.”
(CHARLAÉ laughing, being able to recall that evening)
CHRISS: I didn’t even think too long about it. It was me being kinda like “Oh! He’s probably here with one of these women that are here. That’s fine.” You know, kinda just moving along.
(CHRISS takes a deep breath transitioning… CHARLAÉ shaking head in laughter… AL with big smile on his face)
CHRISS: So the next day comes—the actual wedding—and I see him walking down the aisle. And I’m like “Wait, what’s happening?” And then I realized that he is co-officiating the wedding, and I’m like “Oh! This is a cool gesture. He must be close to the bride or the groom. That’s really cool…” Still not thinking much of it… and then after the ceremony, I feel like I see him… and he has on a hat… he has on this really cool, light tan hat. And I’m still not thinking too much of it. And then the next thing I remember is Charlaé nudging me and being like “Christine, what about Al?” And I’m like “What about him?”—
CHRISS: I’m thinking “First of all, who is that? And what are you asking me about him? What are you inquiring here?”
(CHARLAÉ sighing… shaking her head… giggling…)
CHRISS: Still thinking “What do you mean ‘What about Al?’” Because it never even occurred to me that he was not taken, or, you know, not from California, or just all these different barriers that would have prevented me from dating him in the first place.
(CHRISS takes deep breath. Continues…)
CHRISS: So, time goes on… we’re at the cocktail hour… I don’t really remember seeing him… and if I did, I might have caught a glimpse of him in the corner of my eye… where we were all mingling. And then I remember being at the reception… and for the most part, Charlaé and I are together. There are times where we split up, and I’m kinda just walking and she’s off doing her thing. And it’s just a fun night. We’re all mingling and mixing… and I remember being like “Oh! I haven’t had anything sweet! I want to go try the desserts.” Because they had a beautiful dessert display… everything had already been so good and I was eager to try the dessert. I remember walking over to the dessert table, and Charlaé was already talking to Al so I thought “Oh! That’s cool.” I’m thinking maybe they know each other… because I had no idea if he maybe he worked at Google, if he was— I had no idea. And so I remember being at the dessert table, and both Al and I are getting desserts. And he’s like “I don’t think we’ve had a chance to meet…” And I’m thinking in my head you KNOW we haven’t had a chance to meet…
(CHARLAÉ and Vince burst into laughter… AL with a big grin eagerly waiting to tell his side)
CHRISS: That’s so funny because I STILL get on him for things like that even today. But anyway, he’s like “I don’t think we’ve had a chance to meet. I’m Al.” and he puts his hand out. “I’m Christine. Nice to meet you,” I reply. And then I tell him “You did a great job officiating.” And he says “Thank you. Yeah…you know… it’s kinda cool because for all intents and purposes, English is my second language.” And then he goes on to tell me how he was born here, moved to Ghana when he was 3, and moved back to the U.S. when he was 6… and how people used to make fun of his accent. And I immediately told him how I had moved from Jacksonville to Detroit when I was younger, and how I was like—for a whole year—really teased for my accent. So I just shared that little anecdote with him. And it was like a lightbulb went on behind his eyes! And he was like “YEAH!!!”
(AL nodding in corroboration)
CHRISS: It was like he felt understood and really seen. And me—not thinking too much of it—I’m thinking sure, we have a commonality. That’s great. So, he and I, at some point, separate throughout the night. But somehow, we end up standing next to each other. And I remember there being a song on… and I just kinda like—just trying to see how cool he was. Is he gonna dance? Is he gonna be stiff, or what?—kinda like leaned over to him… and we started dancing. And the next thing I know we were like full blown…middle school…. He was all behind me, and I all was bent over. We were really dancing for real.
(CHRISS, CHARLAÉ and VINCE in constant laughter as CHRISS is recalling her interaction with AL. AL looking flushed… shaking head… grinning)
CHRISS: We were really getting it in…out of nowhere! And, the couples’ parents were around… we didn’t mind! We were just having a great time.
CHRISS: And then the night progressed and ummm… I remember having to leave early the next morning… I needed some cash for the cab. So I asked him if he knew how to get to the ATM… and he told me he knew about an ATM. It was down the street…
CHRISS: Oh! So at some point it started getting chilly, and everyone was starting to disperse. But I remember him asking me if I was cold and I told him no. And then maybe a few minutes later, I remember him putting his jacket over my shoulders, and I was like “ohhhhh!!!” because I was cold at that point; like I was starting to get a little chilly. And the fact that he intuited that enough to (internally) be like “You know what, I don’t think you’re good. So I’m gonna help you out” you know… I felt like that was a really sweet gesture.
(Picks back up on ATM story...)
CHRISS: So I gave him back his jacket and I went to go look for the ATM and I couldn’t find it. And so as I’m walking back to the hotel, he’s coming out of the lobby of the hotel and meets me… and was like “Oh! I was just coming out to find you because I wasn’t sure if you knew how to get to the ATM.” Well, I didn’t so this was perfect timing. So then, he walks me over to the ATM, I get my cash, and then he walks me back in the opposite direction towards our hotel—
(Speaks towards CHARLAÉ)
CHRISS: I think we went to look for you a little bit more…but then we figured you probably went back to our hotel.
CHRISS: So, he walks me to the hotel. There’s this whole ordeal where we walk in through the gate… and there’s this dog just lying there. And we don’t know if he’s gonna attack us or what… But he didn’t… he was cool. And then Al drops me off at the room door, we exchanged email addresses, and that was it.
CHRISS: I think earlier at some point, we both figured out that we were on the east coast… We also— you know, that night was one of those nights where it was like we had sooo much time. Like, there was time for everything. There is a whole segment that I completely left out…
CHARLAÉ: You didn’t say anything about the roof!
CHRISS: Exactly!!! That felt like a whole separate episode. I was just thinking about that! We had time to go up to his room and to the rooftop of his room, and sit out there and just talk and laugh… and I remember thinking—well of course we had been drinking—but I remember feeling so safe and comfortable with this man that I had never met before or seen before and there was never a question of my safety…which is a really big thing. We were so flirty and the chemistry was so good; and we had these funny moments where he thought he had seen a shooting star and I was like “That’s not a shooting star…that’s a bat!”
(CHARLAÉ bursts out in laughter)
CHRISS: And he as like “Noooo…that’s a shooting star!” And yeah— ’cause there were shooting stars… But I was like “Noooo…that’s a bat!” And by the time he figured out it was a bat, we were running down the stairs to get off the roof because it’s starting to get close to us. And I’m like “They can’t see. They could run right into us!!!”
(Group laughter…AL blushing with embarrassment)
CHRISS: So we had to run off the roof and all that. So I mean… That night, it just encompassed so many different small instances of me seeing his character, and me experiencing his sense of humor, and experiencing his sense of adventure. So it was a well-rounded first meeting. We had plenty of time to really establish something. And that was the first night we met. So… yeah… it has continued after that.
(CHRISS smiling. Pensive, reflective demeanor… Deep breaths)
CHRISS: So that’s my side of the story. I went for my girl. I had no intention of meeting anybody…especially somebody who also lived on the east coast, who was single, who was looking to mingle, my age---near my age…much older than me.
CHARLAÉ: I mean… he’s not much older than you.
AL: (Shaking head) Thank you! THANK YOU!!! Rude… Unbelievable…
CHRISS: Old enough!
AL: You know...ummm… more seasoned!!!
CHARLAÉ: (In agreement) Yessssss!!!
(CHARLAÉ nodding head in laughter. CHRISS retorts.)
CHRISS: Someone distinguished… who can mentor me… and like, really be a father figure!!!
(CHARLAÉ bursts out into laughter)
CHARLAÉ: You really took it there!
AL: Uhhh huh… Who’s your daddy?!... Unbelievable…
(More laughter… followed by sighs… CHARLAÉ steers group back on track)
CHARLAÉ: Al, do you want to share your side of the story?
CHRISS: Does he?!?!?!!!
AL: I can’t wait!
AL: Yeah… So… My side is definitely different… Ummmm... So—
CHARLAÉ: Wait! First a background question... When you went to the wedding, did you have any expectation or plan that you might meet somebody there that you would like?
AL: No. So to rewind, I knew I was going to be officiating Dan and Nathania’s wedding in August of 2014. But I remember when Dan and Nat had asked Mike and me to officiate the wedding—Mike is a good friend of mine, with whom I went to Wesleyan. Over the years, we’ve become better and better friends—so yeah, when he asked us to officiate the wedding, I was skeptical. I almost said no because for me, if it had entailed doing work during the reception, I was out.
(CHARLAÉ laughing and nodding)
AL: Yeah, I was out. I wasn’t going to fly all the way to Mexico, with a chance to experience all the things they have to offer, and needing to be on call for something during the reception. So I would have been out. I would have said no. But Dan and Nathania, they explained that we would just be officiating the ceremony, and I’m like “Ok… Cool. We’ll do it. No problem.” Meanwhile, during that time, I was going through a really interesting funk because it was a time I really need to take to better understand myself. I had lost about 70 pounds by the summer of 2014, I had been able to keep it off for a year. So I wanted to take my new look out for a spin. And, you know, there were things I became interested in—from a dressing standpoint. I had just learned to tie a bow tie, so I was super fascinated with that. I had just encountered fedoras, so I was super fascinated with that. I had just encountered designer sunglasses, so I was super fascinated with that. And ummm—
CHARLAÉ: You combined them all for your wedding look.
(Hysterical group laughter)
AL: That’s right! And I combined them!
CHRISS: (Doing Captain Planet imitation) By these powers combined, here’s my wedding look!
AL: (Continues) And while Christine—as she was saying earlier—did not know what she was going to wear to the wedding, I knew what I was going to be wearing to Dan and Nathania’s wedding that summer. That’s because I had bought two suits, and I used one of them for another friend of mine, Pat, his wedding in October. And I figured I was going to use the other suit for Mexico. But then Dan and Nathania were like “…we want it Beach Chic…” And I was like “Oh Yeah! Oh ok! I’ll give you some Beach Chic!” And so I decided I’d used the suit jacket as my blazer and wear these off-with khakis and a pink shirt with this matching dark pink-purple striped bow tie with the hat and the—
(Chuckles and chirping in background)
AL: I was just gonna put it together and let’s see what happens!!! I was thinking I wanted to impress people, but I wasn’t really looking for someone. It’s more like… I wanted to see if this is something that would enable me to sorta like… feel the chase—if you will. Like, of course I wanted someone interested in me, but I wasn’t thinking “Oh, I’m gonna go find someone.” At that’s not where I was at that time.
AL: Nonetheless, fast forward to Mexico. Now, when we were in Mexico, Mike and I did not have a solid script. In fact, I will admit he probably did more work on the script than I did. And you know what, I felt like I had my reasons for that. I don’t necessarily consider myself a strong writer. I think that was part of it. And I haven’t really written a long piece like that since college. I mean, how long is a script for 25 minutes? How do you act it out in such a way that it is actually 25-30 minutes? Am I writing so much that it would end up taking 45 minutes to an hour? Or am I writing so little that it takes only 10-15 minutes and people will be like “That’s super short!”? So, I was pretty nervous about that.
(Gets back on track after digressing)
AL: But anyway, for the life of me, I still can’t remember when I first saw Christine. It could have been in person, but I’m thinking that I might have been scrolling through Facebook and I happened to see this tall, beautiful almost bald—maybe had like a 1 all over, in terms of her haircut—woman. I all remember thinking to myself was “Yoooo… I got to… I got to… GOT TO meet this person!” I thought she was Team Dark-Skinned too, because when I saw her, she was as dark as me! I was like “Oh—”
CHRISS: Yeah ’cause I had been on the beach for like the whole day.
AL: Yeah… I was “Oh! Wow! Ok! Alright! I didn’t know they made black like that…LET”S GO!!!”
(Huge burst of laughter coming from CHARLAÉ. CHRISS blushing.)
AL: So while I can’t remember when I first saw her, I do know that on Friday—the day before the wedding—I was feeling very inspired. Our script wasn’t very good, and I think Mike and I knew that. There were a whole bunch of activities that Dan and Nathania had lined up for all of us on Friday. But Mike and I, we did the responsible thing and we stayed back and we rewrote the script. I’m pretty sure I rewrote it partially because I’d seen this person and she became the source of my inspiration. So to myself I was like “Yo, I’m gonna impress her…” But I don’t think anyone knew that at the time. But I will have to ask some people to confirm that… So I thought to myself “I have this opportunity now.” So in terms of seeing Christine, at first I wasn’t feeling up to the challenge of writing this script and officiating the wedding, but now with Christine in the fold, I’m seeing this as a great opportunity really put myself out there. I can say a lot, but not have to say much to her and still be able to put my best foot forward.
(AL takes a deep breath… continues)
AL: So anyway, we officiate the wedding. The wedding was a success—at least that’s what people kept coming up to tell me. It was funny, it was charming, there were some parts that were kinda like tear-jerkers, but at the end of the day, it was just a very happy ceremony. This is all great because that is what we were going for. But, now after the wedding, I knew I wanted to be talking with Christine. So in my mind, I felt like the cocktail hour— I felt like the whole party was going by. I’m like am I gonna go through this whole night and not have a single chance to say hello to Christine? ’Cause I had people introducing themselves to me and mingle… and don’t get me wrong, all these people were great people. People that I would love to hang out with. But at this time, I was on a mission! Like, I did my job. I put in the time. I did my work. I put in my hours! I’m trying to see how I did! I wanna go reap my reward!
AL: So we get to the reception. I’m still talking to more people. I’m like is my night really gonna go like this… This can’t happen. I need to be more proactive. And so I started tactically making my way in the direction of where Christine is standing. Yeah, I’d get stopped, talk to people, ok fine, I’d spend 5 or 10 minutes talking to them, and then keep moving…so on and so forth. And then finally I ended up talking to you, Charlaé, and I was telling you about—
AL: I think the reason why it came up was because I been hearing a lot of “great job with officiating the wedding”, and what I was trying to say was I’m glad that this is over with because I’m not really big on public speaking. And the reason why I am big on public speaking is because for starters, I don’t feel like a very strong writer. And secondly, I’ve had issues in the past with being able to articulate and people making fun of my accent because it didn’t sound American. And thinking about that is what prompted me to bring up the 3 years I spent in Ghana then coming to the U.S. and develop to the point where I am able to speak publicly with confidence.
(...AL getting back to the point)
AL: (Looking towards CHARLAÉ ) And so you said that to Christine and encouraged me to talk more about that. And as I was continuing my comment with Christine, I didn’t see you—
(CHRISS remembering the same thing and laughing in doing so)
AL: …but I was like “That’s fine!”
CHRISS: You left?!!!
CHARLAÉ: It was trying to—
AL: Right?! Right?!!!
CHARLAÉ: There’s a third side to the story. I was trying to hook y’all up the whole night. When you two finally started talking, I was like “This is the perfect in. I’m out!”
AL: YES!!! And so she left and I’m like you know what?—
CHRISS: I was wondering why I couldn’t remember you in that situation…
CHARLAÉ: No, I left!
CHRISS: …so you basically dumped him off and rolled out!
CHARLAÉ: No I didn’t dump him off. I was trying to create an opportunity for y’all to talk!
VINCE: Charlaé is like a master connector, right!
CHRISS: Yeah she is for real!
AL: And I’m thinking the whole time, “It’s fine! It’s fine! Let’s focus on the prize here!” So we had that nice exchange establishing that stark commonality and it was great. We did some small talk for a little bit, but then we split. When we split I rejoined my Wesleyan folks, and Luis was leading the charge in taking group shots to tequila! After some more talking and laughter with him, Mike, Adam and the rest of the Wes crew, we took several more shots…I lost count. We had a lot to toast to. But after a little time away from Christine we reconvened on the dance floor at first just standing next to each other. I then saw her starting to dance, moving her hips a little bit. It was then I started thinking to myself “I definitely want to dance with her, but play it cool. When the time is right, shoot your shot.” It was one of those times where you don’t want to be too forward, but you don’t want to play it too cool either. But she started dancing and I started dancing…and then we bumped hips and we were doing a little hip bump—
(CHARLAÉ and CHRISS burst into laughter)
AL: After we do a few more hip bumps, we finally started dancing. Now remember when she said “full-blown” dancing? I wanted to keep it casual, I wanted to kinda keep it classy. But then she started doing that middle school dancing—
CHARLAÉ: Back it up!!!
AL: And I literally said out loud “You can do that?!?!?!”
CHARLAÉ & CHRISS: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!!!
AL: Because I’m thinking we’re at a wedding, we gotta keep it PG rated but then I’m like—
CHRISS: By that time of the night, EVERYBODY was getting loose!
AL: I then made my mind and was like if you’re doing your thing, I gotta be there with you. I’m not messing up this opportunity. So we danced a little bit, and then we split, and then met up again, and danced some more. And then at some point, we decided to get away from the dance scene and we went to the—
(CHRISS interjects to clarify)
CHRISS: Didn’t you ask me?
AL: Right! I asked her if she wanted to get out of here and go someplace quieter.
CHARLAÉ: HMMMMMMMM….. ROM COM!!!!!!!!!
CHRISS & CHARLAÉ: HAHAHAHAHA!!!!
AL: This conversation we're having here is really going IN by the way. I love it. Anyway, she said yes, we went to the rooftop of my hotel room. And I will admit: I was trying to put the moves on her. I was trying to put the moves on her for sure! And she kinda obliged but then was pausing me. And then I said to myself ok fine, I’m not gonna force it. Let’s just keep the night going.
(AL realizes something profound)
AL: You know it’s interesting that a night that started in a way that I felt the whole night was going to pass me by and I wouldn’t get a chance to say hello ended up feeling like the complete opposite. Now that I was with her, time completely slowed down. It was like we have the whole night to really take our time and take the night away. We sat at the rooftop, and then we went down to my room, and then back up to the rooftop. We were sipping on our drinks just talking about life. We talked back and forth about how she went to Howard, she lived in DC. I lived in New York. She worked for a teachers’ union, I worked on Wall St. Ummmm… I thought we were looking at shooting stars. I thought it was so romantic—
(CHRISS and CHARLAÉ chuckling)
AL: She’s like “It’s a bat!” I had never seen a single bat before. I didn’t know that’s how a bat looked from a distance. That thought they flew in groups together. So a single bat flying didn’t make any sense to me. And what actually happened with the bat situation was we decided to go down feeling no rush to leave. As we were casually making our way down, some bat flew into the stairs and was just there. And I shouted “OH!!! That’s a bat!!!”
(CHARLAÉ and VINCE in shock and laughter)
AL: And, she screamed and I— I kinda took command of the situation.
CHRISS: He really did. Whatever he said I was “OKKKK!!!”
AL: I said “Get in here!” pointing to the door entrance into my room. “Right now!” And she said “OKKKK!!!” And she obliged. That was a nice moment where I can take control of a situation and she can let me take control of a situation, as opposed to giving any kind of backtalk like why are you telling me what to do or something like that, which is something that I would hate. In an emergency situation, I’m a fan of one person being the leader and the other person being the follower—
CHRISS: Right. And we can talk about it later.
AL: Exactly. We can talk about it later. So that was a really good bonding moment.
AL: So the night was going to end and she was looking for you, Charlaé. She was like “where’s my friend?” And I was like “I don’t know where your friend is…maybe she went home.” But in the spirit of being responsible and making an effort to make sure Christine finds her friend we starting looking around. There was a part of me that was being selfish because I wanted to spend more time with her…but not finding her friend would not be a good situation, so let’s find her friend and make sure she’s safe. After some looking we decided she must have gone back to her hotel. Before Christine and I parted ways, she had mentioned earlier she needed to get cash and if I knew how to get to the ATM. I showed her how to get to the ATM; you gotta go down this dirt road. It’s super dark, there are no lights or anything like that. You’ve just gotta trust that it’s there.
(CHARLAÉ terrified, let’s off a befuddled chuckle)
AL: If she had a flashlight on her phone, she’d be fine and know how to get there. So we split, and I realize I didn’t take down her number or email! I’d have no way of communicating with her. And I say to myself “Al, is this how you’re going out? This can’t POSSIBLY be how you’re going out!” So start walking out of the lobby of the hotel and in the direction of the ATM, and I saw her coming back and I asked her if she was able to get to the ATM and she told me she was unable to find it. So I walked with her to the ATM, she got cash out of the ATM, we did one more lap to try to find you, Charlaé, but then we determined you must be at your hotel room. And so I said to Christine “Ok. Well let me walk you home.” At some point it was cold, I had given her my jacket, and when we got to her hotel, she gave it back to me. When we entered the hotel gate we encountered the hotel dog. I thought it was gonna attack us. Thankfully, it was super chill. We get to her room we see that you, Charlaé were asleep. That was perfect.
AL: Now, at some point she had told me she was flying out very early that morning and we didn’t think we would be able to communicate via phone call—
AL: Because she had that blackberry—
CHARLAÉ: Oh yeah! That blackberry
CHRISS: Blackberry days woop woop! I miss it!!!
AL: Anyway we decided the best way for us to contact each other would be to exchange emails. So we exchanged emails because she wanted me to let her know when I got home—back to my hotel. And so when I got back to my hotel, I sent her an email with the subject header “I’m Home” and wrote a quick message under that wishing her a safe flight, how amazing it was to meet her and to keep in touch. And that “I’m Home” is the thread to all our emails that chronicles our growth in the way we’ve come to love each other over the years. It started from that “I’m Home” email back in Tulum, Mexico.