Emily and Matt

Our Story:

How We Met: (college)

We both attended Grinnell College where we met sometime during our first year there. We had a few classes together both first and second year of undergrad, and even lived on the same floor of the dorm third year, so we certainly knew each other, but never became friends until the summer following our junior year. We were both hired to work in Mark Levandoski’s lab over the summer of 2009, so we saw a lot of each other throughout the day as we each worked on our research projects. In another twist of fate, so to speak, Matt was living with Thomas Davis that summer, and his girlfriend (soon wife) Grace Marengo-Sanchez happened to be living with Emily. As you might expect, since Grace and Thomas drew our houses together, we started seeing even more of each other that summer. Throughout the summer in Grinnell, we became closer and closer friends as we hung out, played games, grilled brats, watched movies, and of course drank beers with our other great friends at Grinnell. Around the time school started up again in late August, we started dating officially.

Our Lives Together: (post-college)

After a fantastic senior year at Grinnell College, we parted ways with our friends and after a few days of packing and driving, we headed to Europe. We spent about two months traveling around Europe, from France to Switzerland, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Austria, Germany, and finally back to France. We drove our tiny diesel Renault Clio and tent-camped the vast majority of the several-thousand-mile trip. For more information, you can read the blog from our trip. This trip was an incredible experience, and really helped solidify and build our relationship. In my opinion, if you can spend two stressful months of travel in foreign lands in a small car and a tent with someone without going crazy and even still liking each other at the end, it must be something special. Once we returned to the states, we almost immediately started our jobs in Madison, WI. We moved into our first apartment together July 31st, 2010 and, two days later, we started our new jobs as research technicians in the Waisman Center at UW-Madison. We both worked in labs there that focus on neurological developmental diseases and so while we weren’t in exactly the same lab as we were in college, we still did very similar things, and even worked in the same building. This first year following graduation was a welcome break from school and granted us ample time to explore the great city of Madison, settle into our new post-undergraduate lives together, and make some new friends. Last fall (August 2011), Emily started graduate school for a PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology at UW-Madison. And this fall (August 2012), I’ll get back into the academic mode as well as I begin Medical School. It’s an exciting time in our lives, with big changes all around, and we’re so lucky to have each other and all our friends to share our new experiences with.

How We Got Engaged: (4/1/12)

On April 1st, 2012, the day after Emily’s 24th birthday (and yes, I know, April Fools Day) I slid the ring into my pocket as we headed out to Olbrich Gardens, which is a nice botanical garden on the East side of Madison. We walked around the gardens and enjoyed the nice, unseasonably warm, spring day. While it was still early in the season for some plants, much of the garden was in full spring-bloom. After an hour or so at the gardens, we walked across the street to the east shore of Lake Monona. It was just before we were going to head over for dinner (to celebrate Emily’s birthday), and the sun was setting over the capital building across the lake. I tried to play it cool, but Emily says she could tell I was breathing nervously. After saying a few nice things, I simply reached into my pocked, got down on one knee, and asked Emily to marry me. She thankfully said yes, and slid the (oversized) ring on her finger. We sat down by the lakefront and talked for a while, then headed over to the restaurant to celebrate Emily’s birthday, and our new engagement! I tried the best I could to make it a surprise, I got the ring the week before, while claiming to be birthday gift shopping, and I didn’t really tell anyone about my plans (except my parents) so that she wouldn’t be tipped off by anyone unintentionally. I think she was surprised to an extent, but she claims she had thought that I might propose that day; I don’t know how she knew though. I suppose when you live and work with someone, it’s difficult to totally surprise them. Even though she may have seen it coming, I think it was still pretty exciting!