Jen and Matthew met during freshman orientation at Florida Tech in August 2006, where they both lived on the third floor of Shaw Hall. Both varsity athletes (Jen ran cross country, Matthew played baseball), with shared interests in music, sports, and nature, they quickly became friends. Jen and Matthew began spending lots of time together, including an untold number of games of pool at “The Rat,” countless trips to the beach, and Target Fridays with the gang. After Matthew’s roommate left school, and Jen’s roommate turned out to be on a completely opposite sleep schedule, they spent even more time together, with many platonic sleepovers. Just friends, they promise; Jen had the top bunk.
They remained good friends through college, though less time was spent together through the years. Jen graduated in the spring of 2010, and went south to the Florida Keys to work at Seacamp. Matthew stayed at Florida Tech to finish up one last semester. Though they were several hours apart, they started talking more than ever, and Matthew decided the timing felt right.
Matthew took a trip down to the Keys with his roommates, and was intent on wooing Jen. The weekend was an awesome adventure, with memories made that will last a lifetime, but Jen remained unconvinced. Matthew kept trying, and it took a visit to Jen’s family home in Illinois to change her mind. They officially started dating on December 30th, 2010 – one day later than they otherwise might have, but Matthew’s original flight to Chicago was cancelled.
Matthew had moved back home to Baltimore after graduating, and Jen to Massachusetts in January to take an internship at the Woods Hole Marine Biological Laboratory. They visited each other as often as possible, but the seven-plus hour drive was far from ideal. With her internship ending, and sunny Florida calling to Matthew to play more baseball, they both decided to move back to Florida.
This move turned out to be the best decision they had ever made. Jen and Matthew moved in together, and expanded their family. Jen’s cat, Faye, was already queen of the household, and Matthew had several fish tanks. However, since they both love animals, it didn’t stop there. Lyra joined the family in spring 2013, and Faye begrudgingly allowed it. Mochi burst on to the scene in spring 2014, Spaz moved in during the summer of 2015, and Blizz captured hearts in early 2017. The fish population grew, including Tiberius (the coolest fish around, Tib for short), and small tanks were replaced with large ones. Cuban tree frogs (highly invasive) were found, and rather than the sadder alternative, they removed them from the population and kept them as pets. All the while, Jen and Matthew were going on awesome adventures and having fun experiences, mostly exploring the vast options presented across beautiful Florida.
In the spring of 2017, Jen and Matthew went on their biggest and most awesome adventure yet, taking a two-week trip to Switzerland. With a castle in seemingly every town, and the best tour guides they could ask for, there were beautiful and memorable sights at every turn. Perhaps the most memorable experience, however, was this:
She said yes… eventually.