Like all the great romantic stories, when we met, we vowed never to fall in love. We were resident assistants on the same floor, or co-RAs. As such, any relationship would have been one of two things: a) difficult to navigate while watching over 50 residents, or b) proof that our resident director, Paul, was secretly a matchmaker.
Our first real interactions were via email. Like any good RA, Kaari was mostly worried about floor decorations and theme for the upcoming year. Since she was in Kenya at the time, and she knew Zach had just come back from South Africa, she thought something “Africa-themed” would be a good idea. She emailed about this possibility.
Zach, of course, replied with a very deeply thought out idea surrounding “Ubuntu,” a Zulu concept for how we are all a part of the same humanity, and that we should use that for our theme. Kaari thought, “I think I can get along with this guy.”
We met face to face for the first time when Kaari moved into Lissner Hall in August. She was informed by Paul that Zach was very excited to meet her. He managed to come out just when she attempted to make a three point turn into the front parking spot and drove over the curb in the process. A very good first impression indeed.
After helping her move in, Zach spent much of that first semester becoming the “fifth” roommate of her room. Long conversations in shack, bickering while cooking and other activities drew us closer together. On Halloween weekend, Zach went home to visit his mother. And while Kaari had many friends, she felt like somehow one of her best ones was missing.
When Zach came back, things were somehow…different. Kaari was very excited to see Zach when he came home. So excited that she volunteered to help him carry in 12 cases of soda he and his mom had bought on clearance at CVS.
We courted each other, convinced that the other was the instigating factor moving the relationship forward (we still “argue” about this). On a fateful (or God-orchestrated) November 23rd, Zach confessed his budding feelings for Kaari. Kaari was very excited but also unsure about how their relationship would affect their RA work and solid friendship. We agreed to take the Thanksgiving holidays to think about it.
After coming back on Sunday, Kaari told Zach she wouldn’t be able to talk to him until Wednesday. Zach was perturbed, but Kaari had good reason. Because it was Festival of Christmas week, she would be stuck in rehearsals each night — not a good time to make important decisions. Zach waited, begrudingly patient.
Luckily, Monday night, December 1st, rehearsals ended early. Kaari surprised Zach by coming over, and, after a long preamble about her scattered process of coming to terms with God’s plans, we agreed to “see where this takes us.”
And the rest, as they say, is history.