Before I even begin to write about Elfrey and Rosanna's proposal, I just want to welcome you all to my brand new blog. Make yourself at home, and have a good browse around! There is plenty more to come so check back often! To those who have been following my work, thank you for your patience and support. I figured I'd start off the new year with a new look and continue to share with everyone my visual journey through photography.
...now moving on to the goodies
What an honor to start off my first blog post with Elfrey and Rosanna's proposal. As I sit here trying to gather my thoughts and words for their beautiful story, I can't help but reflect back on the first time I met these two. I was only a freshman at UT when I first photographed them. I never really talked to either of them before their session so I just shyly photographed them behind my camera and tried to make the best impression. Who knew that day would become the start of a wonderful friendship for us!
I always count it a true blessing when I am given opportunities to witness a couple's love while I silently snap my camera in the near distance. With Elfrey and Rosanna, I knew from the very start they are extra special. They couldn't be any sillier, but they were also incredibly in love with one another. Then, over the course of a few years as I continued to photograph and build a relationship with them, I fell more in love with their kindness and hearts for Christ and each other. They have always been people who cared for me and my needs not only as a photographer but also their friend. I have nothing but love for them and it honestly just makes me want to work all the harder for them and give back to them all the of love they showed us.
Congratulations Elfrey and Rosanna. It has certainly been a journey for you two, but this is only the start for many more blessings to come. While my photographs are only a small token of my appreciation for you two, I sincerely hope that they will always remind you two of how much you mean to each other.
Now I will let Elfrey tell the rest of his love story!
"This is the story of Rosanna and Elfrey. Rosanfrey. Elfrey from Dallas, Rosanna from Houston. Separated by the great state of Texas, destined for together.
In the fall of 2009, Rosanna and Elfrey were eager to make new friends in a new place -- The University of Texas at Austin. They both signed up for Intramural Football with AACM. In September 2009, they met for the first time on the Intramural Fields playing for the same team: Hungry Hamsters. It was love of football and fellowship that initially bonded them. Years later, they captained for two teams together: Team Who Must Not Be Named and Friendzone.
Following a perfect season and a first-round playoff exit with the Hungry Hamsters, Rosanna and Elfrey began to get to know each other. Rosanna would often visit Elfrey at Dobie, staying up til 5:00 A.M. with their friends, playing games and talking about life. Reciprocatively, Elfrey would visit Rosanna at Jester to watch episodes of Chuck and gorge themselves at J2. They finally exchanged numbers at the Piano Lounge after dominating Nertz as a team. Eventually, in his sophomore year, Elfrey moved to Jester and was fortunate enough to live 30 seconds from Rosanna on the same floor. Jester was a very special place for them, full of good memories. As a result of spending so much time together, Rosanna and Elfrey became really good friends with each other.
Rosanna and Elfrey were both engineering students of the Cockrell School of Engineering, with Rosanna majoring in Electrical and Elfrey in Mechanical. Perhaps their left-brained likeness helped with the eccentric chemistry formed between them. During the fall of their sophomore year, they spent much time studying Matrices together at CPE, and after many late nights of “studying”, their friendship blossomed even more. More than Elfrey imagined it would. One day, Elfrey liked Rosanna. He didn’t see it coming. He didn’t want to admit it. But he couldn't get her off his mind.
According to Elfrey, his feelings started around Thanksgiving 2010, but of course, Rosanna was oblivious to this emotional formation. The feelings that danced in Elfrey’s heart was however further mirrored in his and Rosanna’s dancing in ballroom class. The same semester they took Matrices together, they also took Beginner Ballroom at the Anna Hiss Gym. Two-step, waltz, tango, salsa, swing -- they danced and danced, developing a love for ballroom dancing together that they still share to this day.
Winter break came, and Elfrey was nervous. He decided to share his feelings to Rosanna. She was shocked. After talking things out, they agreed to continue growing their friendship and take it easy. However, it was clear that their relationship was moving at a different pace. On cue with the change in pace, they both obtained bikes when the Spring 2011 semester started. Biking around the city of Austin brought great joy to Rosanna and Elfrey. They would bike down Nueces, turn right on Cesar Chavez, and bike across the lake on the Pedestrian Bridge. To them, biking was freeing. Free from the slowness of walking and the inflexibility of cars, Elfrey and Rosanna biked alongside each other, exploring the city of Austin.
In 2011, Rosanna and Elfrey decided to spend their Spring Break on the East Austin Mission Trip with InterVarsity. They were somehow assigned to the same small group, a fortunate fate for Elfrey. The mission trip team members spent plenty of time at Mueller Park, enjoying the beautiful weather and creating wonderful memories to take away. Right after the trip ended, Rosanna shared that she reciprocated feelings for Elfrey.
However, life became a huge distraction when they returned to school after break. With school work crescendoing towards the second half of the semester and responsibilities to manage, it was difficult for Rosanna and Elfrey to spend quality time together. When Elfrey was gone for an entire weekend, Rosanna counseled her friends and mentors about the situation with Elfrey. They advised Rosanna to ask herself if she would regret not dating him. The following Monday, Rosanna approached Elfrey and told him that, “yes”, she wants to be a relationship with him. On April 22, 2011, Good Friday, they had their first date.
Elfrey took Rosanna to Zocalo Cafe, a pleasant little cafe nested in Austin. Mexican food for a first date? Not too shabby. After simultaneously changing their relationship status on Facebook before heading out to Zocalo, they received many texts affirming “it was about time.” Elfrey thought so too.
Throughout their relationship, Rosanna and Elfrey have always had an affinity for food. Good cheap food. Food trailers were the perfect destination for food-lovers on a college budget. Austin provided plenty of food trailer parks to visit: South Congress, East 6th, Barton Springs, South 1st, West Campus. A rule they tried to follow was: “no repeats”. Even so, there wasn’t enough time in college to visit all the food trailers they wanted to. But they sure tried their best.
Settling into the second half of college, they lived seven seconds apart at Villa Nueces. In this apartment complex, they shared two of the most formative years of their life. Tears, smiles, anger, joy, patio dates, massive potlucks, wine & cheese parties, TWO anniversaries, life lessons, home-cooked meals, video games, and many more. They shared life together along with some of their closest friends within a short walk.
The Tower will always be the distinct mark of The University of Texas at Austin. It is the one place that will always have its students and alumni say “I’m home” as they approach this campus that changed their lives. For Elfrey and Rosanna, it will forever remind them of their love for each other as well as their love the city. Whether it was eating Cornucopia on the lawn their freshmen year or praying for revival at their last Rez Week their senior year, the tower overlooks the UT campus that has given Rosanna and Elfrey joy and lasting memories.
On December 30, Elfrey led Rosanna to the center of the South Mall lawn of the tower, and pulled out a curious handmade box of walnut with a violet aster accent.
On one knee, Elfrey opened the box, took out the ring, and asked, “Rosanna, will you marry me?”