New York has always had a big piece of my heart. If you know much about me, Bekah, when I know what I want, I go for it. I moved to New York. I found the best apartment. Made friends. I was going to live my whole life there--I was sure. But I’m now just convinced God needed me there to meet Jimmy Jara-Holdridge. How else do you meet an Ecuadorian man who’d never been west of the Mississippi?
We met in the most millennial fashion: a dating app. Jimmy wrote on his profile that he was “Just looking for friends”; I wasn’t really a fan of that. I had great friends, a great church, and awesome roommates. Yet, after a little attention-grabbing on his part, I wrote to him (Bumble makes the girls write first). He was funny and cute and extremely intentional. I was quite busy at the time, but on that day of March 6, 2020, we decided to go on a breakfast coffee date.
I told him we probably couldn’t see each other much--I had friends and family coming into town and I was going back to New Mexico to visit at the end of the month. He had friends and family coming into town, too. Plus, he was moving to Spain in May. Yet… I managed to see him the next day, and then another day, and when my friends were in town, I missed him and I invited him out with us. By that Saturday we were officially boyfriend and girlfriend.
Then, on March 16, 2020, the entire planet went into lockdown. I don’t think anyone could’ve guessed what was about to happen. My friends left. My roommates left. I later found out I had COVID, and I sat in my apartment alone and exhausted and sick. In an instant, I lost my job and all the things that made my life feel normal. I was a little miserable. But I kept talking to this ridiculously cute guy I gave COVID to. We spent hours on FaceTime and texting. I had never liked someone so much...
Once I started feeling less sick (and not contagious), I braved the big city streets and took an uber to his apartment in Queens. I went to visit, stayed a few days, and when I was back in Brooklyn, he reminded me he was still moving to Spain.
We decided it didn’t make sense to continue dating. Don’t get me wrong, I was devastated. I don’t date people unless I think it could go somewhere. But he was right, he couldn’t stay in the US for me--we hadn’t been dating long enough and long-distance rarely works.
I told him I thought I should come over again anyway since it was his birthday that weekend. I made him a cake and tracked down candles even though they weren’t at our grocery store. I really liked being a presence in his life. As he tells it, I was walking from the bedroom to the kitchen in his little apartment, and he looked at me and thought, “I could be happy in Spain, but not like this.” He introduced me to his entire family on Zoom. Then, he told me he wanted to do this for real. He knew it was crazy, but he wanted to stay in America.
I could go into our complicated decision making and tell you about the hours of discussions and questions. I could tell you about our love and how after the day he told me he wanted to stay with me we only spent one day apart. I could tell you how we decided to live in Deming with my parents. I could tell you how we went through pre-marital counseling and prayed a ton. I could tell you about how our things are in Brooklyn but we moved to Albuquerque. But it’s all in the past, now.
May 14th Jimmy asked me to marry him on my parent’s island in their small pond in Deming. It was romantic and sweet and it still feels like a joke when I think about how complicated it was to get a Tiffany ring in the middle of a pandemic while your girlfriend is by your side literally 24/7.
By what I am STILL convinced was an act of God, Jimmy’s mom, dad, and sister from Ecuador took a plane and came to New Mexico. I was able to spend two incredible weeks with his family.
On June 12, 2020, I married the love of my life. It was my parents and sister and his parents and sister along with my two close friends who took photographs and video. It was sad not having everyone there, but honestly? It was the perfect day. Just our two families, stress-free, enjoying the best day of our life.
I still cannot believe I found someone as incredible as Jimmy just as the pandemic shut everything down. I still can’t believe I found someone I can spend this much time around. God has blessed me beyond what I could ever imagine.
And now, we hope for our families and friends to meet and celebrate with you all in 2021!!!