On Saltwater Crocodiles and Walks Home


I returned to campus in the fall of 2008 a few days before Andy did (he hadn’t realized that he loves helping with freshman move-in yet) and I have a distinct memory of being really excited to see him. There was just something about him. I’m not really sure what it was but I wanted to be around that guy as much as I could. I even told his roommates that I would come visit their room when he moved in. We actually almost saw each other that summer as we were both chaperones for our youth groups’ trips to Fuge at Ridgecrest but we missed each other by a week. I was so disappointed when I found out we were almost there at the same time. There were a couple of awkward Facebook conversations over the summer, but our relationship started to grow in earnest when we arrived back on campus. He walked me home, I ‘happened’ to stop by his room and wait for him at the BCM house, I joined the IM soccer team because he was the coach even though I hate playing team sports that involve balls… you know, the usual.

I lived in the dorm that was the farthest from the BCM house and most things on campus that year. When Andy realized that I was walking home by myself after dark, he insisted that he escort me back to my dorm. He also told me that I could call him anytime I needed a walk home. I’m not sure he realized that I would take him up on it though. Later on his roommates told me that they knew he liked me if he was willing to get out of bed to walk me home. 🙂

That fall, we fell into a routine of staying at the BCM house to talk for a few hours each Monday night. I led a women’s Bible study and he attended a men’s Bible study that both met around the same time. Most of the time, my group would get out first and I would ‘happen’ to stick around the BCM house until the men’s group got out too. We would stay there and talk for hours, as in two hours at the bare minimum every Monday night and then he would walk me home.

Our conversations were pretty random. One night that sticks out to me in particular is the night that we measured out how long a saltwater crocodile is by laying end-to-end in the lobby of the BCM House. We were talking about animals (one of Andy’s favorite topics) when Andy brought up saltwater crocodiles and decided that we needed to learn more about them. Possibly because I didn’t know anything about the different types of crocodile, an atrocity to him. So we looked them up on Wikipedia and measured out how long they are on the floor. There was no measuring tape to be found so we laid end-to-end on the floor to approximate it. The whole situation seemed kind of weird to me, but I guess you just let some things go when you’re attracted to someone.

Our group at Fall Conference 2008. Coincidentally, all of them were in our wedding.

There are a few events that stick out in my mind leading up to the big DTR (define the relationship) talk on November 10th.

  • Most of the time if we spent time together on the weekend, it was because I called and invited him to do something. However, there was one Friday or Saturday that he called me to see if I wanted to do something together. All we did was play ping-pong in the BCM basement and talk about tattoos (he would get a full body tattoo to make him look like a tiger for the record) but he wanted to hang out with me and I was over the moon excited.
  • Another night when we were with a group of friends playing a game (maybe soccer, maybe frisbee) and I decided to leave to go back to my room a little early. Instead of staying to play which I knew he wanted to do, he left and walked me home anyway. Another glimmer of hope.
  • At a BCM party (I think the Halloween party) there were a bunch of balloons in the foyer. Towards the end of the party he kept hitting balloons at me. I wondering if it was some kind of sign. I even told friends about it and asked them what they thought. I was grasping at straws. 😛
  • The most significant precursor to the DTR happened at VA BCM’s Fall conference that year. We were doing the first round of what later became known in our BCM as warm fuzzies on steroids. During warm fuzzies on steroids, each person spends time telling the other people in the group what they like about them. For this first edition, the group was small enough that we sat in a circle and said our nice things about each other in front of the group (this changed in later years). Andy used his last kind thing to say on me and said that he was pretty sure I was the nicest person he’d ever met. That I was thoughtful and caring and he couldn’t think of anyone nicer. Needless to say, I was floored.

And then, a little more than a week later as he was walking me home from the BCM house on November 10, 2008 the infamous exchange occurred…

Andy: Mattie told me there’s a girl in BCM who likes me. Do you know who it is?
Me: (oh no, oh no, oh no… does he know? he must like someone else. what do i say??) I don’t know…
Andy: I think its you.
Me: (crap. he knows. is he getting ready to tell me that he doesn’t really like me?) yeah…
Andy: So, will you marry me?
Me: (WHAT?) Well, that’s a little too intense but I’ll date you.

Andy: Just so you know, I like you too.
[I make a dumb remark about how one way liking is stalking]
We walk a little farther without saying anything…
Andy: So what do we do now?

Thus Sandy (a combo of our names that Andy hates but our friend Christina loves) was born.

The first picture taken of the two of us after we started dating.

Writing it all down like this, it seems obvious that Andy had liked me the whole time but as crazy as it sounds, I wasn’t sure that Andy actually liked me right up until the moment he asked me to marry him (the first time). After I got into my apartment I immediately started squealing and called my friends Caitie and Christina (pictured below). Caitie said that I was so excited that she initially thought something was wrong when I called her. I proceeded to go to bed and barely slept a wink. I was so excited that my mind was racing. Andy on the other hand, went back to his room, didn’t talk to anyone, and slept soundly as a man with a girlfriend for the first time in his life. 


3 thoughts on “On Saltwater Crocodiles and Walks Home”

  1. Sarah. You have got to finish this story. It is fantastic! I may even write Doug’s and my story on MY blog. You’ve inspired me. This is great! Much love to you both!

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