Amanda & Neil, The Eastern Conference Final Win Story
October 6th, 2015
"I moved across the country for a better life -he was just an added plus."
Amanda & Neil, The Eastern Conference Final Win Story
Amanda never thought she'd ever pack her bags and move from her hometown in Florida to New York -let alone for a guy- but in 2013 after asking her long-distance boyfriend Neil, "What are we doing?" she did.
Amanda was born and raised in Spring Hill, Florida. In 2010 she made a fateful trip to New York to visit her cousins. While in New York, her family took her to the OLMC Feast, (make link: http://www.olmcfeast.com/) a big Italian heritage festival in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. This feast, which has been taking place in Brooklyn for over 100 years, "commemorates an extraordinary bit of southern Italian history, which culminated in the canonization of an erstwhile bishop of the small city of Nola." It is a huge event that celebrates culture and family, so it was fitting that her family took her there while she was visiting.
At the feast Amanda was introduced to someone by her godfather -someone named Neil. Neil was cute, but Amanda thought nothing of him. He was just this nice guy she met while in New York. She had a boyfriend… He had a girlfriend. Even if she did consider something happening with him if she were at a different place in her life, they were on different paths, and the last thing she wanted was a long-distance relationship. That didn't stop them from becoming friends, though. They actually kept in touch even after she went back home to Florida.
Two years later, in 2012, Amanda came back to New York to visit her family again. Since she had been keeping up with Neil, they decided to meet while she was in town. During this 2012 trip, they were both in different places in life than they were when they first met. This time they were both single, and when Amanda saw Neil this time, she felt a connection. Neil did too.
They had their first real date soon after.
They dated for a year while she was in Florida and he was in New York. Eventually, she asked the all-important question: "What are we doing?!" When she realized things were getting serious, she did what she never imagined she would: she packed her bags, said goodbye to the only home she knew, and moved to New York.
The move proved to be a positive life change for Amanda in more ways than just one. She got a better job than the one she had, and began a life so different and so much more exciting than the one she had in Florida. She moved across the country to discover a better life. Then there was also Neil… he was just an added plus.
The Perfect Proposal, from Amanda…
"Neil and I are HUGE New York Rangers fans. It was May 17th, 2014 and we were watching the 2014 NHL Eastern Conference Finals. It was Game 1: the New York Rangers versus the Montreal Canadiens. We were sitting on the couch, so utterly immersed in this game. Neil was wearing one of his Rangers jerseys, and I was in his old size extra-large sweatpants and swimming in his baggy Rangers hoodie. To say that I wasn't expecting anything special besides a Rangers win that night would be an understatement…
The Rangers had just won the game and we were going crazy and freaking out with excitement and happiness. Still basking on "our" big win, we went outside to sit on his stoop. Now, being from Florida, I never knew what a stoop was, but since moving to New York I learned it's where his family always hangs out when the weather's nice. His entire family was outside with us -parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents, etc. I swear that's completely normal for his house. They're always all outside on the stoop!
Neil's mom asked us to move closer together so that she could take a picture to send to my mom in Florida -not at all uncommon! We move closer together, get our pose ready for the picture, and I smile -happy that the Rangers won, and happy to be beside a great man. Before his mom actually pressed the button to take the picture, Neil starts to say something:
"Before we take the picture, Amanda, you should put this on…"
I turn and see a small box with an engagement ring in his hand.
All of a sudden, my heart stops and nerves take over my entire body. What I managed to say instead of "yes" was, "Are you really doing this right now?! Right now?! I look like a hot mess!" Neil didn't care about the way I looked at the moment -he just wanted to ask the question. I found out later that he didn't even mean to propose to me then! He had a whole elaborate plan for when and how he was going to propose! But the feeling that we shared together, both so happy and excited about our team's win, along with his whole family being there, inspired and pushed him to do it right then and there… and I wouldn't have had it any other way. He told me he knew there was something special about me from the moment we met, and that after all these years together, he knew he wanted to spend all the rest of his years with me.
I said the word "no" about five times, reacting to my stunned disbelief. His sister was the one who helped me finally say the one word I wanted to… She jokingly said, "Ok, Amanda said "no" five times already -I guess it's a no, Neil." Finally, I yelled out the word "YES" and the love of my life placed the gorgeous Gerald Peters Collection round diamond engagement ring on my finger and made me his fiancÃ©e.
I met Neil in 2010. Two years later, we started dating. Two years after that, we got engaged. Now, we are planning our wedding for 2016.
I don't know what my proposal would have been like or when it would have been if we hadn't won that 2014 Eastern Conference Finals that night, but my future husband and I are so happy they did.