Each of us was encouraged by a friend or family member to look on JDate to meet someone. Sam would typically search for people aged 24-33. One day, he decided to change his age range to 23-33, and the first picture that came up was mine.
Sam liked the picture and profile, so he sent me an email. He introduced himself as Ryan Stein (his alias on JDate to protect his privacy) and sent me a picture. He explained that even though he was older than my specified age range (I had arbitrarily entered 24-30 as my range), he thought he'd try to write. He said I seemed like a mature 23 year old and that he was an immature 33. Then he said, "Here's a picture of me. If you're not interested, please don't feel the need to write back. We're both adults here, and don't worry, I think I'm very cute."
That message and his hilarious profile had me laughing right away, and I'll admit, I thought he was very cute too!
After a few emails and talks on the phone, where Sam continued to keep me laughing and where the conversation felt easy and comfortable, we decided to meet. (At that point Sam had told me his real name.)
We planned to meet at the ever-classy Second Cup for coffee on Friday, May 2nd, 2003. I had Shabbat dinner at my Bubbie's that night first and was going on vacation to Cuba the next day. I had been on lots of unsuccessful dates with other people from JDate and had just made up my mind to call Sam and cancel, giving him the excuse that I had too much to do, when my cell phone rang. It was Sam, and he was so charming and funny that I decided to keep the date and meet him.
We definitely liked each other right from the start -- we spent about four hours at Second Cup that night -- but neither Sam nor I were pushing to get serious quickly. We finally decided to date exclusively at the end of May, and the rest is history. We quickly fell in love and spent more and more time together. Not only did Sam constantly have me laughing (and still does today), but I am so impressed and inspired by his kindness and generosity; his amazing ability to connect with every person he meets and make them feel great; his incredible teaching skills -- whether with his students, the baseball teams he coaches or even teaching me; and our common sense of the importance of family.
Sam and I knew about six months into our relationship that we wanted to be married. Sam's mother was away in Australia last year, and it was important to us, since we are both close with our families, that she be home in Canada to take part in celebrating our engagement. We knew she was scheduled to return on July 18, 2004, and as a result, I knew that the proposal wouldn't happen before then. Sam really wanted to surprise me and knew the only way to do that was to propose before his mother returned.
The week before her return, Sam and I went to play catch in a nearby park. Baseball is a big part of Sam's life, and so I wanted to learn to catch properly with a glove. I couldn't catch the ball if my life depended on it. Sam threw it a few times to me. I missed some, got hit a couple of times and was just about ready to give up when he said, "Here, try this." He threw a small black box to me (I thought he was goofing around and that it was his wallet). The only thing I managed to catch that day was that box. I was so surprised that I didn't figure out until I opened the box what was going on. At that point, Sam came over, got down on his knee and proposed.
The seven months after that day were hectic and wonderful, as we planned our wedding and our relationship continued to grow. We got married on Saturday, February 5th, 2005. The wedding was better than I could have ever imagined -- it was like a fairy tale. We have truly found our soul mates and perfect complements in each other, and the wedding was a beautiful celebration of that.
We are so grateful to have been encouraged to try JDate and to have found each other. It's funny what a small world it is -- Sam teaches at the same school as my aunt and we know some of the same people, yet for some reason, we never met conventionally, and it took JDate for us to find each other. I am forever grateful to Sam for changing his search criteria and sending me that email!
Shoshana & Sam
Richmond Hill and Toronto, Canada