After returning from Christmas break in January 2007, Shawn and I started seeing a little more of each other because we had a class together. We would hang out a lot with our friends Ilene and Justin, making the excuse to go to their apartments to "study" but very little studying ever got done.
One night, Ilene, Shawn, and I decided we should take a quick weekend trip to New York City just for fun (Justin had to stay because of his work schedule). We would stay with Ilene's friend in New Jersey, and we found $29 fares, so we booked them last minute. We called it the "We're So Single" trip - we were all recently single, and happy about it, and we thought it would be so fun to go away for a weekend without anyone having to know.
The weekend was a blast - and a whirlwind. We dragged ourselves all over that city to make sure we got the most of our very quick visit. We walked around Central Park and on Broadway, ate New York cheesecake, rode the trains all over the city, and had lots of time to talk. It turned out that much of the time, while Ilene was catching up with her friend who we were visiting, Shawn and I would sit together and talk. We talked mostly about what the Lord was teaching us, but also our goals for the future, our families, our passions. We had already been close friends, but these hours of conversation were bringing us closer.
We strapped on our rental skates and stepped onto the ice, along with the rest of New York City, and started to skate. Growing up in the South, ice skating is not really my strong suit. :) Shawn, on the other hand, is incredible on skates. So as a gesture of friendship (or so I thought), he grabbed my gloved hand and helped me to skate. It felt really natural, holding his hand. We were good friends. I tried not to read into it. And little did I know that 13 months later, we'd be back on that same sheet of ice and Shawn would have a ring in his pocket. But that's getting way ahead of the story, isn't it? :)
So as we skated, my mind went to a place it had never gone before. Do I like this guy? I mean, of course I like him. He's one of my closest friends - more like a brother than anything else. But is there more there? (I later came to find out there had been "more there" in Shawn's mind for a while, but I was still pretty clueless.)
We flew back the next day and I came back to Chicago with a lot of thinking to do. Journaling. Praying. Wondering if Shawn might have been feeling the same things I felt.
To read parts 1 & 2:
The night I met Shawn Newby
How I became friends with Shawn Newby