Karen and Dan met over four years ago…a couple of months after they had both started grad school at Yale. Karen was starting a PhD in the Music Department, while Dan was starting a Master’s of Environmental Management at the School of Forestry and Environmental Studies (he later enrolled in a joint-degree program with the business school).
The night they met was the autumnal equinox, the official first day of fall (their favorite season). Some friends of Dan’s were throwing a party to mark the occasion, and in typical Forestry School fashion, they made it a theme party – summer meets winter. They talked, felt a connection, but wandered off to other parts of the party. So – this is the part that Karen’s mom likes to call a modern-day Cinderella story – while Dan had decided he needed to find Karen again to ask her out, Karen slipped out early before he had the chance.
Dan had to resort to other measures to find her again. The Yale email directory would be the easiest way, but he wasn’t sure he had Karen’s last name right – was it Jones? Johnson? James? So he had to do some creative Googling to figure it out. The combination “Karen Jones piano McGill” worked, which made him pretty confident that he had remembered her name correctly. In the meantime, he asked around, and a friend of a friend of a friend was able to confirm that, yes, the girl from the music department who showed up at the party was in fact Karen Jones. So he emailed and asked her out, and Karen said yes. And that’s how it all started…
Fast forward to summer 2008. After Dan’s graduation from his master’s program, they decided to take a long road trip, driving west across Canada to the Pacific and then back east across the States, staying in a small tent the whole time. Four weeks into the trip, they met up with Dan’s parents for a few days of camping in South Dakota. They were still happy and enjoying each other’s company after nearly a month of being alone together, and it was at that point that Dan’s parents decided that they really were meant for each other. That was kind of when they came to that conclusion, too.
A few months later, Dan proposed in the middle of a long fall hike, and it didn’t take long for Karen to say yes.