Nathan moved to Boston in 2004 to attend MIT and begin working on his Ph.D. in chemical engineering.  He had attended the University of Missouri as an undergraduate, where we was in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity and involved in Campus Crusade for Christ.  After a challenging first year of classes and evaluations at MIT, he was placed in Hammond Lab where he began his research focusing on fuel cells.  He also began attending Park Street Church and their 20’s group, Café.

Meanwhile, his future bride was teaching first grade on the other side of the country in California, while also advising the Alpha Delta Chi sorority, coaching Girls on the Run, and being active in Southport Community Church.  In 2005, Brea decided to take a teaching job in China at SIAS International University and participate in some missions work.  While there, she and two friends committed to praying every week for her future husband.  Her prayers lead her to move to Boston (a place she had never been before) and on June 3, 2006 she deemed the Bay State her new home.

Three days later Nathan and Brea met in front of Park Street Church on a Tuesday night after Café.  There weren’t exactly sparks that night, but Brea remembers thinking Nathan was cute and guessed he was from Colorado. (She was wrong; he is actually from Springfield, Missouri.) Since Brea was new to town and only knew a small handful of people it was serendipity that Nathan also knew that small handful and the two of them found themselves on several of the same e-vites.

At one party in particular, a Christmas party held on June 24 (yes, you read that correctly), Nathan convinced Brea that she should drive him to his next destination and join him at a surprise party for one of his MIT friends she didn’t know.  The night was later referred to as “the best night I’ve had in Boston” by Nathan, and included a bar fight Brea started, sitting in Brea’s car for about two hours talking while watching a guy do one armed push ups, and a series of flirtatious text messages.  Nathan had text messaged Brea to make sure she made it home alright and Brea had responded with, “Should I take this as you hitting on me?”   Nathan asked, “Are you serious or are you kidding?” and Brea answered with, “Sure I am.”  Nathan then offered to call so they could talk about whether or not he was hitting on her, and Brea freaked out and told him that they would talk about it when they saw each other later that week.   But they didn’t.  In fact, Brea kind of (no kind of about it really) blew him off.  So Nathan being the persistent man that he is, called her later that night and they had their first DTR (defining the relationship talk).

That’s when Brea delivered one of her most memorable quotes, “This flirting will never go anywhere.”

Thinking she had averted his pursuits, Brea called her friends and told them what had happened, and Nathan penned his first e-mail to Brea via MySpace because he didn’t have her email address.  In his letter he petitioned his case again, and moved by his sincerity and persistence, Brea agreed to a first date.

Brea had an interview in Boston on July 5, 2006, and told Nathan that they could meet by the ducks in the Public Garden when she was done.  Nathan however surprised her, and was sitting on the closest park bench to where she would enter the Garden.  Impressed and delighted with the fact that he had calculated where she would be entering the Garden, she upgraded the original plan of getting drinks to having dinner and asked if he knew of a place nearby.  Nathan had also thought this part out and the two of them went to the Parish Café.  After dinner they walked over to Copley Square and sat on a bench and talked about the possibility of future dates.

The dates continued, and on their one year anniversary they went back to Parish Café for dinner, then into Copley Square and sat on their bench again.  That night Nathan said, “Can I tell you something?”  Brea answered yes, and Nathan looked her in her eyes and said, “I love you,” for the first time.

Then one Thursday in late October 2008, Brea finished babysitting in Boston and found Nathan waiting for her at the Arlington T stop where she was going to catch the green line to the red line and head home.  She was so excited to see him she didn’t even ask why he was there, denying him the opportunity to tell his lie about being in the city for a meeting.  It was dinnertime so after a short discussion on where they should go, Brea suggested Parish Café and thinking it was her idea to go there, offered to pay for dinner.  Interestingly, Brea and Nathan had the same meal that they had had on their first date and the same waiter.

Since it was right before Halloween, most of the dinner conversation was about deciding on a Halloween costume that would rival their Facebook and MySpace costumes from the year before.  At one point the idea to go as some kind of candy was thrown out, and Brea decided that they needed to take a trip to CVS for inspiration.  This was an answer to prayer for Nathan who was trying to come up with a reason to walk the few blocks to Copley because the closest CVS happened to be right across the street from Copley Square.

After a purchase at the drugstore, Nathan suggested they check out the construction that was going on in Copley.  I should take this opportunity to say that at this point Brea still did not realize what was happening because she thought the dinner and CVS trip were her ideas.  Secretly she was curious about the construction in Copley because she hoped that if Nathan and her were to get married, they would take some pictures there and she didn’t want the construction fences up.  So the two of them walked hand in hand to their bench and sat down under the stars.  Brea said it turned out to be a really nice night, but it was about to get even better.  Nathan asked her, "Can I ask you a question?" Suddenly, Brea knew what was going to happen and said yes.  Nathan then got down on his knee, opened a ring box and asked, “Will you marry me?”  It took a little while for Brea to answer because she said, “Oh my gosh,” about twenty times and thought that when she had said yes to his first question she was also saying yes to his second question.  But with some prompting, Nathan got the yes he was hoping for and they were finally engaged!