We are Mary Gomez and Alejandro Flores. We both grew up in the Bay Area. Alejandro was raised in Oakland and I grew up in Vacaville. After 13 years in the Mission District of San Francisco Alejandro finally moved to Oakland this year where we live with our large record collection and many plants. Alejandro works at a worker owned cooperative grocery store in the city and I am an Educator in Oakland. We love to cook, travel, listen to music, go to shows, try new restaurants, go on long walks, watch 90 Day Fiance and Check Please! Bay Area.
I think what we are both passionate about and what has drawn us together and kept us together is our deep commitment to social justice. We are both politically active and feel very passionate about supporting local businesses and artists. We come from very similar cultural backgrounds with very different lived experiences and this has always bonded us.
We met the old fashion way on a dating app, yikes. We met at a pinball pizza place in Oakland (at that time Alejandro’s two favorite pastimes). We both liked each other and were attracted to one another but I don’t
Alejandro: I always knew there was a deep connection between Mary and I. I love the way Mary makes me laugh and how we laugh together. I knew I was in love with Mary because of the way she made me feel and the energy I felt when I was with her. Last August I had a medical emergency and I spent a month in the ICU. I think it was then that I definitively realized that Mary was the one. It was an incredibly hard thing to go through but I do know it helped me realize what and who is most important in my life. It was a few months after that when we both talked about what we wanted for our future and both knew we wanted our lives to be spent together.
Mary: Alejandro and I dated on and off for almost 5 years so the realization that he was “the one” came after many, many moments pieced together. I think I realized he was very special when I thought about how I never really got sick of him and that I loved spending my time with him. I actually was never one to believe in the institution of marriage but after Alejandro had his medical issues and when we both did a lot of individual work on healing ourselves did I realize he is absolutely the person I want to spend my life with. He’s an incredibly supportive partner, makes me laugh and understands who I am in a very deep and powerful way.
The engagement wasn’t a huge surprise as we had shopped for a ring together (because again we don’t do tradition well) but Alejandro was planning on waiting until the summer to propose. There is no mountain top, or scavenger hunt or ocean view; it was simply just a warm Oakland evening on our couch. After almost a month in quarantine together and spending 24/7 in a one bedroom apartment we both felt incredibly connected and it affirmed our love for one another. After an especially emotional conversation about how we felt about the world and how COVID was impacting our community Alejandro went into the other room, came back with the ring and asked me to be his partner for life. I think sometimes the significance of an engagement is tied up in social media posting and the huge gesture of a surprise but we both think marriage is a BIG deal, why make it a surprise or do it for a pretty picture?
We knew we wanted to get a ring that was sustainable, locally and women owned. After doing a lot of research we loved all of the rings from Valley Rose Studio, I kind of wanted them all (and still do!). We honestly both loved the Meissa ring because it’s so beautiful and delicate. I love that it looks vintage and Alejandro likes the way it shines in the sun. This ring to us means a commitment to our partnership and a symbol of hope and love.
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