it was june 2014. i found myself holding on to the sides of a buggy, riding up a rugged path while visiting brandon’s family farm in pennsylvania for the first time. as we reached the tallest hill, i took in disbelief this view that looked exactly like where i grew up in normandie. i immediately felt a comforting familiarity about where brandon grew up, and a fate-inspired realization really hit home: we had lived our lives in two different countries, within two different cultures, speaking two different languages.. yet the trees, flowers, fields and valleys surrounding us were exactly alike. and then our paths had somehow crossed in arizona, in a place where we would’ve unlikely ever set foot, and at the most unexpected time in our lives.

we’ve been together over 6 years now, but that day while exploring his family farm, i got to know him better.

july 2014. brandon found himself by my side, on a plane crossing the north atlantic ocean. it was his turn to discover my home country of france for the first time, and my turn to show him where i grew up. as we climbed the hill to the medieval castle that overlooks my hometown of les andelys, i looked back at him and saw that same familiarity set in, the same i had felt a month before in his hometown.

we traveled through france together, by foot, by car, by train, back and forth. our non-touristic excursions took us to many stunning places including normandie, the south of france, auvergne, and paris. our loved ones contributed to our experience in the most thoughtful and welcoming way. we talked and laughed around tables of delicious food and wine, walked through fields of clovers and wildflowers, explored castles, caves, secluded beaches, thousand year old villages. there was baguette making, flower picking, river banks dancing, and lots of picture taking. brandon played his blues-y tunes on found guitars and made people laugh with his long, animated stories. i sang old french songs with the neighbors, cried in my sister’s arms, and then in my best friends arms.

there are many more remarkable moments than i can possibly illustrate, but the most important part is that through it all, no one belonged there with me more than he did. between the US and france, our story was finally coming full circle, and proposing to each other symbolized that beautifully. we wanted our moment to be private, intentional and quietly mind-blowing. there was no kneeling down on one knee, no pretending to be surprised, no fluff, no big show. we simply let the stunning views from the island of porquerolles be the only dramatic part to our moment, and we naturally let our hearts and our words guide us through mutually asking to be each other’s lifelong partners.

i’m sure there will be more commitments made in the future. this one is the original, and so, we made it together.

these are a few portraits we quickly captured of one another at our friends vacation home in the presqu’ile de giens, just hours after our mutual proposal on the island of porquerolles..

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for more photos from our wonder-filled trip throughout france, check out my instagram page.

  • Dr. David Warkentin on March 5, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    Galaxie, Filicitations avec tous vos success dans la vie. Tes photographs sont très très belles!

  • Simone Lopes on April 16, 2015 at 8:57 am

    Touchant…simple, yet RICH in emotional intelligence…you are BOTH right, no need for fluff…and so on…when you truly love each other, each other’s presence is WHAT truly counts in life, through the beautiful, the good, the bad and even the ugly. With such an approach, from the both of you, YOU WILL live very happy lives TOGETHER. We are humbled to be part of it. We love you deeply. La Famille Lopes-Gilbert