Backyard bonfire

Backyard bonfire

October 13, 2019.

Bonfire, ava, and food.

Hangin’ with our community of neighbors and our pups last Sunday in the backyard.

Good vibes all around.

WE’RE ENGAGED!! – The Proposal Story

WE’RE ENGAGED!! – The Proposal Story

Ok so it happened!

It happened!!!

Ian proposed and I said yes!!!

We’re engaged!!!

So many exclamation points. I’m sorry (not sorry).

Wow. How crazy.

Ian loves Nerelle, and Nerelle loves Ian.


It happened just as the sun was setting on Friday, May 24th… A day, I’ll never forget.
And so that I won’t ever forget, here’s a photo journal entry with my account of that very special day for me.


May 25th is our anniversary date. It’s the date we mark on our calendars to celebrate the actual first date we went on–he asked me out the day before (on May 24!!!) during a party bus and the very next day we went to the movies and ate chinese food at Jade Restaurant because it was the only place open on a Sunday–and we’ve been together ever since.  This year makes it five years together.

We try to celebrate our anniversary in some fun memorable way — we’ve traveled for anniversaries, relived our first date, and have gone on some fun island adventures. This year has been busy all the way around so we didn’t plan anything in particular. Ian asked what I wanted to do, and I said I wanted to go on a hike or go camping or do something on the water. We checked the weather – clear skies – and decided we’d hike up to Mt. Alava after work on Friday and camp up there.

We got off work a couple hours early, a perfect way to start off the Memorial Day long weekend. We headed home to pack our minimal camping gear but the beach was calling me, so we jumped in and lazed around for half an hour. Took quick showers, piled our backpacks and Yodi into the truck, and realized we hadn’t eaten any lunch/dinner yet. We were running a bit late if we wanted to summit the peak by sunset, so we hastily made the decision to get McDonald’s drive thru, knowing full well we would probably regret this on the uphill hike. We stuffed our faces on the drive up Pago and parked in the near empty dirt lot and started our ascent.

It was a nice hike – though I did struggle like always with my heavy backpack. And almost two hours later, we finally reached the antennas and stopped for a moment to look back and admire the sunset colors splayed over the entire horizon. Ian’s face looked of wonder and wander.

We got up to the platform and the last lights of the day were slipping away. I pulled my camera out of my pack and tried to snap the glorious view of Matafao peak and Rainmaker mountain in front of the evening ombre. Ian helped Yodi up onto the platform and (I didn’t even notice) got up on the platform too. I was still taking photos when Ian said something like, “I was going to fly the drone, but…” and I think I cut him off with my eyes still locked into my camera’s viewfinder and responded with something like, “That’s ok the sun’s already setting” and I snapped this photo of Rainmaker. And then…


I turned back to look at him

and that’s when I saw him

on his knee

holding up a ring to me

with the sunset making lines in the sky behind him

and he said almost inaudibly and with the shyest smile,


“Will you marry me?”


I had no idea what was going on. I was like, huh? I actually said that out loud too – “wait, what?” and “really?” and I was genuinely caught off guard and had no clue what he was asking me nor what I was supposed to do. I looked at his face trying to understand what was happening, and then all my senses suddenly came alive and I knew what I had to do. Say yes, dummy! I kissed him hard and his nervous smile was replaced with a handsome beam, and then finally I said:


He got up, and we hugged and he gave me the ring and I was like, “you’re supposed to put it on for me!” then he slipped it onto my finger — that’s what makes it official, right? A ring on my finger? — And I finally got a proper look at it. It is sooo beautiful. I’m staring at it again now actually as I type this up. He told me the meaning behind the ring’s design and how it’s like our relationship. And I swear, it’s perfect for me. He’s perfect for me.

The Boat Ride from Ofu to Ta’u, American Samoa

The Boat Ride from Ofu to Ta’u, American Samoa

From my trip to Ofu in January.

Early morning boat ride from Ofu to Ta’u. Big thanks to Ben for helping set me up with getting across and getting from the wharf to the airport. It was an epic boat ride… the lightening of the sky, soft ripples on the water, dew on the boat’s windows, fleeting view of dolphins, birds soaring past us, and of course the mountains bidding tofā and talofa.