How We Met
In May of 2008, Jasmine was living in her brother’s old room in Ventura, CA, and thought it might be fun to go to a bluegrass festival with a bunch of friends. Mike, a friendly acquaintance, was living in Santa Cruz and scheming a way to start his own business. Jasmine invited Mike into her band of merry festival-goers, since the festival was directly half the distance between them. Odd thing, how fate works. One by one, every other person dropped out of the caravan, except for Mike.
Over the four days of the festival, the sounds of banjos, fiddles, and mandolins drifted through the warm air. When there wasn’t music playing on stage, there was music playing in the campsites, spread out over the tiny little town of Parkfield, CA (population 16). Late into the night, listening to the furious jamming around us while we shared a bottle of Paso Robles wine and laughed and discovered each other, a deep, unpredictable connection formed between us. Apart from uncovering each other’s quirks (Mike’s propensity to charm people into giving him things for free, Jasmine’s propensity for singing loudly and constantly, without discretion), we also retraced our histories and realized that we actually went back a whole lot further.
Although we say that we truly met each other in Parkfield, technically we were in choir together at UC Santa Cruz in the winter of 2003. Mike was a freshman, Jasmine was a sophomore. Jasmine was vaguely aware of Mike’s existence as one of the three basses in the choir. Mike remembered Jasmine as the loud one who fondly roasted the wonderful French Canadian director by quoting back to him all the funny things he said during the course of the quarter. Mike has been known to remark, “I thought she was in charge!” A glimpse into the future perhaps.
Every year, we pilgrimage back to Parkfield. Our festival friends have watched our relationship grow every year. We look forward to attending the festival in May 2011 as husband and wife.
On a sunny weekend in mid-July 2010, we planned a trip to Napa. Mike suggested that we each plan a special surprise activity for each other during the weekend. Jasmine agreed to this delightful plan. As the trip drew nearer, Mike offered one hint about his activity, knowing of Jasmine’s intense dislike of pre-dawn escapades; we would have to be ready to go at 4:45am in front of the hotel. “What devilry is this?” Jasmine mused politely to herself (or she might have said something to that effect aloud, she can’t remember, it was such a blur). We checked into the John Muir Inn, in homage to one of Mike’s personal heroes, had a delicious meal at a restaurant called Fume (which, should the accent have been visible on the sign, means “smoke” in French) and hit the hay early. 4am rolled around right on time and we managed to bumble to the front of the hotel, bleary eyed, but excited. A pick-up truck with a giant, bizarre-looking basket in the bed and “Napa Gliders” laminated on the side rolled up. Mike had arranged for a hot air balloon ride! Weather conditions were undesirable in Napa, but we took a van to Davis and from there we launched into the sky for a beautiful view of the patchwork of crops, rivers, trees, and farmland. Mike cleverly asked the other couple in the balloon to take our photo while we were up in the air and so we have shot by shot footage of him proposing with a beautiful ring and Jasmine accepting. There are some in the video above and you can also check out the photos in our Jasmine and Mike at Large album.
After the amazing balloon ride and breakfast (but not before Mike managed to score us a free pie from a Marie Callender’s), it was time for Jasmine’s planned activity. She surprised Mike with a segway ride around Napa Valley! While she had not planned on a guided tour, the man who dropped off the segways said that he would happily show us around for free. He took us all around Yountville, weaving in and out of private vineyards and gliding through quiet neighborhoods with beautiful houses. It was a splendid afternoon, a perfect kick-off to our engagement, and we couldn’t have spent it in better company.
Jasmine is a bi-coastal lady. She was born in New York City, lived in sleepy little town called Hastings-on-Hudson until her family moved to Ojai, California, where she graduated high school in 2002. Jasmine chose to attend UC Santa Cruz because it was the most beautiful place she had ever seen. She was heavily involved in her local college communities, as a residential assistant and student parliament officer at Kresge College and a student leader and publicity intern at Santa Cruz Hillel. She could be found holding court at weekly Shabbat dinners (ie, dishing out hummus, occasionally leading services, and generally making a spectacle of herself in various reenactments of the Passover story), in line at the midnight movie theatre, writing scripts with friends, walking along West Cliff drive or plotting her take-over of Hollywood. She graduated with honors in both her major and her college in 2006 with a major in Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing and a minor in Jewish Studies. After college, she worked in the children’s section of Barnes and Nobles, in donor services at Mazon: A Jewish Response to Hunger, as a freelance writer to an unemployment guide book company, and as an editorial intern in the children’s department at Chronicle Books in San Francisco. Jasmine is now a theatre publicist in the Bay Area; her clients include touring Broadway shows and local theatre companies. She plays guitar, is learning banjo, and currently sings with a local blues band. She loves her books, the ones on her shelves and the ones in her head.
Mike was born and raised in Penn Valley, a dear little town nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains near Lake Tahoe. He played trombone in his high school marching band and jazz band and was heavily involved with his local boy scout troupe, where he developed a deep love for the outdoors. Hiking and backpacking remain two of his favorite hobbies; he has hitch-hiked and backpacked his way up to Canada twice. Mike went to UC Santa Cruz to study psychology and community studies with the intent of becoming an audio documentarian. Mike’s eclectic tastes and interests have certainly opened many doors for him, he has worked at Fry’s Electronics, as a furniture delivery truck driver, an electronic component distributor, a pizza guy, an apartment manager, a freelance IT and marketing design consultant (for which he started his own business, PsiBlue), website designer, and he currently is the Vice President of Product Development at a social networking start-up company in the Silicon Valley. He is a gifted computer technician and a techno-phile, always up to date on the latest and the greatest. Mike also enjoys writing poetry, playing guitar, hula-hooping, and daydreaming about building an intentional community (ask him about it!)–sometimes all at the same time.