Christmas 2015- Photo by  Erika Pagan

Christmas 2015- Photo by Erika Pagan

"Nice knowing you". That was the first thing he said to me the first time I met him.

It was a temperate night in Hilo on the second story of a house's dimly lit deck. It was around 10:30 pm. I swear I remember it like it was yesterday. (In the story, we'll call him "A" because I didn't quite ask him if I could tell this story on my blog lol)

I was leaving the little get together, getting ready to go home. "Yeah, Nice meeting you!" I hollered from the bottom of the stairs. 

"Well, we didn't actually meet" said the man who's name I knew but was never officially introduced to.  

*awkwardly* "oh, haha yeah well, I'm Karlie!

"I'm Abner"  

"haha okay bye!" I awkwardly waved as I headed to the car. 

He was visiting Hilo with a friend (whom I had indeed met at church) for 3 months from Florida and the said get together was orchestrated by said friend as a sort of last hurrah the night before they headed back to Pensacola. 

I never thought I'd see him again.


Fast forward a few months. I'm about 10 minutes late to our young adult ministry's weekly gathering. I hurry into the room, spot two close friends and make a beeline for them, trying not to interrupt Chad, our ministry coordinator.

And there he is.  

Sitting at the table with my two friends. We politely exchange smiles as I sit.  

After Chad finishes, we all turn to each other to greet and talk. 

"Hey, you made it!" My friend Erika says. "This is Abner, you met before right?"  

"Yes! From that house right? You came a few months ago." I say confidently (and very warmly might I add) 

His expression is blank.  

"We did? I'm sorry, I don't remember."  


"Aw really? You laughed at my joke! haha it's okay, but I remember you." I awkwardly admit. (My friend had his nose in his phone all night so The joke I told was "hey Travis are you from Africa, because KENYA NOT") A thought it was the funniest thing ever. 


Fast forward again, this time many more months. Both he and I are a part of a group of about 6 friends who hang out all the time.  

I'm working at Jamba Juice, usually the closing shift. My phone buzzes.  

A: Wanna get dinner after you get off of work? 


Me: I don't get off until 8


A: I know


Me: sure! Is everyone coming?  

A:  Not sure, I didn't ask them


 *in my mind* ummm why not? We never hang out one on one


Me: haha well I'm working so if you don't invite anyone else it'll be just us because I won't be able to invite anyone

A:  Okay. Text me when you get off. 


Long story short, I texted him when I finished my shift. We went to Ken's, our local 24 hour pancake house. I was wearing my Jamba Juice uniform: a Forest green t shirt and khaki shorts that were soaking wet in the front as a result of washing dishes. I got there first and grabbed a table for "2, but more might come, I'm not sure". the hostess gave me a table for 2.

Then, he walked in wearing what were (literally) his church clothes. It was a Sunday night, and I had seen him that morning at church in the exact shirt. 

*in my mind* well, he looks like he had a restful day, he stayed in his church shirt, which was pretty dang dressy for Kens.

"Hey!" I said. "You look nice

"Thanks" he smiled. "So do you!" (I had just cut my hair really short)

"psh I look like I peed my pants" I said probably a little too loudly. Because it really did look like I had. 

We both  ordered the exact same meal and ate and talked and laughed over what I thought was just a nice friendly dinner. (I told myself not to read too much into it) 

What I didn't know was that we ate and talked and laughed over our first unofficial date.  

Now let's talk about our first official date. 

We made plans to go to dinner at a sports bar/ burger joint downtown called Cronies about 5 days in advance. We planned it for a Saturday night when I didn't have to work.

 "Sounds good! I'll pick you up at 6:30. What are you gonna do today?" He asks over text on Saturday morning.

The truth is, I was gonna spend a lot of time choosing an outfit that day. But of course, I had to play it cool.  

"Im not too sure. Maybe some laundry, I might go to the gym." You know, cool girl things. 

I find the perfect outfit after racking my brain and closet. A flowy white halter top with a black and white maxi skirt with small abstract butterflies and flowers printed on it. But it's missing something, some kind of item to cover my bare shoulders in case it gets cold. My volleyball hoodies are not going to cut it. So I head to the mall. (First world problems)

It was around lunchtime, so my mom wanted a snack from the food court. I told her I'd catch up with her after I looked for my cover up, jacket, sweater thingy. I made my way into a small corner store to browse and heard a "psssst".

To my surprise and slight horror, THERE HE WAS.  

"Hey!!!!!!" I walked over and nervously said as I hugged him.

"Hey! What are you doing here?" He asked very casually. 

oh no. Play it cool play it cool. "My mom wanted to have lunch, so we decided to come down. What about you?"  


"Oh cool, I just needed to get some clothes. Wanna come help me look?" 

We perused Pac Sun and a couple of surf shops before he found a shirt that he liked. A dark gray button down O'Neill shirt with tiny stitches of cream colored fabric on it. He asked my opinion and bought it. Straight after that he said "alright I'll see you tonight. I'm gonna head out." 

Then it dawned on me. We were there for the same reason. But I had to play it cool again. 

"oh, already? I thought you needed to buy new clothes." 

"I did!" He held up his bagged shirt. 

i giggled. He tried to play it cool too.  

"Okay, I'll see you in a few hours then!" We smiled and hugged.

i didn't end up finding the article of clothing I was looking for. I smiled to myself because I knew he was giddy for our date just like I was. I told my mom everything on the way home and she said "awww cute! Do you think he'll still wear it even though you saw it?"  

Yep he did. And every time he wears it we have a little laugh. 

He showed up at around 6:24 pm wearing the shirt, holding a rose that he picked from the garden. And the rest is history. 

Since that date a little over two years ago, we've done quite a few things.  We've gone on multiple legged trips together and still love each other. (I was a little nervous he wouldn't like me after flying 13 hours with me haha) I've been blessed to visit his amazing hometown of Pensacola and meet all of his best friends; a few of them who have now become good friends of mine as well. I've been blessed to meet a ton of his family along with getting to know his awesome immediate family. I've been blessed to be able to introduce him to my brother & his girlfriend who live in Phoenix and visit with them. I've been blessed to introduce him to a lot of my family as well. 

We've come a long way since that day. We've grown together, experienced together, adventured together. And the best is yet to come. The best growth, the best experiences and the best adventures are all ahead. I love you, thank you for everything you do, A. You are a serious blessing. 

 6 am freezing sunrise on Mauna Kea: January 2, 2016

6 am freezing sunrise on Mauna Kea: January 2, 2016


When he first got his glasses- Spring 2016

 That time we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Waimea: Spring 2016

That time we went to the Cherry Blossom Festival in Waimea: Spring 2016


"Formal night" at his family reunion: Kissimmee, Florida- Summer 2016


Lil baby Valentino (my brother's cat who now weighs 18 lbs) - Phoenix, AZ: Summer 2016


Bam Bam & Pebbles- Halloween 2016


My Pumpkin holdin a Pumpkin: Kohala Pumpkin Patch on film- Fall 2016

 Snow on Mauna Loa- Winter 2016

Snow on Mauna Loa- Winter 2016

 Hammocking at Shipman Beach-Summer 2017: Photo by  Tracey Lyn Gapol

Hammocking at Shipman Beach-Summer 2017: Photo by Tracey Lyn Gapol


A rainy day in a cool town with awesome people: German Village, Ohio- Summer 2017


At his sweet sister's wedding: Columbus, Ohio- Summer 2017: photo by Sam and Grace Photography


Brio Photo Booth Company promotion shoot


On the way to Sedona, AZ on film: Summer 2017

 Campin': Makalawena Beach- Summer 2017

Campin': Makalawena Beach- Summer 2017