Bryan is a man of few words.
He was going to leave it at that, but Tashia said if he didn't write at least something, she would beat him into submission. Several bruises later, here is his story:
Bryan was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. From a young age he enjoyed music, whether it be singing oldies with Mom or jamming out to the X-Files theme song with Dad. In elementary school he got his first taste of playing (recorder, xylophone, and piano) as well as singing in the school choir and the Cincinnati Boychoir. In the third grade, in order to keep Bryan entertained during a day off of school, his dad sat him in front of a computer, opened up a web browser, and said "here you go, this is the internet." This will be important later.
In middle school Bryan picked up a few more instruments (trombone and accordion) and, when he got hungry on Saturday afternoons and there was no pre-made food to eat, started to teach himself how to cook. His first signature dish was a (likely overly sweet and overcooked) orange chicken. One day after cooking some bacon, Bryan discovered experimented with cooking things in the leftover fat. Bread: GOOD! Chocolate chips: not so good.
Middle school was also where Bryan was first introduced to Microsoft Excel. This will also be important later.
In High School Bryan joined the marching band, symphonic band, jazz band, and show choir (but not all at once; marching band season ends in November), and he started playing keyboard in the praise band at church and its multiple secular spinoffs (America's Treasure Hunt, Bryan Metz and the Yankees, and countless unnamed one-gig bands) all comprised of varying combinations of the same 6-8 people.
After high school, Bryan chose to pursue a Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. In class he impressed his teachers and peers with his ever-growing Excel knowledge; out of class he spent time performing at all football and basketball games in the pep band; over summers and holidays he honed his cooking skills.
After college, Bryan rejoined the church praise band (now called Against the Grain), where he played weekly with three of his future groomsmen. He got his first "real" job, which would start him on the path towards his current job, a financial analyst (aka Excel Monkey) at a commercial door manufacturer. He practiced his cooking and absorbed as much food TV as he could to prepare for the restaurant he would eventually open up (wishful thinking). And not being one to socialize or interact with the world, he decided to look for a relationship where he found just about everything else in life: the internet.
After several failed attempts, he got a message from the woman he would eventually marry (spoiler alert: her story is on the other half of this page!). They don't have any cutesy "she hated me at first" or "we came this close to missing our first date" stories... but then again, maybe that in itself is the cutesy story.
Natashia was born in Missouri and moved to Iowa at a young age. Growing up in Iowa, she attended the College Community School district and took part in as much as she could, from sports, to clubs, to advanced courses, and even college level courses. This girl was addicted to activities...and socializing! At the same time, she was a complete bookworm and read everything she could get her hands on. Her plan was to become successful and independent...and to read every book on the face of the planet!
Working two part time jobs, racking up over 300 hours of volunteer time, and taking part in multiple clubs and organizations kept her too busy to date much in high school. Not to mention there were so many accelerated classes to take and books to read! A family member had once told her that she may be booksmart, but when it came to common sense, she was dumber than a bag of rocks...which was true on many levels!
Natashia chose to attend Cornell College, close to home so she could continue working her way through school. Adding on three work study positions and even more club activities, she found her passions in Geology and event planning for organizations. Just for kicks, she threw in Spanish as a minor. Now, instead of being dumber than that bag of rocks, she was going to study them! Ironic, eh?
Natashia followed fellow geology majors into Graduate School at the University of Cincinnati after receiving her Bachelor's degree and said good bye to the cornfields of Iowa to welcome the hills and valleys of Ohio. Her Master's degree was a long, gruelling process in which she attended conferences, created some figures, wrote a thesis......and branched out through classes and clubs. The only geology major to take classes outside of the field, she learned many new skills (like GIS and Environmental Law) that have helped her move forward in her career. She also proceeded to take part in the Geology club, working her way up to the President position.
Graduating from UC in June of 2013, Natashia had spent her last year applying for over 75 jobs! Yep, you read that right. After taking on minor jobs at Kroger and a Temp agency, she finally received the call she had been waiting on. She accepted a position as a field geologist for an environmental consulting firm in Cincinnati, step 1 in her decision to stay in Ohio.
Always the one to be socializing and interacting with the world, Natashia considered online dating to be ridiculous. She believed you should find the person you're going to spend the rest of your life with while living your life. But her friends convinced her to open on online dating profile, just because. In fact, she was practically forced into it one girls night after Gilmore Girls and nail painting had become too boring for the other ladies...and wine might have played a part in the decision as well. It is a night and group of women she will forever be thankful for!
After a couple months of receiving messages, but not getting the nerve to send any, she happened upon the photo of a man with an open smile and a fun, carefree look about him - not to mention those blue eyes! Something in her made her read his profile. And then that something pushed her to send him a message. To think, their relationship got started about a trombone. Believe me, she'll never live that one down.
The rest, my friends, is written in memory!
Their First Date Story
On the first date, I spent at least an hour deciding what to wear. You never want to go into something looking too done up or not done up enough. I settled on the best jeans I had, and my parrot shirt (this is important, I promise). We met at Sitwell's on a Sunday at 3pm (3:30 because Bryan was running late), a coffee shop in Clifton. After ordering a hot chocolate, I sat with my Kindle in the very back booth to wait for him, which is when he texted saying he was running late. I knew the minute he walked into the coffee shop, but I was beyond nervous that I pretended I didn't notice him. From under my eyelashes, I watched him walk into the shop and look around. Spotting me, he headed my way and I remember thinking to myself, "Ooo! Let that be him, let it be him!" And I was in luck! He caught my eye last second and I looked up to say hi. We had an akward moment of, "Do we shake hands or hug?" and ended up doing both, practically. He sat down across from me and we started talking. I noticed he was wearing a yellow button up sweater that was a bit wrinkled at the top, like it had been messed with when he wasn't sure whether to button the top button or not. It made me smile inside and relax a bit. So much that we talked for 3 and a half hours! And about everything! From religion to occupation to politics to books to movies! Everything! And it was easy, right from the start. The only thing that stopped us from continuing to talk the night away was the phone going off. I realized I had to check on Lou, a bird I was bird sitting. I told Bryan I had to leave to check on the bird and he thought it was cute I was wearing a parrot shirt to check on the parrotlet. He paid, gave me a hug, and said he hoped we could do this again. I remember leaving and thinking, "What if he thinks I'm lying about the bird?!" And that was my last thought on our first date. (I have introduced him to Lou since then, so he knows I wasn't lying.)