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Engaged at sea- Spring 2018 voyager proposes on field program
For Stevie Gray and Marcela Riddick, getting engaged on Semester at Sea wasn’t a surprise. After knowing each other half their lives, and in a relationship for six years, marriage seemed imminent. It was deciding the right moment that was the challenge, and they found it in Mauritius.
“There were a few ports where I had the ring and planned on doing it, but it might have been the right scenery, but not the right moment,” said Gray about eventually deciding on Mauritius to propose. “I knew just from the itinerary from our day trip in Mauritius that this is where I wanted to do it.”
Gray and Riddick have been traveling together on Semester at Sea and learning more about each other on the way. Gray proposed while the ship was in Mauritius, in front of a waterfall while on the Scenic South field program.
“We were standing at the top of this hill and looking out at the waterfall and he came up behind me and sort of whispered ‘are you ready?’ and that’s when I knew it was going to happen,” Riddick said.
Riddick and Gray are used to doing everything together. They picked their university together, they live together and now, they’re studying abroad together. Riddick explains that this is something that comes naturally to them.
“My mom always says we just do things,” Riddick said. “We just decide to do things and go for them, and it always works out and I thoroughly believe it works out because we’re together and figuring it out together.”
Riddick and Gray met in the fifth grade, where Riddick explains they “hated each other.” But as time passed and they started middle school, they had matured and grown to like one another, to the point where they were close friends.
“Our friendship was so genuine,” Riddick said. “We did everything together- our science fairs, we would go over to each other’s houses all time. Our friendship was a great foundation for the rest of it. He asked me out four times before I went out with him because I really didn’t want to ruin our friendship.”
Gray and Riddick celebrated their engagement with a surprise visit from Riddick’s mother in South Africa. As they sail into the rest of their voyage together, they are thankful for each other and all the experiences they’ve had with the program.
“It makes it a lot more special that this is the 10-year anniversary of knowing each other,” Gray said. “I can’t imagine doing this program alone and I can’t imagine doing this with anyone else.”