For Stevie Gray and Marcela Riddick, getting engaged on Semester at Sea wasn‚Äôt 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.
‚ÄúThere 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,‚Äù said Gray about eventually deciding on Mauritius to propose. ‚ÄúI knew just from the itinerary from our day trip in Mauritius that this is where I wanted to do it.‚Äù
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.
‚ÄúWe were standing at the top of this hill and looking out at the waterfall and he came up behind me and sort of whispered ‚Äòare you ready?‚Äô and that‚Äôs when I knew it was going to happen,‚Äù Riddick said.
Riddick and Gray are used to doing everything together. They picked their university together, they live together and now, they‚Äôre studying abroad together. Riddick explains that this is something that comes naturally to them.
‚ÄúMy mom always says we just do things,‚Äù Riddick said. ‚ÄúWe just decide to do things and go for them, and it always works out and I thoroughly believe it works out because we‚Äôre together and figuring it out together.‚Äù
Riddick and Gray met in the fifth grade, where Riddick explains they ‚Äúhated each other.‚Äù 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.
‚ÄúOur friendship was so genuine,‚Äù Riddick said. ‚ÄúWe 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‚Äôt want to ruin our friendship.‚Äù
Gray and Riddick celebrated their engagement with a surprise visit from Riddick‚Äôs 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‚Äôve had with the program.
‚ÄúIt makes it a lot more special that this is the 10-year anniversary of knowing each other,‚Äù Gray said. ‚ÄúI can‚Äôt imagine doing this program alone and I can‚Äôt imagine doing this with anyone else.‚Äù