The Beginning: FBLA & Missing Items

Hey everyone! Today my boyfriend and I are celebrating our four-year anniversary while I’m here in Iowa and he’s in Miami. It’s a bit of a long story… ok, a really long story. I’ll start from the beginning.

In high school I was very much into Future Business Leaders of America, or FBLA. (It’s a national business club where students compete and attend conferences and workshops to develop business and leadership skills. I guess it’s all in the name, huh?) I joined my sophomore year when I was looking into doing something other than sports, and since I of course wanted to be a “Future Business Leader” I not only joined, I ran for reporter. I eventually became my school chapter president my senior year and helped plan and organize the Iowa State Leadership Conference with my advisor. Due to all the work I did to help put the whole thing together, I actually ended up getting first place in the “Miss Iowa FBLA” competition – “the most prestigious of awards”. No, I did not put on a beautiful dress and walk across a stage. Well, actually I did for the award ceremony, but that’s beside the point. I went through a whole process including an interview, submission of a cover letter, resume, and a test. It was insane. Even more insane? I beat every single female state officer, and there were a lot of them that year. This usually didn’t happen, but somehow I pulled it off.

Ok, so why is this important to my love story? Well, in every competition, 1st and 2nd place at state move onto compete at nationals. Since Iowa still split up the Future Business Leader competition into genders, only first place from each can go. This meant I was going to California! I knew that it was going to be amazing, but I had no idea that it was going to change my life forever.

Fast forward to the Wednesday of the National Leadership Conference in Anaheim – June 24, 2009 – a month after graduation. I was waiting in line to take my test at the Hilton Hotel.  I saw this guy studying out of a handbook that might as well have been the entire Game of Thrones series.  I sort of tried to study with him, but we got caught up talking about each other’s accents. (He was from Kentucky, and I don’t have one.) Anyways, after the test, we continued to talk about our states’ differences and proceeded across the street to the Marriot Hotel where most of the workshops were.  While in the lobby, we met this other girl named Cameron – even spelled right! So of course, I whipped out my newly purchased camera and we took a picture. We chatted for a bit, and then I headed back to my hotel – the Red Lion, not realizing that somewhere along the way my camera vanished.

On Friday June 26th, after not finding my camera for that past day, I realized that it must have been dropped somewhere at the Marriott, even though I was pretty sure I remembered putting in my purse. So I called the hotel and they told me that they had one, but they weren’t sure if it was mine. I told my girlfriends and they offered to go with me.

When we arrived at the front desk of the Marriott, there was a woman in front of us that for whatever reason was taking a very long time.  As we stood there patiently, male voices appeared from behind us. I of course slowly turn around, still talking to my friends to glance at these two guys from which the voices were coming from.  Oh my goodness were they cute, and they definitely didn’t look like any Iowa guys.  I immediately knew they were with FBLA because 1: They were both in suits. 2: They looked too young to have a job working in those suits. And 3: The flashing orange Florida pins totally gave it away.  I also gave us away by my Iowa corn pin. I know. We’re so original.

I can’t remember who started the conversation first. I think I asked if they were in FBLA, which was a very stupid question because we already established that it was obvious.   From there I honestly can’t remember what we talked about. I know there was talk about what Miami is like, and what Iowa is like. They also showed us how to “properly” kiss on the cheek while greeting others. Ok, not they – David – the one on the right. He was a total flirt. But I didn’t pay attention because the entire time I could not take my eyes off the guy on the left, and I seem to remember him not being able to take his eyes off me.

Finally after I found out that it actually wasn’t my camera at the hotel, this guy on the left blurted out, “Can I have one of your girls’ numbers?” Really? We all know who you’re talking to, but I guess that works. Once we were out of earshot, I remember the first thing that came out of my mouth – “That guy is so hot! His name is Gustavo, right?”  The first thing that Gustavo said to David? “I call dibs.”

The rest of the day was actually pretty crazy, and I remember it all in a blur because it happened so fast. It didn’t take Gustavo long text me, and I don’t think my smile could have been any bigger.  We continued to text throughout the workshops that we were attending, and somehow ran into each other again afterwards. (Ok, I might have been to blame for this because I just happened to know which workshop he was in.)  We hung out with each other and our friends off and on for the rest of the day and had a blast. That night we met at Downtown Disney, actually in the Lego Land.  I remember being so nervous waiting with my friends. Then the next thing I remember Gustavo and I were holding hands and we were talking like we had known each other forever. Once we got back, we were about to say goodbye when he leaned over and kissed me! (Keep in mind we had just met 12 hours ago.) I think my face turned as pink as my sweatshirt.

That night I got a text from him asking me if I would like to go on a date. This was my text back: “Really? You’re going to ask me out over a text message?”   My phone rang immediately and a date was set for the next night.

Saturday June 27th – four years ago today, Gustavo knocked on my hotel door and walked me to Downtown Disney. It took us about ten minutes to get there, but I wasn’t paying attention. Actually, I wasn’t paying attention to anything besides my conversation with Gustavo. If I had, I would have probably seen my advisor and her family walking straight toward us, and I probably would have ducked out of the way. Instead, Mrs. Lampe was calling my name over and over until suddenly Gustavo asks me, “Hey, do you know her?” “Who,” I respond. “Oh, hey Mrs. Lampe!” Totally trying to keep my cool, I tell Gustavo that we’re supposed to have a buddy system with other people from Iowa, not strange guys that have goatees and look like their 22. We kept walking and just as we got to the Rainforest Café, my phone rang, except it was Mrs. Larson, my other advisor. I was in trouble.  I had to say goodbye to my “friend” and walk back with Mrs. Lampe. Great. Date ruined.

We had a super awkward goodbye in front of Lampe’s family, and then he proceeded to go get an Orange Julius.  Thankfully, Mrs. Lampe calmed down after learning he’s a Florida state officer and let him walk me back to my room.  If you ask him today, he’ll tell you that I stole his smoothie, but he totally let me have it! Back at my room, the girls were all watching TV, so we joined them. Nutty Professor came on and we actually watched it. Yep, our first movie together! So romantic.

The next day we totally made up for it at the dance after the final ceremony. He taught me the Merengue to Pitbull, and I remember feeling like Cinderella. I honestly thought that at some point that clock was going to strike 12 when we said goodbye Monday morning, but here we are, four years later.  He went back to Miami, I went back to Iowa, and Skype became our best friend, besides one another of course.

There is so much more that I think I’ll leave it for another day. Like I said. It’s a very long story. Oh, and the reason why Gustavo was at the reception desk? He went with David because David lost his room key. I don’t know about your beliefs, but I truly believe God put this man in my life. I feel like the luckiest girl in the world and am truly blessed to have found such an amazing guy in such an incredible way.

Thank you all so much for reading, and be sure to follow me if you’d like to hear the rest of the story. :)

◆ Outfit ◆

◆ Dress – Elle from Kohl’s

◆ Wedges – Guess from TJ Maxx

◆ Cardigan – Walmart

◆ Accessories: watch – AE, belt – random

◆ Photography ◆

Amanda Howell


Here are some pictures taken from our 2009 SLCs and NLC:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s