April 4, 2014
The Internet is famously for several things! And it's how we met - Isaac from Chicago, Abe from Denver, at about 1am Central, on a Friday. (Saturday? It was actually probably Saturday.)
So, that's where the conversation started. It took exactly one phone call to make clear the strong intersection of core belief/philosophy/character between the two of us - a shared sense of why we are alive.
For fully unrelated reasons (a friend's wedding in Durango - hi Elly and Brian!), Isaac already had a flight to Denver booked for two weeks out. This meant dinner, an official kick-off to dating, and an unplanned crashing-of-brunch on Isaac's part after he missed his return flight due to a speeding ticket.
The next few months were a series of 6am-monday-morning-whyyy flights in both directions, crashing with friends and starting to do life together, even with a few hundred miles in the way.
There have been a few important themes in our story, as a whole. An important one: intent. It was fairly early on that Abe asked (pointedly, but not unkindly) what we were even doing here. Neither of us were interested in spending time on a thing that wasn't the thing, particularly with those few hundred miles in play. And, to that point, we also agreed that distance would be an unfortunate reason to call it quits further down the road.
So, trusting that good would follow good, we continued.
April 27, 2014
Shortly after that conversation, a friend (hi Ben D!) connected Isaac with a team at Apple, in California. Neither Abe nor Isaac really remember what was said about this, but it was probably along the lines of "soooooo want to move to California?", and "sure!! #adventure".
May 29th was Isaac's interview in Cupertino. Abe kicked off the day by sending this from Denver:
Isaac is pretty sure that this video is why he got the job.
August 23, 2014
This was the day we found our place in San Jose, which would become The Fort v1.
By rights, though, it was absolutely not us who found this place. The relocation allowance included a helping hand in finding our future home, though the contract did not stipulate the bonus: the helping hand became a life-long friend in the process. (Hi Lesley!)
Another theme along the road has been people. Everywhere! August 23 was closely followed by this gathering of jokers and lovers in Chicago, here to cheer us on as we hit the road:
... and this crew in Denver, here for the same:
(We are INSANELY GRATEFUL for ALL of you, and we love you like CRAZY.)
April 16, 2015
A month or so into our tenure at The Fort v1, we launched The Fort Co as a formal manifestation of how we live and what we aim for - that being love, and creativity, and closeness. It's going to be more than photography, though that's the primary channel right now - Isaac had been doing things with pictures for something like a decade, and when Abe met Isaac he put down his iPhone (just kidding) to pick up a dslr (that happened), took everything Isaac knew about the art, and promptly learned it all in about a month. (There is very little dramatic license going on here.)
The Fort Co is still in motion, now from Denver (more on that bit in just a minute). Plug: thefortco.com.
November 7, 2015
Proposal. And a decision to move to Colorado. This was a difficult day. The year and a half leading up to this point was not so easy - a combination of job things, life things, and a general misalignment with what the rest of Silicon Valley was geared towards. The spirit of the place wasn't what either of us were wired for, which Abe was clear on pretty much immediately, but which took until November 7 to wear through Isaac's resolve on completing the mission. (Turns out not all missions are terminable!)
That Saturday was when Isaac cracked, then broke right down the middle. We talked about everything, dug down and sorted out where we were at, and took a long look at where we were going. This was not romantic, in the storybook sense, but it was in every way an exercise in relationship.
The proposal was largely unplanned. Isaac is not a planner. (Abe, on the other hand, is an amazing planner. You'll see this at our wedding.)
Halfway through this conversation, he headed to the bathroom, and found a little brass ring that a friend (hi Erin H!) had left by the sink.
(A third theme in all this, it's important to note, has been God's absolute and ridiculous provision, and the opening of doors and the placement of handrails in an astonishingly constant manner.)
Isaac picked up the ring, told his mirror-self something along the lines of okay buddy here we go, and headed back into the living room. Knelt down by the couch, al lado de Abe, and said what was real: "When I'm high, when I'm low, when I've got nothing like right exactly now, you're the one I want to do life with. Abraham Paul Lopez, will you marry me?"
Abe, more or less: "... wait really? Now?"
And a moment later, when it was determined that Isaac really actually did mean now: "Yes! I do! I will!"
As mentioned, this is also when we resolved to move, and to move to Colorado. A marriage proposal is laying out in concrete words and a promise the things that you already know to be true. In a similar fashion, the move to Colorado was in acknowledgement that our time in California had an expiration date, and we'd maxed out the shelf life.
We had no idea what the job situation would look like. It didn't really matter. Abe has a camera, Isaac has a laptop, and holy crap had we been cared for thus far.
This is as good a time as any to show you a couple of engagement photos. We can't have everyone stand up at our wedding, but something like a thousand of you stood up with us virtually when we made the announcement. :) Thank you, all of you. Again and again and again.
December 11, 2015
California wasn't so bad. We had a ton of people around us, even there - folks coming in from afar (something like 50 of you came to stay with us in v1), and friends (hi Casey and Joel and Nikka and Gen!) and family (hi Liz and Kate and Donna and Mac and Randy and Sharon!) all living nearby. One of the highlights of that chapter: Abe's family permanently grew by about 8 when he joined a Zumba group. (If you know Abe, no part of this will surprise you.)
December 11 was our second Christmas-and-also-our-birthdays party (Abe: 12/11; Isaac: 12/16). We're including it in this list to call out all the joy that was real in this place - community and art and love, California was hard but it was a far cry from empty.
February 16, 2016
Packing up boxes. You'll note that the 16th is in the middle of a month, and if you were familiar with our rental terms you'd also observe that it was ~7.5 months before our lease was up. (And if you were prescient, as we were not, you'd know that a new tenant would appear and sign a lease the exact night of February 29th, just in time to take over for us. We are, relatedly, extraordinarily thankful for the best landlords ever. Hi Beiying and Lawrence!)
Packing up a home is a strange thing. When we moved in, the place was even more like an empty box than all the other places we'd (independently) lived, so much so that we started our homemaking by installing everything that made us us on a living room wall. And, borrowing from friends (hi Janae and Caitlin!), we started snapping Polaroids (except Japanese! you should buy one of these) to commemorate each little union and reunion.
Leaving v1 turned out to not really be a thing: by the time we'd packed everything up into boxes, the heart of the place was already removed. Not gone, just boxed and put onto a truck. Isaac did have a pretty good cry when it came to actually close the door for the first time, but it was for the closing of a loop, more than a sense of loss. We'd stood there, just inside the door to unit 715, and asked God to fill the place with all the love in the world. And, standing in exactly the same place on February 16th, we looked back and saw that He had.
(And a special shout-out to honored youngsters George and Rebecca! Thank you for the valentine! :D :D)
February 21, 2016
DENVER. WE LIVE IN DENVER NOW. GUYS WE LIVE IN DENVER AND THERE'S A PARK NEXT DOOR WITH DOGS AND CHILDREN FROLICKING IN THE SUNLIGHT.
This chapter is fresh, brand-new, and man alive do we feel the same. We're going to put a hold on the narrative here while we let some more time play out, so come back in about six months and we'll find out what's written here then, same as you. :) (AND COME VISIT. YOU ARE INVITED.)
With alllllll the love, and with gratitude for each of you who have loved us and seen us through every minute thus far, and with joy to be alive in this dance God's put us all together for,
-Abe and Isaac