• Ryan M Armstrong

"500 Days of Audrey," or, "She said 'yes'"

Updated: Feb 25

I had a pretty exciting Valentine's Day this year.




The book of Job and Alice's Adventures in Wonderland both have a "frame tale." They open with a prologue that tells of an ordinary day when the world gets turned upside down. After the adventures, these books close with an epilogue that tells of our heroes returning to normal life, having been changed by their adventures.


Such is the case with my recent adventures. I met Audrey one ordinary day. Well, if we are now considering global pandemics normal... I was excited about teaching a joint class for Jewish Theological Seminary, Union Theological Seminary, and Columbia University. I was nearing a decent draft of my dissertation. Then Audrey walked into my life, and the adventure started.

Our First Date, Tudo Bem!

I knew she was special right away. Not because she met my minimum requirements (she's gorgeous and speaks five languages 😏). But when she texted, "I showed you mine, now you show me yours"--and she was talking about her library--that's when I knew we belong together.


Our humor connects. Usually people take my jokes too seriously unless I use enough emojis to put a pre-teen to shame. From the outset, Audrey responded to my jokes with her own witty quips, no emojis required! On top of that, she's biblically literate, which means that, at any moment, one of us can make a Bible joke. She says I'm the first person to use the Bible to flirt with her. (The Bible is such an underused resource.)


Audrey's a brilliant educator. She teaches at a bi-lingual middle school in the Bronx. She knows how to be firm and loving at the same time. If someone can command the respect of a 12-yr-old, adults are easy. She knows her subjects well. She's a competent historian and literary critic. Her input was invaluable for sharpening early drafts of my dissertation. She is constantly teaching me about pedagogy. I have become a better teacher since meeting her.


Ah yes, she's also an incredible singer-songwriter. Well-trained and able to belt out Broadway and pop. Catch her on Twitch sometime.

500 Days After Our First Date

Our adventure together has been us vs the world. Together we weathered rain storms, family members in cancer treatments, COVID and all its restrictions, a presidential election, poverty, Zoom teaching, a PhD, being stranded in the desert in Pasco, WA, and middle schoolers. I convinced her to overcome her fear of roller coasters. She convinced me to think about work-life balance. She picked me up when I thought I'd never finish my PhD, and she was in the cheering gallery at my defense.


Exactly 500 days after our first date, I asked her to be my wife. She said yes! I look forward to the epilogue of this adventure, when being married to her becomes normal life.







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