This is the tale of two people who had given up on the idea of soul mates until they met each other on an island in the middle of the Bering Sea.
This story starts with Shana. Shana’s a doctor in Nome and she agreed to sit down with me to talk about one of my favorite things, love.
“I definitely believed in soul mates when I was younger and that was something that started to fade. I started to give up on the idea of soul mates,” she said. “There’s a lot of reasons I came to Alaska. I wanted to go to a place where I could do a lot of medicine, and out here we do pretty much everything. But also thinking, that potentially the same kind of person who like adventure and wants to serve in a community that’s under-served…who knows what they would be doing, but potentially I could meet that type of person in Alaska.”
Now meet Dave. Dave currently lives in Nondalton, but he originally came to Alaska several years ago, drawn by the flying and teaching possibilities. Last year, he was a teacher out on the island of Little Diomede.
Dave: “I wanted to go somewhere where there was a high teacher turnover rate and stick around, you know, actually invest in the community and the kids.”
Kristin: “Alright, so what were some of your general beliefs about love?”
Dave: “Let’s see, love at first sight, no. Nah, I’m a science teacher I know how science works. I don’t buy that.”
Kristin: So when would you say your love story begins?”
Dave: [laughs] “As soon as I walked into the room and saw her.”
Their paths crossed last May when Shana traveled to Little Diomede for a medical trip and stayed in the school.
“We were getting settled in and this guy came by and he was wearing this Hawaiian shirt that he calls his island shirt because he lives out on the island of Diomede,” Shana said. “Had a mustache, longish hair and the brightest eyes and a big smile.”
“She smiled and had this amazing smile that just about knocked me out, so I turned around and walked out of the room,” Dave said.
“My impression was, ‘oh he’s really busy.’ He was like, ‘hey you guys okay? Great I’ll see you later.’ And I was like, wow that’s really nice to check on us, but he must be also really busy,” Shana said.
They didn’t really think they’d see each other again, but Before Shana left they traded blog sites.
“His blog is like the soul mate of my blog,” she said.
Blog comments turned into short emails, which turned into longer and longer emails.
Shana: We shared our lives with each other and they were similar in a lot of ways. But then I sent him a poem…”
Dave: “This poem, one of the lines in this poem, was..uh,oh something, what did it say?”
Shana: It’s a poem by Hafiz who’s a Sufi poet, mystic from Persia and it says plant so that your own heart will grow, love so God will think…
Dave: “Ah, I got kin in that body”
Shana: “Ah, I got kin in that body” I should start inviting that soul over for coffee and rolls. Sing because this is a food our starving world needs, laugh because that is the purest sound. And I said, it reminds me of you, especially that part that says, “I should start inviting that soul over for coffee and rolls.”
Dave: “What got me was she said this poem reminded her of me and I was like…wait…could that mean that maybe she’s interested in me, maybe she kind of likes me.”
Yes, it turned out Shana did like Dave. They had their first date in Anchorage where they went flying. They had their second date in Nome where Dave secretly got her ring size…and for their third date, Dave flew up to Nome again.
Dave: “I’m sitting there in that 737 coming into Nome, I looked out the window and I saw the most stunning, amazing, beautiful, low sunlight coming in over the Bering Sea.”
Shana: “It was a gorgeous day, it was right before the solstice, Dec 20th, the sun was shining it was one of the brightest days we had had.”
Dave: “And I saw that and said, well this is it. We gotta go for a walk. So I kept it simple, asked her “Will you marry me?” And she kind of gasped and said…”
Shana: “Honestly, my first thought was “Are you serious?” But I knew that couldn’t’ be the first thing I say.”
Dave: “She knelt down beside me and said, yes. A million times yes.”
Shana: “Yes, a million times yes.”
This segment is part of KNOM’s Story49 love series. If you want to hear the full version and other stories of Western Alaskan couples, you can visit knom dot org.