bird + bear


Dan and Kate met by an act of serendipity, less than an hour after Kate's feet touched earth in the good state of California for the first time. After graduating from Harvard, she arrived in the bay area, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for her first post-college job interview. Her future boss offered to put her up in a swanky Berkeley hotel, but she opted instead to stay with her soon-to-be housemates in Oakland, who also happened to be the current housemates of one Daniel Chazin. When he walked through the door from ultimate frisbee practice, Kate suddenly found herself sitting up a little straighter and worrying about whether her hair (what little of it she had) looked okay... Even in his sweaty frisbee clothes, she thought he was handsome! He immediately put her at ease with his warmth and exuberance, and it quickly became apparent that he had eyes only for her. They thought about each other during the two weeks they were apart, as Kate was packing up her bags and getting ready for the big move. When she moved to California on New Year's Eve, she once again hitched a ride directly to his house. He asked her out for that very evening. When she told him she already had plans, he asked her out for the next day, and the next day, and they day after that, until she finally said yes.


Years later, Dan and Kate moved to Nashville together. When two of Kate's best friends were coming into town and Dan suggested that they go to a fancy brunch--and that she wear a nice dress--Kate had a hunch that he might be planning something. In their 3.5 years of dating, he had never once asked her to put on a nice dress, and it had been almost a year since they picked out a ring together!

She put on the fanciest dress in her closet and got ready to head out the door to the Hermitage Hotel, where she was sure he was going to pop the question. Instead, he stopped her in her tracks, sat her down at the kitchen table, and presented a crossword puzzle meets scavenger hunt meets episode of Jeopardy.

The crossword puzzle (a Sunday tradition for Kate, Dan, and Dan's parents) featured favorite songs, places, and memories. After completing the crossword puzzle, she followed gathered clues from around the house, and the final clue was hidden behind the front door. When she opened the front door, she found her mom, dad, and sister standing on her front porch, holding the last clue! They had driven over seven hours to surprise her and be part of the engagement. She took that final clue, and the others gathered from around the house, to fill in the blanks and create the sentence, "Bird, will you marry me?" When she read it out loud, he pulled the ring out of his pocket, got on one knee, and popped the question. As you might have guessed, she said "Yes!" Dan's parents appeared at the door with Prosecco and orange juice, and friends and family toasted to the newly engaged couple.


Soon after Dan and Kate started dating, Dan learned that Kate's parents used to call her "Katie Bird" when she was a baby. The nickname revived itself after a quarter-century hiatus, and became such a common occurrence, that other friends and loved ones started calling her bird, as well! Dan's nickname origin story is slightly more straightforward: you can take one look at him with his shirt off and know how he got that nickname!

Kate did Google searches for every possible combination of "bird" and "bear" and "mutualism" and "symbiosis" to try to find some sciencey-romantic way of showing a bird and a bear living symbiotically in nature. Her searches came up empty, but she maintains that somewhere out there, deep in the forests beyond the reaches of modern science, there's a bird eating bugs off a vegan bear, living together in harmony among the pines.