Love on The Bluff: couples on campus share their stories

By Annika Gordon | February 15, 2017 1:03am

by Annika Gordon / The Beacon

Happy love day, Pilots! Love is clearly in the air on The Bluff this year. We talked to some couples on campus whose stories will make your heart sing, or make you nauseous depending on your opinions on Valentine's Day. 

Gabriela Quinonez-Riegos (junior) & Emma Martinez (junior)

Years together: A year and a half

What do you love about each other?

Quinonez-Riegos: I think something that’s so important to share in a relationship is like having fun, always. Like 2 a.m., we’re in the library finishing a fifteen-page paper and we’re still having a lot of fun together even though it sucks. And I think that’s the biggest sign of having a really strong bond. Like even if she’s crying all day because of twenty million things, we can still goof around.

Martinez: Even if I’m extremely stressed out and overwhelmed Gabriela can make me laugh somehow which I find a lot of comfort in. That sense of playfulness is really important and we have that.

Callie Hogan (freshman at UP) & Dylan Bearg (freshman at Santa Rosa Junior College in CA)

Years together: A year and one week 

Describe the first time you said, "I love you."  

Bearg: I remember I was really, really nervous and I was just kind of standing there like “eh.”

Hogan: He looked a little scared. We were just standing out there and it was dark and freezing.

Bearg: And then I just said “I love you” and that was that.

Aly Sillin (junior) & Gordon Hamerski (sophomore)

Years together: Seven months

What was your first date?

Sillin: He took me to see "Ghostbusters." And what was kind of funny about that was I got really car sick on the way back and he had to speed-drive me home and he dropped me off and I just threw up all over my bathroom. So that’s what I remember about our first date. “Oh this movie’s nice,” and then “bleh.”

What do you love about each other?

Sillin: We’re partners. And I feel bad if he can’t be somewhere with me. He’s with me all the time and it’s kind of nice knowing I have a person there like, “that’s my partner" in life to always be there and have every experience with me, I think. Which is good. It’s interesting. But now all of my stories are like “Oh, me and Gordon did this, me and Gordon did that” and everyone’s kind of tired of me talking about him.

Dr. Molly Hiro (Associate Professor of English) & Dr. Lars Larson (Associate Professor of English) — both working at UP for 12 years teaching American Literature

Years together: Met in 1996 (21 years ago) 

How did you meet?

Hiro: Fall of ‘96. I started the grad program, he was a year ahead of me. I was a first year, he was a second year and it was actually at the welcome party for new grad students and I was meeting a whole bunch of new grad students—I was looking for friends—and he was friendly. But we didn’t start dating until that spring.

How did it all begin?

Larson: It was an exchange of letters. After a camping trip—a department camping trip. You know, you just start growing proximate to someone—you grow accustomed to their face. You learn to trust this stranger, you’re energized by drawing their interests. It becomes a game, a challenge, a joy to keep the other person’s attention.

Hiro: I definitely had been interested, but he seemed a little standoffish. Then we went on this awesome backpacking trip in Arizona and he is an Eagle Scout so he was a really good leader of this trip—he put it all together and he made the whole plan and I was just, “Wow, this person’s got way more going on than I thought.” So when we came back I wrote a letter to him saying, “I just want to make sure you know how much all of your efforts were appreciated” and he took that as an invitation to write me a letter back saying—like an old-fashioned, by mail letter saying, “I’d love to hang out some more.” And that was pretty much the beginning. Then we went on a date later that week.

Larson: You don’t find too many kick-ass, independent, hiking women out there. So it was good. Ultimately I proposed to her on the top of Half-Dome in Yosemite after we were both able to make it to the top of that mountain.

Hiro: Two years later.

Larson: Two years later.

Dr. Nicole Leupp Hanig (Assistant Professor of Music and Head of Voice Area) & Dr. Ross Leupp Hanig (Assistant Professor of Economics)Years together: 10 years

How did you propose?

Nicole Hanig: The actual proposal was that you took me to a jewelry store—a special kind of jewelry store where you could design your own ring—and so he took me there and said, “We’re here to design your engagement ring.” So that was kind of the real proposal so we did that and you laughed because I was speechless in a shopping environment. Which is not my norm. And then, after months of designing the ring and all of that stuff and it was finally done…

Ross Hanig: I made fancy Mexican food and Nicole kept asking me, “Is there a question you’d like to ask me? You have any questions?” And I had one it turned out.

What would you tell young people is an important part of being in a relationship?

Nicole Hanig: I think it’s important to always try and understand where the other person is coming from. That’s important in life, but it is particularly important with the person that you’re living with because nothing is ever going to be equal. One person is going to need more at one point than another one, you’re never going to have this sense of “fair,” but it’s always trying to understand where the other person is coming from and recognizing where “hey, right now, Ross gets to be the one who needs things” and sometimes I get to be that person, but understanding that it’s always going to be a trade-off and if you’re seeking equity, that’s never going to happen. That’s not part of human relationships. So just really understanding where people are coming from, and who needs what when.

Ross Hanig: Listening, and honestly listening to the other person and hearing what they have to say and being open to change.

Kiley Gersch (sophomore/Mechanical Engineering) and Joe Cahill (2016 UP graduate/marketing)

Years together: A year on Feb. 28

How did you meet?

Gersch: Joe was my Zumba instructor last year and after a couple of weeks, apparently, of wanting to ask me out, he followed me out of class one night—

Cahill: That sounds creepy.

Gersch: —Yeah, that does sound really creepy! No, but I broke away from my friends—they were in a workout—and he saw that and came out after me and started talking to me and so I thought it was really weird and I was like “Eh, I guess he’s kind of friendly.” And then I don’t know where, but he was just like “Hey, you wanna go out on a date sometime? Get to know each other better?” and I apparently handled it really well, but inside I was like “Oh, my God!”

Kiley, is it true that you’re the Zumba instructor now? How did that happen?

Gersch: I am. Because I’ve been taking Zumba for a long time. I started in sixth grade and they had youth classes at the local Y, but it was taught by old people so it wasn’t super fun, but I kept with it so when they had classes here, I was like “Okay, I’ll go with my friends”—they wanted me to go and I mean, you don’t expect a ginger, senior guy teaching you Zumba classes and it was all oriented towards younger people so I had a lot more fun so I went to every class and then I was like “Hey. He’s graduating. I see an opportunity.” So then I got certified and now I’m the teacher.