New Orleans native Cristina Ortiz ’10 and Richard Carapezza of Salt Lake City may hail from different parts of the country, but it was clear that the two regulars at the Cambridge Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints had more than religion in common.
“I thought she was cute, so I sat down next to her [at church], and we started talking afterwards,” said Carapezza, a student at the Berklee College of Music at the time. “I found out she was a [New Orleans] Saints fan, and I’m actually a Saints fan, and so we just hit it off.”
They talked on and off for the next couple years, and in the fall of 2008, Carapezza asked her out on what would be their first date of many—to the Boston Beer Works restaurant, followed by ice cream at J.P. Licks.
“We had such a great time,” recalled Ortiz. “I knew it would be something long-term.”
After Carapezza graduated in December 2008, he moved back to Utah—thousands of miles away from Cambridge, where Ortiz was still a junior.
But when he returned east to start a master’s degree in psychology at New York University, the relationship, now newly unfettered by continental distance, grew more serious.
By that fall, the two had started talking about marriage. Carapezza said he had a friend in the jewelry business who helped him find the ring, but even with forewarning, the timing of the proposal still came as a surprise to Ortiz. She was visiting Carapezza in New York for Valentine’s Day weekend earlier this year, and the two of them took the ferry out to Staten Island, where he pulled out the ring to propose.
“I was pretty shocked,” Ortiz remembered. “We had talked about marriage before, but I wasn’t expecting it then!”
Just a couple weeks after the economics concentrator and Leverett House resident gets her Harvard diploma, she and Carapezza will wed in Louisiana—not far from where the Saints play, as it happens.
Next year, they plan to live in New York City, where Ortiz plans to find a job doing public policy work and where Carapezza will finish his degree at NYU.