1. Just a little 411 on who you are, where you're from, etc?
Marie: My name is Marie Cravens. I'm from Encinitas, CA. I just relocated back to California this past summer, but before that I was living in NYC and Sydney for 7 years, working in social media and influencer marketing.
Matt: Matt T. from Brooklyn, NY. I work in technology consulting sales. My passions are surfing, wasting hours on political Twitter, and reading non-fiction (mostly history).
2. How did you end up in La Casa?
Marie: I was in desperate need of a vacation. Two of my best friends were down to go to Mexico City for spring break, but I needed more time off than that, so I looked at a map and picked a coastal city in Mexico, found La Casa MX on Airbnb and was all set to just zone out and relax by the beach. Fate had other plans however. The original plan was I would be there for one week alone, then my friend Angel would meet me in Zihuatanejo for the weekend, and we would all head to CDMX for 5 days, meeting our other friend. The day of Angel's flight though was canceled, so he decided to just go to CDMX a day early. Then, La Casa informed me that the entire hotel had been booked on the original dates I planned, and they had rebooked us at a nearby hotel. I was so bummed, as I had been looking forward to staying there so badly, but they offered me two free nights in exchange for my trouble, and since I was staying at a nearby Airbnb just down the road, I said why not? Left most of my stuff where it was, packed a backpack and hiked up the hill to La Casa alone.
Matt: I left my job of 5 years unexpectedly (you can read between the lines on that one) and picked, somewhat serendipitously, Zihua to spend the next 3 weeks to get my head wrapped around what I was going to do next.
3. What were your first impressions of each other?
Marie: Matt was the first person I saw when I walked in. He was sitting outside on his laptop doing work, and I immediately thought he was so hot (I snuck a picture of him actually and texted it in a group chat with my best friends, lol). I was sure he was there with a girlfriend or wife. I started taking selfies (obviously), and he offered to help take a photo of me, then we started talking. Then he mentioned he was going surfing and he either invited me or I invited myself, either or, I went along. We talked the whole way there, surfed all day with giant sea turtles, then came back to La Casa, and went to dinner with everyone. Our day extended into night, which ended up with drinks and listening to music by the pool at La Casa all night... then we didn't separate again for the next five days. LOL.
Matt: Marie was wearing the corniest hat ever and then proceeded to take a zillion photographs of herself. I invited her to go surfing up in Saladita, and we just started draining different topics about each other's lives. It felt pretty natural. It was kinda cool that we were getting along really well and it was a pretty big turn on to see her pop up on go down the line after a 20 mins paddle out to the point break in Saladita.
4. What drew you to one another?
Marie: I think there was an immediate attraction, but we didn't really know what was going on with the other at first. We weren't really flirting, more just talking, laughing and connecting on a friendship level. No topics were taboo— we talked all day long about anything and everything. We obviously had surfing and New York in common, but we were also both feeling very confused and jaded about love and relationships in general (I was literally reading a book called "The Wisdom of a Broken Heart" when we met). He similarly had baggage and we just spilled our guts to each other with zero judgement for days, with the beautiful backdrop of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo as our company!
Matt: Obviously her looks drew me in— but regardless of the difference in our age, we had a remarkably similar outlook on life, and a lot of shared experiences through different lenses. It's hard to pin down what makes people click—any book or blog or magazine that professes what the secrets are is full of shit IMO. It might be a bit banal, but I still love the way Marie looks at me—that hasnt changed since the first night we met.
5. How/ when did you know you guys had fallen in love with each other?
Marie: Right away he showed his romantic side. We went horseback riding on the beach, had our first "date" at The Rooftop at LOOT, then on our last night we had dinner and a bottle of champagne on the beach, where he then asked me to be his girlfriend. I told him no, and that he was insane. We didn't know what this would be like in the real world back in NYC. I had so much anxiety on how this was going to work, but the next day he drove me to the airport, and before my flight to CDMX, I was already calling all my friends and telling them I met the one. I think I even called my mom and told her I met my future husband!
Matt: Thats a loaded question. Without a long sordid story, in short, a telenovela with all the high drama could easily be written about us, and instead of a dramatic ending, we end up madly in love with each other.
6. How did you know it wasn't just a holiday fling?
Marie: He stayed in Mexico for a few more weeks after I went back to NYC.We talked almost every day, and I missed him SO much. The day he got back we planned a dinner date in his neighborhood. Before the date, he delivered a bouquet of roses to my work with four jams from my favorite breakfast place in Zihua, along with the cork from the champagne we shared on our last night on the beach. I just about died, and as soon as we sat down to dinner that night I blurted out, "I don't care if it's crazy, but I missed you so much, and I want to be your girlfriend!"
Matt: We spent literally every moment together in Mexico and we did not get tired of each other's company. It seemed crazy not to keep that ember alive back in NY. Having that chemistry is really rarified air, and I didn't want to lose it. Marie thought I was nuts for suggesting that this carry over to a post-Mexico extravaganza, but here we are!
7. What were your friends and family's reaction?
Marie: I think everyone was rightfully telling me to cool my jets as I had two bad breakups that left me really messed up prior to Matt. But I was basically telling anyone who would listen that I had met "the one." I tried to take it easy, but we both were very much serious and very all-in right away.
8. What does Zihuatanejo mean to you guys?
Marie: Everything. We both traveled a lot, especially in Mexico, and there is just something SO special about that place. Even if we had never met there, it would still be my favorite place in Mexico. It is so rejuvenating and beautiful, the people are friendly, the food is absolutely delicious, and I love all the restaurants right on the beach. The cheap beach massages too!! I got one literally every day!
Matt: We forged some indelible memories in an insanely romantic backdrop. It was a real adventure exploring all the nooks and crannies of Zihua, as well as driving through mango groves further up north. Maybe it is easier to fall in love in such a magical spot....
9. Lastly, any plans for a wedding?
Marie: We just moved into a house in LA on October 1st together, so I think we are sticking with the whole "moving across the country together" thing as step one, haha. However, we have been through a lot in a very short amount of time since we met, from breaking up, getting back together, traveling the world, to moving, losing jobs, starting new ones, and having family and health dramas. I know there is no one who is more patient with me, and who makes me a happier and less anxious person, and I feel so lucky that we met. Travel is super important to us both, and we actually want to retire in Mexico one day. We have discussed getting married, and I said it 100% has to be in Zihuatanejo— so we'll probably be back at La Casa soon!
Matt: Marie may have mentioned something about it....