by Chris Vilag, Published September 19, 2011
Names: Brandon and Nicole (Caruso) Roberts
Relationship Status: Married
Anniversary Date: September 19, 2003
Do you have children? How many? We have two little munchkins who are full of endless energy: Joslyn Rose, 4 yrs old and Jacob Archer, 15 months old.
Degrees earned at Eastern: I graduated with a BBA in Accounting Information Systems and Brandon with a BS in Telecommunications and Film. I currently work as a Financial Analyst for the EMU Foundation and am happy to continue my career where I started - Eastern!
How did you meet? It was my senior year at EMU (1999) and I had just moved into a new apartment with my 2 roommates. It was an old historic home on Cross Street that was renovated into 5 separate apartments. We lived on the main floor and Brandon and his roommates lived up on the 3rd floor (where he had lived the year before as well). Our first few encounters with each other were not exactly what you would call pleasant to say the least. Apparently the "new girls downstairs" did not make a good first impression with Brandon, especially ME. I wasn't all that fond of him either and although we barely knew each other, we knew we just didn't like each other. Brandon seemed to almost enjoy annoying me with his way-too-loud guitar playing when I was trying to study. He would deliberately park behind my car so I couldn't get out and refused to answer the door when I had to leave for class or work. I would get so ticked off listening to him rev the engine of his beat-up Z24 with NO MUFFLER that was always conveniently parked directly outside my bedroom window. Everything he did drove me absolutely crazy but there was still something about him that sparked my interest for some reason. Even though I thought he was a total punk at times, I was strangely attracted to him - blond-tipped spiked hair and all.
Where was your first date? So how did we go from enemies to lovers? Two Words: Wicked Mickeys. One night, sometime in the Spring of 2000, both his roommates and mine were planning a night out at a dance club called Wicked Mickeys in downtown Ypsilanti. The night started out with Brandon and I avoiding each other, as usual, probably even making some sort of snide remarks to each other about something. As the night progressed, we were all having a good time, dancing, laughing, drinking - the whole bit. Out of nowhere, Brandon buys me a drink. I didn't make a big deal of it or anything, but did think to myself, "Well, that was nice of him... whats this all about?" A little while later, he starts dancing with me. It took me off guard a bit at first, but I went along with it. After that night - our "first date" if you will - we were inseparable. The tension between us disappeared instantly, our attraction grew into respect and we became one of those couples that spent every waking moment together the rest of the summer. Needless to say, we confused everyone with the sudden turn of events, but I guess we realized it was much better spending time together having fun as opposed to making each other miserable.
Any cute memories you have together at Eastern? Once we started dating, we spent most of our time together, just doing whatever. We were a couple of goofballs, joking around all the time, having fun and living life. At first, we both thought our relationship was more of a fling than anything and that it wouldn't last, but fate had a different path for us. We realized we were falling in love when we attended Eastern together and it was by far the most memorable year of my life. Our roommates called us "Chandler and Monica" from the TV show 'Friends' and that pretty much summed up our life back then - hanging out between the 2 apartments with our respective roommates, being crazy and silly and loving every minute. When we weren't hanging with the 'Friends' gang, we would take walks on campus together or go out to eat at Gianni's, our favorite Coney Island hangout on Cross Street. I graduated that semester and of course Brandon and the whole crew came to the Convocation Center for my graduation ceremony and we had a big celebration afterward that I will never forget. We had a blast together, no matter what we were doing, and we have EMU to thank for bringing us two crazy cats together.
If married/engaged, was the proposal on campus? Amazingly enough, our relationship survived the college years and three years later Brandon was ready to pop the question. We were on vacation with another couple in Chicago to celebrate New Year's (2003). Unbeknownst to me or our friends, Brandon had the proposal all planned out in his head. He was going to take me to the top of the Sears Tower at night, gaze out over the city of lights and have an incredibly romantic moment of bliss. Well..... we ruined his plans completely by visiting the Sears Tower earlier than expected and despite his constant persuasion to go back when it got dark, we collectively overruled his vote while eating Chinese for lunch.
Discouraged but not defeated, Brandon moved on to an impromptu plan B. The four of us got all dressed up for the New Year's celebration ahead and went out to eat at a quaint little Italian restaurant downtown. Brandon and I were seated alone in a secluded booth, surrounded by soft lights and faint music. It was a romantically perfect setting for him to hand me the paper from the fortune cookie I opened earlier that day that read, "Expect a sudden, happy change in plans." On the back he had written "Will you marry me?" and I as read it, he dropped to one knee and presented me with a gorgeous ring and a smile. I could barely say, "YES!" through my happy tears and my pounding heart. What a magical moment it was! Our friends joined us a few minutes later, saw me crying and asked, "Are you guys fighting?" to which I laughed and shouted, "No..... we're engaged!!!" Moral of the Story: No matter what plans may get spoiled along the way... if it's meant to be, fate will always have your back.
Any romantic advice you would give to students: Being together for almost 12 years now, we've come to realize that although all relationships have ups and downs, each day is a new experience in some small way, no matter what stage you are in. From hating to dating, newlyweds to new parents - we've figured it all out as a couple, as a team. We never gave up when things got rough and made our love a priority over all things. Our life story is goofy, funny and somewhat dramatic because that's who we are when we're together.
My advice is to just be true to yourselves and your relationship will naturally follow suit. Most importantly, don't let your first impression keep you from exploring a new adventure - you never know where fate wants to take you!
To share your EMU love story, e-mail email@example.com. We look for couples who met at EMU - preference is given to couples where both partners are alumni.