Just in time for Valentine’s Day, happy Red Deer couple Anna and Devin Woodland shared their story of how they got together.
Devin, who grew up in Pakistan and moved to Canada when he was 12, came to Red Deer College for his third year of nursing, which is where he first met Anna, as they were both in the same nursing program.
“I saw him walk into the class the first day and a few people were like, ‘You have to meet this guy, you’d really like him’, not even on a romantic scale,” said Anna.
She added that she remembers sitting beside him in some classes, the two of them never speaking to each other.
After graduating they ran into each other a couple of times, things still not going anywhere.
“We met each other at a barbecue and I thought his style was really bad and he thought my shorts were too short,” said Anna with a laugh.
They later ended up running into each other at a mutual friends’ wedding, and they too tried to set the two up.
Later that day, there was a swing dance with the girls on one side and the boys on the other.
Devin made his move, going straight over to Anna on the dance floor.
“I went to her because my other friend was trying to set us up, too, so he dared me to go walk over to her before anyone else got there. I didn’t think he would think that I would do it so I just proved him wrong, but it worked out really good,” he said.
He had warned Anna that he was going to Sweden for eight months, but that didn’t stop her from wanting to see him.
The two had only two weeks before Devin was leaving, so they went on a few bike rides, talking about their lives and hopes of working overseas.
“And by the end of the conversation he asked me if I’d be willing to live in a mud hut for the rest of my life and I said, yup,” said Anna with a laugh. After a few more conversations, Devin took Anna up to the top of Tuff Puff Mountain in Nordegg in 2014, asking her to be his girlfriend.
“We tried to see each other every day. I was working nights, so I’d work all night and then hang out all day because I just wanted to see him, and then he left for Sweden and we were very heartbroken,” she said.
They both agreed that commitment was what made their relationship successful to this day.
“From the beginning we didn’t really give ourselves an option not to stay committed because we knew we had to stay committed because it’s really easy to separate when we each go our own different ways,” said Devin.
When Devin was gone, the two committed to writing each other one email once a week, but it ended up being every day.
“We’d write long emails. One of the emails was 19 pages long, single spaced and that was almost every day,” said Anna.
When Devin returned to Red Deer, it was Anna who was still gone as she had decided to go to Adventure School in New Zealand halfway through his trip.
“It was really hard communicating when I was in New Zealand, because of course, the time difference, but also I was at a school for six weeks that had no Internet or communication of any kind, so we didn’t talk for six weeks,” she said.
The happy couple later got engaged in November of 2015, with Devin proposing on top of that same mountain where they became a couple. “It was in an actual blizzard; I couldn’t put the ring on my finger because my fingers were totally frozen,” she said.
Once out of the blizzard, he and Anna huddled up next to a fire he made for her and drank some tea.
They then tied the knot in May of 2016, deciding to make it a three-day wedding with their families and friends.
The couple currently works at Red Deer Regional Hospital.
“For us there’s just no option but to stay together,” said Anna.
“I just picture being 85 with Devin and still being like, oh my goodness I’m so interested in the way he’s thinking about this, because I just like his brain.”