In the summer of 2002, just after she graduated from high school, they ended up at the same costume party. He came dressed as tennis star Anna Kournikova. They chatted a little, and Cristin realized that the guy she knew only as “quiet” and “nice” also had a great sense of humor.
For the next few years, they continued to run into each other at gatherings with mutual friends whenever Cristin was home on breaks from the University of Richmond. Nima, who went to George Mason University, had a serious girlfriend at the time, but he remembers thinking that Cristin was always “very well put together, so she was a little bit intimidating.”
By the summer of 2008, Nima was single and Cristin was back in the area full time, preparing to go to graduate school at American University. Several friends lived in a group house in Arlington County, so they began to see each other frequently.
Cristin’s friends knew she was developing a crush on Nima, and when they organized a party bus to tour D.C. bars in celebration of her 24th birthday, they made a point of inviting him. That night, as they stuck to each other’s sides, it became clear the interest was mutual.
When they hung out with friends a few weeks later, he used a game of rock-paper-scissors to propose a date. “I was too scared to ask her out, so we made some kind of bet that I would obviously lose,” he says.
Sitting at a sushi restaurant in Vienna that week, they discovered they’d both grown up with a similar family dynamic. Nima, now 30, who was born in Iran and immigrated to the United States as a young boy, has two sisters who are 10 and 12 years older than him. Cristin, 28, who was adopted from South Korea at 3 months old, has two brothers — one 13 years older, the other 15 years older.
“That was one of the things we connected on,” remembers Nima. “Because they’re so much older, and we learned a lot from them. It really is like having a second set of parents.”
They met up with one of Nima’s sisters that night and then went back to Cristin’s parents’ house, where she had been living, and stayed up talking until 5 a.m. “It was really easy,” she says. “I didn’t feel nervous.”
When they said goodbye, she leaned in, expecting a kiss. Instead, he gave her a peck on the cheek and, as he recalls it, “ran out the door.”
But at a friend’s wedding a few days later, he made up for his shyness and gave her a real kiss. That night, both of them knew they would be together.
“He was just very kind and easygoing,” says Cristin, who tends to be more anxious. “And I just felt very relaxed and laid back. Like I didn’t have to worry about anything — everything was easier to do or think about.”
A few weeks after their first date, Nima helped Cristin move into an apartment in Van Ness. For the next two years, he spent most of his nights and weekends there and became increasingly sure that this was it.
Cristin was incredibly smart, their conversations were always interesting and “we were just very honest with each other,” Nima says. “I never had to wonder about what she was thinking. We always got along as best friends.”
After she graduated in 2010, they moved in together in Arlington. Friends kept asking what was the most difficult part of the transition, but for them it was easy, except for the fact that Cristin liked to sleep on Nima’s side of the bed.
Nima, a technical writer, is not a planner by nature, but in January 2012, he arranged a weekend trip out of town. Cristin, who works at the Office of Personnel Management, suspected something was up — and her hunch was confirmed when she saw an engagement ring order left open on their iPad. Not wanting to ruin the surprise, she kept quiet until he proposed in their room at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia. After saying yes, she exclaimed, “And you left it up on the iPad!”
Somehow, it seemed fitting for their relationship. “He’s one of the most genuinely nice people I’ve ever met,” says Cristin. “He likes to have fun. Nothing’s ever so serious. Nothing ruffles his feathers — ever. So I do all the freaking out.”
On April 27, they were married before the grape vines at Veritas Vineyard and Winery in Afton, Va. The sounds of a noisy horse in a nearby pasture added laughter to the moment. Each of their siblings did a reading during the ceremony, and the couple wrote their own vows.
Cristin promised to always make Nima happy, “even when the Redskins lose.” In turn, Nima promised to let Cristin sleep on his side of the bed.