How We Met (Part two: HIM)


I am grateful for this opportunity Arielle has given me to share these words with you.  Many of you have been following her writing & journey for quite some time. I see this as a beautiful opportunity for you to see her through my eyes.  For those of you reading this that are apart of my tribe will gain a glimpse into this new season of life. My hope is that many new friends will be made as our communities begin to interweave.

My name is John Corfee.

Yes, just like coffee but with a R and I am a barista.  Most of my friends call me by my last name or even just Corf for short.  Hence, jCorf on Instagram. I am fascinated by theology, history, music, baseball & laughter.  I oftentimes seek out what brings people together. I generally dream big and get lost in deep intentional thoughts.  One of my role models, Jim Carrey put it best when he said, "I wish everybody could have all of their dreams come true so they could realize that's not the answer."  My hope in sharing Arielle and I’s story with you is to champion love stories that are creative & intentional, but somehow feel like a dream.

The word of the year for 2018 in my life was timing.

 I sought to focus on the here & now. Often times, anxiety stems from overthinking yesterday and tomorrow.  During the summer of 2018 I spent my time in observation of my surroundings. I wonder if we miss many of the opportunities in front of us due to our overthinking.  The timing of Arielle & I’s meeting was nothing short of a dream come true. Yet, not the dream that I was planning on happening anytime soon.

Yes, our first introduction was through Instagram. I am fairly confident that Arielle and I could have met or crossed paths in many other ways.  Though much of our initial interaction was digital, we owe our introduction to two beautiful humans. My sister and best friend, Brittany, is a regular listener of Jamie Grace’s podcast. About a year ago Brittany heard Jamie interview Arielle about singleness and dating.  What follows is about as close as it gets to love at first sight. Arielle’s gifting in words and poetry comes from her relatability with those whom she connects.

It was late one night in July of last year when my sister Brittany sent me the video on IGTV of Arielle’s poem “This is For You”.  Of course I was taken back by her beautiful smile, but more than that I felt a deep heart connection to her poem. My first response to my sister consisted of plenty of absurd & hopeful remarks:  “Who is this? She’s in LA, right? She’s definitely my new crush. I gotta meet her!” I could imagine my sister several hundred miles away laughing to herself. In order to avoid coming on too strong, a simple follow on Instagram felt like the best starting point.  

I remember clearly the day that she messaged to invite me to her open mic.  It was a simultaneous feeling of relief and shock. I had already planned on making it out to one of her events eventually.  I figured if we had already begun a conversation through Instagram I might as well look her up on Facebook. The first thing that caught my attention was a RSVP to a Levi the Poet house show.  I made sure to work into our already ongoing DM conversation that I was also interested in this show. Though our actual conversation during this evening were brief, they were magical. Thank you, Levi.  

The following Friday evening Arielle walked into my coffee shop.  I was sitting on the patio on my lunch break enjoying some time with a friend of mine.  Of course I spent most of that time sharing with him about this beautiful woman I had recently met.  Just as he asked me what the next steps looked like, she walked by and sat at the other table. Yes, that’s beautiful timing.

The following weeks were filled with similar and oddly happenstance encounters with Arielle. Our first lengthy conversation was also spontaneous.  I totally used the excuse of having forgot my laptop charger, to invite her to coffee. Prior to that day I was still a victim to my old pattern of overthinking.  I knew I desired to ask her on an actual date, but was determined that I should not be dating at all in this season. I am glad that I decided to let go of those fears and take the time to be in LA early and ask her to coffee that day.  It was the beautiful flow of our conversation that afternoon gave me the confidence to officially ask her out.

In hindsight I would like to believe that Childish Gambino took one for the (our) team when he injured his foot and had to postpone the concert tour.  Though, if I am being honest I was more interested in seeing Gambino perform than I was going on a date with Arielle, but a picnic in Griffith Park is a far better first date.  I will continue to share about some of our other adventures in future posts. With that you can expect plenty of creative & affordable date ideas.

For now I would like to leave you with some thoughts of reflection, and intention.  I have learned so much from my time with Arielle. Most of what she has given me is not through words or conversation, but through the giving of her time.  The following age old saying is probably most applicable to relationships:

"you get out of it what you put into it."

Yes, our love story feels crazy & unique.  We seek after adventure together, while also continually showing up with ways to give to the other because Love requires sacrifice. Richard Rohr said, “the greatest form of inner transformation is great love and great suffering”.

Falling in love feels like a myth that is only found in storybooks.

I am more and more unsure if we are meant to find a “soulmate” in this life.  The Good news? You create the love story. More importantly, you create your story. Two individuals that laugh, eat, listen, walk alongside each other and grow together. That's a love story.

The most strange and yet beautiful thing happens when I am with Arielle.  The whole world pauses.

The concerns of yesterday, today or tomorrow fall.  She focuses on being there for me despite uncertainties. She constantly shows up in unexpected ways.  

No longer gonna fall in or out of love.

I just wanna stay true to the now.

No longer gonna fall in or out of love.

Just wanna stay here with you girl.

No longer gonna fall in or out of love.

Just wanna hold your hand & take care of your soul.


My favorite love poem is still being written though. Each day Arielle will write a line and I will follow with my contribution.  This the beginning of a wonderful story. I look forward to the coming opportunities to exchange stories with each and everyone of you.

Arielle Estoria