Consumer and Operations Director, Maiyet
Alejandra is one of my most cherished friends in New York and so it seems natural to start with her as my first little gem. Alejandra is Spanish and she grew up between Madrid, Paris and New York, where she’s lived now for over three years. We met early on in our New York stories and while we’re different in so many ways, we bonded over many shared experiences and a similar perspective and approach to life.
We offer each other celebration and support as we navigate this journey. Alejandra is one of the most welcoming and caring, not to mentioned brilliantly intelligent people I’ve met. She’s always willing to listen and offer thoughtful advice. You know she cares the most when she’s giving you a dose of tough love, which is always a valuable exercise, however hard to swallow sometimes!
Like all of us, she’s faced both immense joy and unexpected challenges here in New York. She has encountered more bumps in the road than one might predict when imaging the trajectory of their life, but she’s more fearless than she gives herself credit for and I’m always in admiration of her unwavering perseverance, faith and confidence.
We talked about her two favorite pieces of jewelry and how they’ve shaped her story.
Of the jewelry that you own, what are your favorite pieces and why?
My engagement ring and a cross necklace that my dad gave me for my 18th birthday. My dad lives in Madrid, so it’s a part of him that I have with me everyday. If I’m flying I need to wear it; I know because he gave it to me that it keeps me safe.
Tell me more about your engagement ring and what it means to you.
It’s a round brilliant solitaire with a diamond band. I love it because my husband Paul chose it and because of everything that it represents. It just makes me think ‘he chose me.’
Before he proposed, I would show him different rings and say ‘this one is nice,’ and he’d tell me ‘keep dreaming, you’re never going to get something like that.’ I was so disappointed every time, but now I know he was just trying to keep the element of surprise. It was definitely very surprising to me that he was planning for so long to buy it; I just never imagined that he had thought about it for so long in advance.
In Spain, when a man proposes you get him a gift as well, so I’d like to get him a nice watch someday.
And how did he propose?!
When we first moved to New York, we were walking through Central Park and I commented about how nice it would be to get married at The Boathouse. When he took me to The Boathouse for brunch I thought something might be up, but we finished and left and nothing happened. We walked through the park and sat on a bench nearby, and that’s when I could tell he started getting nervous.
He brought out the ring and started saying ‘You’re the most beautiful woman for me,” I immediately started screaming ‘Yes yes yes yes yes!!!’ I was so distracted by the proposal that he finally had to say, ‘Babe look at the ring!’ He kept on asking if it fit and if I liked it and I said ‘I don’t care, I don’t care about the ring!”
He proposed in December, but he had asked my dad for my hand in September, so every weekend my dad would ask, ‘So what are you guys doing this weekend?” and after it happened it all made sense!
Tell me how you and Paul met.
We both did our MBA at IE in Madrid, so it was my hometown. When I started the MBA I had my own stories going on in Madrid and had no interest in the people I went to school with. We both had the same class called Accounting and Quants, which was the worst thing, the probability trees. Apparently Paul tried talking to me once, but I don’t even remember because I was seeing someone else.
By December, I wasn’t seeing that person anymore, and I remember for our final presentation, we had to dress up. I was waiting outside of the classroom when Paul came out in his suit and his beige trench coat, and I thought, ‘Who’s that guy?!’ The last day of school, before Christmas break I saw him again in the cafeteria and thought, I need to know more about this guy. It was amazing because he was there all along, I just hadn’t noticed him.
Right after that I was organizing a party and a friend of mine brought Paul, so I said ‘Tell him I think he’s cute.’ So she did, and he told my friend he thought I was cute too. So we danced, and I invited him to the after party, but he told me ‘I have to go to the dentist in the morning,’ which I thought was a total excuse. So he left and I went off to Miami for Christmas and we texted a bit, but I didn’t think much of it. When I got back, I saw him again in the cafeteria and he smiled at me and that’s when I finally got the feeling that there was something more there.
How did moving to New York affect your relationship?
I think New York was good, because it was neutral territory for both of us, it was neither of our homes. In Madrid it wouldn’t have been the same, my family was there, my friends were there, it was my life. So our life in New York is ours together, we built it together, no families involved, just him and I starting from zero and building a life together. And just figuring it out. I mean in the beginning it was hard, but at this point I feel like we can go anywhere, now even more. It’s amazing.
And how did getting married affect your relationship?
It was very reassuring, us getting married was the end of, what had been for me, a very difficult year. A lot of uncertainty, I wasn’t sure what we were doing, where we were going, so I feel like this marked the end and the beginning of a more settled relationship. It calmed me down a lot. It definitely changed our relationship for the better.
You’re obviously very close with your father and you cherish that relationship. What’s the relationship like between Paul and your dad?
It was hard in the beginning, I think it was hard for my dad to go from being the sole person I trusted the most and took advice from. It was hard because my dad would feel left out or less loved and it was also hard for Paul because in the beginning I would say things like ‘No, but my dad says…’ And even for me, letting go of my dad as the central male figure in my life was super hard, but now they get a long really well. I cut the umbilical cord like Paul always says and my dad is still super important, but now it’s me and Paul and we are a family.
What is it that you love most about Paul?
Everything. I love everything about him. He makes me so much better. He grounded me big time. He makes me organized. I love his smell, even his pillow, when I hug his pillow it makes me happy. I love him, I love everything about him. We just got back from travelling in Turks and Caicos and spending so much time together and I realized that nothing bothers me about him. Sure, picking up his dirty laundry is annoying, but we get along so well that even if we’re silent and we’re apart, there’s still that connection.