"I'm a doubter," says FoxCT TV meteorologist Rachel Frank. But there is one decision, "I don't have any doubts about."
It's a decision Rachel made last December in Las Vegas.
She was going out to dinner with her grandparents in Las Vegas when the restaurant host directed them to the back entrance because her grandmother was in a wheelchair. Candlelight and a fire greeted them at the private rear patio. Suddenly a video was projected on a 5-foot screen — a video taped at her studio in Connecticut, followed by a slide show with photos of her.
As the slides progressed chronologically, she wondered, "What's going to happen at the end?"
The seeds for this slide show began in January 2012 at a CrossFit Gym in Berlin. Rachel and Aram Buldoc exchanged greetings in passing, but never talked until a group of gym members went out after their workouts. A few weeks later she went skiing at Okemo with girlfriends. Aram was traveling to Killington with his buddies.
"He was setting it up with my friends," to meet in Okemo. "I didn't really think anything of him…He didn't even have my (telephone) number," Rachel says. "He had to be persistent, trying to get to know me…I'm a TV personality, and I feel like some guys come after me so hard."
"I was going after Rachel," Aram says. He and his friends met with Rachel and her friend for an hour and a half in Okemo and exchanged telephone numbers.
They continued seeing each other at the gym, and Rachel jokingly said Aram could be her "CrossFit husband."
Aram, who was 34 years old at the time, says he was not drawn to 28-year-old Rachel because of her celebrity. "I didn't watch the news until after we started dating…We texted every hour for a month. We met a few times for a quick bite to eat. I wanted a relationship with her from the minute I met her," but, "I didn't press the relationship."
In the spring while out with CrossFit acquaintances, Aram approached Rachel about starting a relationship. "We've been talking for a while, but…If you want me to back off, I respect that," he said.
"I was always thinking of him, always texting him…I was thinking, I don't know why I'm fighting this," Rachel says. "We went from 0-60 overnight…from texting constantly to seeing each other every day. Being together was real natural and comfortable. It was a different kind of connection. We were already something more."
They met each other's families, and Aram joined Rachel's family in December to celebrate Hanukkah in Las Vegas. He had asked Rachel's colleague chief meteorologist Joe Furey if he could record a video from Rachel's studio. Furey filmed Aram on his cell phone and loaded it onto his laptop. In Las Vegas Aram contacted the restaurant where they would eat and dropped off his laptop without Rachel's knowledge.
"Today I want to look at the past we've shared together…" Aram said in the video. The slide show consisted of photos of Aram and Rachel and concluded with Aram attempting a future forecast from Rachel's desk.
"He turned around and got down on one knee and said, 'Rachel, I love you so much. Will you marry me?' I felt so happy. I had to be dreaming," Rachel says. Following dinner "I was exahausted after all the excitement." Returning to their hotel room, she found "rose petals all over everything," including the bathroom…I was floored. I was so impressed" with Aram, who is the East Coast sales manager for MegaPath, Inc, a technology and telecom company.
The couple began making plans for their wedding immediately. They plan to marry this fall at the Bellagio Fountains in Las Vegas in an evening ceremony on September 21. They chose the area because Rachel's grandparents live there and have always played a major role in Rachel's life, visiting her family in New York City every day while she was growing up.
Recently Rachel and Aram joined two other couples to open their own CrossFit center in Newington last month and look forward to buying a house. Rachel works out at their CrossFit center while Aram, who holds several instructor certifications from CrossFit, leads classes. They both snowboard and scuba dive, and Aram is teaching Rachel to play tennis.
"He's a good teacher," Rachel says, and loyal, funny and "street smart…When you're with the person you're supposed to be with, it doesn't feel like work; it's natural."
"Every other relationship something didn't feel right," Aram says. With Rachel "I feel very at peace."
Rachel aims to give her viewers the same peace of mind. "It's a tough job predicting the weather. I want to keep people safe, and I want to be accurate," says Rachel, who became interested in meteorology after doing a middle school project on clouds, which "I hated until I was done with it."
Rachel is equally convinced that their match is a sure bet.
"I doubt every decision I make, but I don't have any doubts about being with Aram."