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The Cold Winter Weather Brings Warm Feelings

Jiayi Zhu, Staff Writer

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With this season’s ruthless winds and below freezing temperatures, it is hard to believe that the warmth can return, but not all is cold and gray this winter. This month is a hearty, happy time for physics teacher and head volleyball coach Brittany Bridge because it marks the beginning of the next chapter of her life with a new family. After months of planning, hard work and nerves (the good kind) Bridge married her fiance Rod Rodriguez in a ceremony held on Feb. 17, 2018.

“Rod and I actually met online,” Bridge said. “We met on an app called ‘Bumble,’ but he very quickly wanted to call me on the phone. In today’s day and age where a lot of people just text message each other, the fact that he wanted to call me was the first big plus mark for him and that’s where it started.”

Since then, Rodriguez showed his dedication through simple acts such as attending every single one of Bridge’s volleyball games, making him a familiar face to Bridge’s students. She would also often tell stories about the troubles she and her husband overcame together.

“I was in Ms. Bridge’s class last year and I remember her telling us that there was some sort of infestation of rats in her yard,” senior Hanna Wang said. “So Rod helped her set mouse traps in the yard and hunted down the rats with his son.”

Rodriguez ’s patience and childlike love were some of the characteristics that made the biggest impression on Bridge.

“He calms her down a lot,” senior Lauren Bloomquist said. “When she’s really stressed, he always helps her out. He’s really mature about that and just a good support system for her.”

On the Aug. 27, 2017 Rodriguez proposed to Bridge in a thrilling and unique way–while she was flying.

“It was Rod’s birthday and he told me that he wanted to go to the iFly Skydiving place,” Bridge said. “As soon as Rod flew for the first time and they were spinning him around, it was my turn and he said he was going to run to the bathroom. When I got into the tunnel, they didn’t spin me around and I noticed the clock wasn’t counting down my time. And so when the instructor finally turned me around, Rod was outside on one knee with a poster that said ‘marry this guy.’ He had snuck my mom and his two kids in through the back staircase so they were there as well.”

Bridge’s former students who watched the couple’s relationship progress last year have expressed their support for the news.

“Ms. Bridge always looked really happy when Rod was around even if he was just in the same room,” Wang said. “I was excited when I heard that they’d gotten engaged.”

Instead of hiring a planner, Bridge did much of the wedding organization herself from the beginning of the school year despite working full time.

“We’re doing a red, white and blue theme,” Bridge said. “Because of Plano West, I’m like ‘blue blue blue,’ and Rod’s gym that he owns is kind of red and he usually has half of a red mohawk, so my bridesmaids are wearing all blue and his groomsmen are wearing all red and we’re going to be in white. It’s been really fun because a lot of our stuff is like the American flag and we’re doing sparklers, too.”

Despite the thrill of putting together a dream wedding, Bridge admitted that it was hard work.

“The most stressful part is trying to pick things that my fiance will like that I also want and that my mother agrees with that aren’t too expensive,” Bridge said. “I want my guests to have a good time, but there’s a lot of different stipulations. If money’s no object then you can do anything but trying to stay on that budget and do the things that you want to do in the time frame that you have to get them done is where the stress comes in.”

Bridge was especially satisfied however with the location of the wedding, a cute little red and white barn up north, which she was able to book very conveniently.

“I knew that I wanted to get married in a barn atmosphere,” Bridge said, “so I just searched for barn weddings in North Texas and that happened to be one of the first ones that popped up. The people who own it actually worked for McKinney Independent School District so they give a teacher discount. It happened to be the first place that we looked at and we loved it. It all just worked out.”

For Bridge, the most enjoyable part of planning the wedding was the freedom to pour out her creativity and make her ideas a reality.

“My friends told me that I’m kind of a walking Pinterest, that I always like to do arts and crafts,” Bridge said. “Being artsy and putting my own spin on everything is the best part. For example I made my own shoes that are glittery and blue and white.”

Getting married not only meant Bridge becoming a wife but also a parent.

“Rod has two kids and Coach Bridge is really excited about being a mom,” Bloomquist said. “She’s always wanted a family and with Rod she can have that.”

While his 19 year old daughter had graduated and gone to east Texas for college, his 14 year old son still lives at home so Bridge will be able to watch him grow up and help raise him.

“He’s just the sweetest boy,” Bridge said. “He loves the fact that I am going to fit the pieces of a family together.”

Despite the large steps she is taking as a new mother, Bridge is confident because of her background as a teacher.

“It’s a different role but I think that teaching my students has prepared me in a way,” Bridge said. “I feel like I in some form or fashion am a mom to my students on a daily basis. I see them face different struggles and their successes, so I just happen to have one that when I go home happens to be there as well.”

Having imagined her wedding since she was a little girl, Bridge’s anticipation only grew as weeks passed, counting down the days until she got married.

“I was super excited about it just knowing that I’m going to be a wife instead of a girlfriend,” Bridge said. “Knowing that I’ve finally found that person that I get to spend the rest of my life with and getting to celebrate that with some friends and family that I haven’t seen in a really long time is amazing.”

When Bridge returns to school after her wedding, her students will have to get used to calling her Mrs. Rodriguez, a name she proudly wears as the wife of the man she loves.

“There’s something about him that almost soothes my soul,” Bridge said. “We disagree on things sometimes but we never get into arguments. I could be doing nothing and still having an absolute blast with him. There’s just an overwhelming happiness that I haven’t necessarily felt with other people that I have dated. In those moments when I’m upset or frustrated, he has a way of loving me and letting me know that we’re in this together.”

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The Cold Winter Weather Brings Warm Feelings