When Shila Tietjen decided to visit Nigeria, a proposal was the last thing she expected.
Shila Tietjen, a sophomore studying Spanish education, said she and her boyfriend, Olu Egunjobi, a sophomore studying accounting, began dating in February after they drove to a party together.
Egunjobi said the way they met was a long story and that it was not planned at all.
After dating for a period of time, Egunjobi said he wanted to take her to his hometown in Nigeria.
While in Nigeria, on Sept. 13, 2016, on Tietjen’s birthday, Egunjobi said he surprised her by asking her on Olumo Rock to marry him after they had toured the Kings Palace and the first church in Nigeria.
“I was totally surprised,” Tietjen said. “I had no idea it would happen that day. Before we left, I thought he would propose to me on my birthday because he likes to do exciting and big things, but then while we were there, I totally forgot. I even forgot it was my birthday when I woke up.”
Tietjen said she was really excited to go to Nigeria to meet his family and that they showed so much love for her.
“They treated me like a princess,”she said.
Tietjen said they did not expect the media attention that they received from the African news and that it caught them both by surprise.
“I bet there was someone there who took pictures of us thinking it was cool and put it out there, and a lot of newspapers and websites took it,” Egunjobi said. “They didn’t even know our names. We weren’t expecting it, I was just there in the living room and I started receiving calls. We went viral in two days.”
Egunjobi said their relationship had not always been easy.
“We both had opposition from family and friends about marrying into a different race and culture,” Tietjen said, “Luckily, though, our immediate families are both really cool with it.”
Egunjobi said his family has not always been members of the Church and he converted when he was 11 years old.
Tietjen said she comes from a long history of members of the Church.
“The gospel is really cool,” Egunjobi said. “Without the gospel, I do not see how this would be happening. I am from a different culture, she is from a different culture, and the gospel is uniting us together.”
Tietjen said she encourages people to be open to different things and to the many different cultures on campus.
“There’s a lot of cultures on campus,” Tietjen said. “We shouldn’t be afraid to experience them we should be willing to open up to them, because when we are not open, that is when we have so many problems in the world.”
The two said they have both received some discouraging remarks from people, but that their love remains strong.
“If the love is there, the color shouldn’t be a barrier,” Egunjobi said. “In the end, we are all human beings.”
Tietjen said they both have grown together through this process, and they look forward to the eternities that are ahead of them.
“After a week of learning new customs, traditions and ways of life, I understood Olu better,” Tietjen said. “I knew for sure that I wanted to be with him forever, no matter what forever would consist of. On the Rock, I had no doubts. I will take my children and grandchildren there to show them how two opposite people with lots of opposition decided to make the climb, face the heights and then stand at the top, strong and firm in their love and dedication.”