They have a unique air about them—simultaneously peaceful and fun—that just makes you want to get to know them. Yalila Chapa, an assistant principal, and Becky Garcia, an occupational therapist, balance the intensity of their workdays with the comfort and excitement of being in love. While they went to the same high school back in the Rio Grande Valley, it was years later that Garcia finally got her shot with Chapa.
It was 2007. Garcia had just gotten out of the U.S. Navy. She was back in the Valley and would spend evenings at one of two local bars, where she kept seeing the same lovely face. Over the next three months she would try everything, from scooting in a chair across the dance floor to walking up behind Chapa at the bar. She listened to Chapa order a Bud Light and decided she would make a move and buy her a beer—only to get spooked when Chapa’s male best friend arrived. That Bud Light sat at the bar, defeated, but Garcia was never deterred. Her big brown eyes light up as she tells the story, not ashamed that she finally turned to then-social-media giant, MySpace, to connect. Chapa can’t quite explain why she agreed to have lunch with this stranger, but she did. Chapa saw something in Garcia’s eyes from the moment they met and the rest, as they say, is history.
Though Chapa went in blind to that first date (Garcia didn’t have a picture of her face on her profile!), these two know exactly who they are and where they want to go. When asked what they admire most about each other, Garcia said of Chapa, “When someone is really good, you know. She’s just really good. I admired her first. Then I fell in love.” Chapa responded in kind, saying, “she’s very caring, has a big heart, she’s very kind. And those eyes…” Of course, none of this is to say that the two don’t challenge one another as well. While Garcia is incredibly stubborn (they both agree on this point), she also admitted that Chapa is “usually right. And it drives me nuts.” Regardless of the bullheadedness that sometimes needs to be worked out, they know their relationship is a success because they work on it. “And we make each other laugh,” Garcia added. Responding with a straight face, Chapa said, “I’m a comedian.”
All of these traits—their willingness to fight for their relationship, their laughter and the comfort they have with one another—have enabled their successes. They moved from the Valley to Galveston and then to Austin last summer, picking up Masters degrees and building their careers along the way. They had only been living together for a month when Garcia said she wanted to move to Galveston for her graduate program. “I was already in grad school,” Chapa explained. “It was kind of early, but I thought, what the hell? I went with her.” Now homeowners in Pflugerville, they spend Saturdays going out for breakfast and shopping for the new digs. They don’t let home improvement bog them down—they keep the spark alive with date nights and little things, like Garcia bringing flowers to the airport when picking up Chapa after a work trip, and leaving love notes on pillows and in luggage. They hope to have a family in the next year or so. Plans are still brewing, but by the way they look at each other and smile when they talk about it, there’s no doubt they’ll make it happen. For these two, the relationship they’ve forged can only be described in two words: love and home.