I’ve been a busy lil bee. So busy in fact, that just about everything life changing that could happen to a person has happened to me since I’ve last blogged. I should tease you all for a while and lead up to the big finale, but I’m guessing the title of this post gives away my biggest news…
Yep, you heard it. He put a ring on it! And I said yes! =) And I’m over the moon happy about spending the rest of my life with a man I love so dearly. And what kind of blogger would I be if I didn’t share all of the juicy tidbits leading up to the proposal? Feel free to skim through, this might be a long post. If not, grab a chai tea and pull up a chair. I’m going to share a little bit more about how I met my sweetheart and decided I wanted to spend the rest of my life with this amazing man.
Raj and I met in college. Believe it or not, it was college my first time around, which makes it over ten years ago. There’s a huge long twisted story about that time period, but I’ll spare you the details and put it simple: he was dating my best friend, whom was also my roommate (he’s going to kill me when he sees this post!) Needless to say, I did not pine after him in those days, but I always thought he was a really great guy. Okay, fast-forward ten years. Raj and I reconnected online, and coincidentally we discovered we were both going back to school as accounting majors working on our CPA license. He was working as a high school biology teacher in Tampa, enrolled in business school part time taking night courses, and I was working at a small accounting firm in Sarasota, also taking courses. We met up for a casual dinner and really hit it off. It was very refreshing seeing his familiar and smiling face after so many years had passed. We talked about mutual friends, our goals, our careers, our interests, and all that jazz. We casually discovered that we were both single (I was recently out of a long distance relationship) and sparks began to fly between us almost immediately. I was so nervous after that first night, because I wasn’t really sure if it was a date. But I guess he assumed it was, because he sent me a text that VERY night asking me out again for the next night. Definitely caught me off guard but I loved the boldness =)
Fast-forward another year. It didn’t take long for us to fall hard for each other. And in case you are wondering, we did reach out to his ex girlfriend and my old college best friend and receive her blessing. Which was very important to me. In fact, we’re also inviting her to the wedding! I think our relationship progressed so quickly because it was so easy. Nothing about it has ever been stressful, difficult or challenging. Sure, we’ve had our moments, but I can’t think of any other way to describe how perfectly we mesh. I can take one look at him and know what he’s thinking. He is the kindest, most compassionate and caring individual I’ve ever known. And he hands-down makes me want to be a better person. In fact, I’ve already become a better person just by knowing him and being with him. I know that sounds cliché, but there are no other words to describe it. He’s my soul mate. We both love academia, good books, a challenging discussion, science and mathematics, current events, healthy eating, fitness, environmental sustainability, the outdoors, Mother Nature, animals, family, a gourmet meal and vintage wine, and so much more. I’ve never known what people actually meant when they said, “when you know, you just know” until this very moment in my life, with this very man. It’s magical.
So after one magical year of whirlwind romance, we began to truly discuss our future together. As soon as we started talking about it, I knew it was exactly what I wanted. There wasn’t that queasy nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach that I had always felt in the past. In fact, I felt like a giant weight had lifted off my shoulders, because I realized the guy that I wanted to be with for the rest of MY life also wanted to be with me for the rest of HIS! Wow! I was blown away. It felt absolutely perfect, and as soon as we started talking about it things just progressed. We went ring shopping the very next weekend. A part of me felt like I should have been shaking with nerves and giddiness, but I didn’t experience an ounce of trepidation. I was as relaxed as could be, hand-in-hand with the man I love, walking around glitzy jewelry stores trying on engagement rings and casually talking about a destination wedding. It felt so natural.
Ring shopping deserves a post all in its own, because that was quite a fun adventure. But this post is about the proposal, so I’ll finally get to the good stuff!
Over Thanksgiving Raj asked my father’s permission to marry me over a casual dinner on the waterfront. I was right by his side, holding his hand, with my jaw clenched up a bit tightly from nerves. I think I was more nervous for him than anything else. I knew my father would be very supportive and happy for us, but I knew Raj was really nervous about asking him. One look at his face across the table said it all. But everything went smoothly and my dad was overjoyed! At that point I knew an engagement would probably be coming within the next few months, but I wasn’t completely certain of the time frame. Truth be told, the anticipation was killing me!
Fast-forward one more month. The weekend before Christmas I landed my dream job. Hands-down the absolute perfect job that I have been working towards ever since I decided to go back to school. AND I got the job before passing my CPA exam, which is almost unheard of with this particular accounting firm. I remember hanging up the phone after receiving the offer, and just cradling my head in my hands and crying. God is SO good, and I am SO blessed. Everything fell into place at the perfect time, and I think I’m still in shock from it all. My sweetheart invited me over to his place for a surprise home-cooked meal to celebrate that very weekend. We were scheduled to fly up to Minnesota to see my family on Christmas Eve, so this was a few days before our trip. Raj went to town in the kitchen all day long preparing the meal. He put together a delicious vegetable cous cous in saffron sauce (I later heard his horror stories about hunting down the delicate spice! Ha!), and delicious black bean, rice, and goat cheese stuffed red peppers. This was the first time he ever cooked an extravagant meal for me all on his own, so I was really impressed!
We gobbled up dinner and headed to a light festival at the Lowry Park Zoo, where we walked underneath thousands of Christmas lights next to the animals. It was very romantic. I found out later that he had the ring in his pocket the whole time, but it was too cold outside and a bit crowded for his desired proposal. We walked around with hot cocoa, looked at the animals, pet the stingrays, watched little kids feed the giraffes, and held hands. It really was a perfect night.
We then headed back to his condo where he had homemade chocolate covered strawberries and champagne set up for dessert. I was impressed with all of the little details, but in my mind I still thought we were celebrating my new job. As soon as we walked inside I started to clean up the kitchen, and he pulled me over to the table and said let’s have dessert!
I thought the setup was so cute that I even snapped a photo of it for Instagram (duh!) without realizing my ring was sitting on a chocolate covered strawberry right in front of my face practically. Ha!
But within seconds I realized what was going on, because he offered me a particular strawberry with a very shiny and very beautiful engagement ring on it =) Then he got down on one knee, held my hand, and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. It was amazing. In so many ways—one huge giangantuous bubble of love feeling—amazing.
And that is how my sweetie asked me to marry him! Part 2 to follow…