On January 3rd, 2008, God asked RJ to step out in faith and propose to me in March, and then marry me in late August. Because of our long distance and future situation, marriage was something we discussed frequently, so he informed me of his intentions. We were “technically” engaged but without the ring, so we started planning our wedding.
Within a week, God had arranged all these things to fall into place: my sister, Jenny, and I found an engagement ring I LOVED after searching in five stores; we found a ceremony and reception location; we set a date; the Lord funded the ring. By the next week, it was crazy to look back and see all that God had done for us.
Being in two different states made the proposal logistically impossible for the time being, and till he had the ring on my finger, he wanted to keep the engagement on the DL. I also knew that it was super important for him to have his best friends there at the proposal because he needed them to run around us with sparklers after he proposed (a la Scrubs). He kept telling me I would have to wait as late as late March, as early as mid-February, and I kept telling him I would self-implode if I couldn’t tell anyone.
Earlier this week, RJ asked what my plans were for the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend, and my idealist mind perked at the idea that he would come down and surprise me with a proposal. When I asked him what his plans were, he dashed my idea by telling me he had to manage softball practice both Saturday and Monday, and needed to catch up on rest and studying. I quickly put the thought away, so as not to get my hopes up.
The ring was resized and in my sister’s possession by last Saturday, which she informed him, and he told her to mail it up to him. On Sunday, he called her back and told her he was planning on driving down to California to propose that weekend. This set the motion for one of THE most well orchestrated proposals I’ve ever heard (but then again, I’m a bit biased).
He called a mutual friend, Jason, to let him know his intentions, and asked him to think of a way to trick me into meeting him on Saturday. Jason then recruited a freshman, Emily, who called me the next day to ask if Jason and I would want to go to “brunch” at Ruby’s on Saturday with some of her dormmates. I had originally planned on going home to San Diego for the long weekend, and so my sister called and asked if I’d want to bring my roommate bridesmaid dress shopping because, “There are more better stores in Orange County.” She also said that my brother and brother-in-law wanted to come up to Irvine since it was a long weekend, so I agreed to stay.
After a particularly hard day apart from RJ, I decided on Wednesday that I wanted to buy a plane ticket to go to Oregon for Saturday through Tuesday. I figured, he can’t leave Oregon because of obligations, but I can always surprise him and visit him. I searched plane tickets, and found one for $250 from John Wayne to Eugene, a STEAL of a deal. So I inputted all my credit card information, selected my seats, and had the mouse pointer positioned over “Purchase Ticket” when I decided maybe I should get a second opinion. So I called Jenny to see what she thought.
She, of course, freaked out, and started making all these excuses like, “What about brunch with the students?” “But Timmy really wanted to go up and we planned on it,” “What about the bridal bazaar we were going to go to in San Diego on Sunday?” “The ring won’t even be there on time because I mailed it ground today after work.” To which I responded, “I can get brunch any time with students, I just saw you guys and Timmy last weekend and the one before, I went to the bridal bazaar last year with you, and I don’t care about the ring, I just miss him and want to see him!” Then, she said she needed to go pee, but she really called RJ, who told her to lie at any cost. She called me back, apologized for a stomachache, and told me to at least ask his sister if I could stay there while I was in OR.
I called a friend to get RJ’s sister’s number, but after I hung up with the friend, Jenny called back and blurted out, “You can’t buy the ticket!!” And then she proceeded to tell me this elaborate lie about having planned a surprise girls’ day out in Irvine for me, and girls had already committed to go and it’d be a bummer for me to not be there, but don’t mention anything because it’s supposed to be a surprise. Coincidentally, a bunch of alumni who moved away after graduation were planning to come visit Irvine this weekend, so I figured it had to do with my “surprise” girls’ day out. She also followed through with her lies the next few days to further squelch any inkling I had of a proposal, and come on. If you know Jenny, she doesn’t lie very well. Or so I thought. Apparently, she’s very good at lying.
RJ had prefaced to me on Thursday night that Friday night was going to be a boys’ night out, with video games and movies and all sorts of man things, so he couldn’t talk very long on Friday. What I didn’t know was that the boys’ night out was actually a 15 hour car ride through the night. They DID have video games and movies in the car, so he wasn’t entirely lying. I called him early evening with an urgent question and was quickly frustrated by his distractedness and hung up. I was even more peeved later when he didn’t call to tell me he loved me before going to bed, which his three friends convinced him not to because the proposal would definitely make up for it. Which was true, I suppose it did.
On Saturday, the 19th, Jason and I had planned to meet Emily and her dorm friends for “brunch” at Ruby’s, but I accidentally slept in and was late. When we arrived at the courtyard by Ruby’s I was surprised, but not at all suspicious, to see Emily with no dorm mates, but a bunch of Navs friends. I figured, she’s an inviting and outgoing girl, I bet she asked everyone to join at our large group meeting the night before.
I was more surprised when my sister, brother in law, brother, and doggie nephew walked up the stairs by Ruby’s to join us, but I wasn’t suspicious about that either since I had told my sister about my plans to meet the students for brunch and offered for them to join us. She told me she’d be in Irvine later that day, but I still didn’t think much of it.
Then, out from Barnes and Nobles walks one of RJ’s best friends, Grant, and he’s nonchalantly reading “Bride” magazine upside down. He stops by our group, acts surprised that I’m there, and then hands me the “Bride” magazine because he thought I’d be interested in it. He then pauses mid-sentence, exclaims “What the f***!” and runs over to RJ’s two other friends farther down the courtyard. At this point, I’m SO excited, because I know RJ is there somewhere, and while I greeted Grant, Eric, and Jeff, RJ snuck up behind me. When I turned around, he was right there! Supposedly I shrieked and jumped up and down a lot, which doesn’t sound like me at all.
RJ got down on one knee, told me he loved me, that he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me, and asked me to be his wife. Of course I said YES!! Then there was an awkward pause where he was on his knees with the ring held out, so he prompted, “Take the ring!” To which I responded, “No, you’re supposed to put it on my finger!!!” So he took the ring out and put it on my finger. As he was doing this, his friends fumbled around with a lighter and sparklers which spelled out “U ME?” They finally got the sparklers going and ran in circles around us.
And then Grant punched Eric in the face.
And that, my friends, is how I came to be engaged to the most wonderful and God-fearing man who ever lived. And that is also how I almost ruined my own engagement.
WE’RE ENGAGED WE’RE ENGAGED WE’RE ENGAGED!!!!
(The surprise video, courtesy of Priscilla, can be found here. A bit of a tease since it cuts out right before the actual proposal.)