Whenever Valentines Day comes around, I always start to think about what it was like just a mere 6 years go. You see, I had been dating Jenn for several years by this time, and we both had two jobs a piece in New York. Ballet, Techy Stuff, and Schools just kept us way too busy to take a vacation. And we really needed one.
Two things Jenn hates – cold weather and casinos. HATES them. So imagine how ticked off she was when I told her that our very first vacation would be to go visit my friend Brigitte upstate NY (c0ld) to stay in her place and go hang out at a casino (boo). The only upside was that Josh Groban was supposed to be there and since Brigitte worked with booking the talent.. she may want to wear something nice in case we got tickets.
Problem was.. we were never going upstate. As much as we love Josh Groban, I knew better than to tempt fate. Truth was – a plan had been hatching for about a year, and I would tell her on Valentines day 2007.
That night, I came to her with a card, a box of chocolates (which she hates), and a wrapped book. In the card I wrote “we are not going to see Josh Groban”. I had cut the chocolate box open and slipped a note in it that said “but you still need to pack”
As she unwrapped a book, she saw two tickets to see Swan Lake – at the Royal Opera House in London. The book was about sightseeing in London.
Needless to say, she was very very happy. 🙂
We take off to london a few days later and we are having a blast! We walk around taking pictures for days! I would make myself available for anyone who wanted to have a picture taken, using their camera to make a shot of them. When it came to them using my camera i’d give them a “are you crazy” look, as I was having no one run away with my camera. 🙂 We do this for several days prior to getting to the show date.
While she was in the hotel, I would go off for a walk to get some caffeine – ducking into an internet cafe . Pretty frequently. They never had caffeine.. so matter how many times i’d sit at that computer.. Just internet. 🙂
When the show morning comes, I give her the second surprise. I had gotten her backstage tickets for a tour of the opera house. She got to see the ballerinas during warmup, and tour the stage. She could be walking on cloud 9 at this point, and I was just so happy to be walking alongside her here. We take off and go get ourselves ready to see the show. At this point, i’m a little nervous.. but so far.. keeping it cool.
Swan Lake was absolutely wonderful, and we had a blast! Its just amazing to take in a ballet in such a beautiful place, and I would do it again in a second. I absolutely love London. I used to live in Germany for some time, so I would travel out to London and got familiar with the place. After the show, I told her I wanted to show her this place called Trafalgar square. Off we went walking, at a brisk pace to get to the square.
We would get to this spot at the fountain at around 11PM. Jenn’s a little tired and isnt really feeling the night shooting I wanted to do. She had brought her sneakers to switch to after the show, had already switched to them, and was ready to just pack it and head home. While we were there, we were approached by an Iraqi who muttered “Would you like me to take a picture of you and your girlfriend”
“Sure!! Absolutely” I would tell a complete stranger, at 11 oclock at night. In Trafalgar Square. Immediately I would give him my camera and go about ten yards away from him to pose with Jenn.
Jenn just kept glancing at me, but mostly looking at him. “Honey.. your camera… Honey.. your camera. Honey.. go get your camera.. ”
“Jenn!” I would impatiently utter..
As she looks over, in my hand I have an engagement ring. At that point, she realizes what is happening. I proceed to get down on one knee and pop the question. Thank God she said yes, or theyd find me in the Thames. A couple of people swarm us, with the Iraqi coming closer for more pictures.
I had spent several years traveling overseas, and it was something that I felt I was never able to share with someone, let alone the person that I really loved. It was important to me that this person that I would spend the rest of my days with meet this other side of my life. Almost a year prior, I contacted my buddy Jeremy and Mohammed (two friends that I lived with in Germany) and asked them to meet me based on these Google Earth coordinates that I had, and planned the proposal. We would have pictures of us traveling the route from the opera house to the square by ‘strangers’ – as well as pictures from them getting ready to spring this. They even got video of it. Mohammed, whom I hadn’t seen in a bit flew in from the UAE for the event that day..
After the initial rush was over, I introduced my fiancee to Jeremy, his (now) wife Anna, Mohammed, and the European part of my life. With that, we all took off in great spirits to find a pub and celebrate a wonderful proposal.
We were then blessed with the most incredible 3 days of weather i’ve ever seen in London. Beautiful bright blue skies, and not a drop in sight. Its wild – I had always thought that a wedding is totally cool – but expected. You are gearing and gearing and gearing for that date that is right in front of you. But, when you propose? Thats all in mystery. The one thing that I had wanted was to create a memory for her and I wrapped in mystery and moving parts – that neither of us would forget.
Because she’s worth it.
Happy Valentines Day Jenn.
I love you.