after much anticipation, here’s my version of the story. after all, people only want to hear what the girl says, right? 😉
since mark already wrote a book on our history, i’ll just tell tale about what i can remember about the day of…and maybe of a few days before too.
mark and i were heading to our friends gene & sharon’s wedding in houston on sept 15. coincidentally, i had planned on selling my car to my brother, so it was the perfect opportunity for me to save on some air fare. being the crazy adventurous people mark and i are, we decided to drive non-stop to houston. for those of you who don’t know, google maps puts this journey at 1 day 3 hrs…so roughly about 30 hrs if you include norcal bay area traffic. we left san francisco about 4pm, right in time for rush hour. by the time we were on our way out of metro LA, it was already past 9pm. the next viable overnight option would be phoenix or tucson. at that rate though, we wouldn’t arrive til 3am and would make finding a shelter quite difficult. so we drove all the way through, stopping only for gas and border patrol 😉 we arrived in houston at 9pm, just as the first course for gene & sharon’s rehersal dinner was brought out. talk about good timing!
all this to say, the engagement happened in my hometown of houston.
rewind to a couple of weeks before, my friend, and now bridesmaid-to-be, erin had sent out an evite for an out-of-towner brunch for the day after the wedding. the event looked innocent enough, so i gladly accepted the invitation. ONE thing was suspicious, though. the newlyweds-to-be was also to show up – hmm, shouldn’t they be on their honeymoon though???
on saturday, we enjoyed an awesome and beautiful wedding.
suspicious activity #2: my friends and expecting parents, jennifer and jensen, weren’t originally supposed to make the brunch. however, at the wedding, jennifer let me know that their plans actually changed and they were going to be able to make it afterall. i wondered if she knew something i didn’t?? why did she change her mind? (and yes, a little bird *ahem* erin! had told her it’d be wise to show up) she also suspiciously asked me if i thought i was ready to get engaged…the suspense!
then comes sunday.
we wake up a little late for brunch and hurry to get ready. as i walk into the bathroom, i hear my mom say “mark, can i talk to you?” does yet another person something i don’t? i didn’t stick around to find out. after i finished my shower, my mom – suspiciously, i may add – comes in very concerned about my choice of clothing, and she wanted me to curl my hair. what’s going on? when i got downstairs, it became even more suspicious because my dad asked if i should be more dressed up. fashion advice from my dad? something is not right. so i looked to mark to see if maybe i can get to the bottom of all these suspicious and mysterious events.
to mark’s credit, up to this point, he’s given me absolutely no indication d-day was imminent. as we were packing, driving for 30 hrs (even though mark slept through a good amount of it) at the wedding & even the drive to bunch, mark gave me no reason to think he was a man about to propose to the love of his life (my term :-P) well, except…
a few months earlier, we were biking to chinatown and had paid a visit to his office on the way. mark, in normal protocol, excused himself to the bathroom. alone and bored, i started to organize his desk when i came upon a strange package. it was a big box (for a diamond) but i had a feeling anyway, especially since mark only replied with a nervous “wah” when i inquired about the package on his desk.
so we arrive at brunch. la strada is a swanky joint for houston standards. we walk up to the patio area and 19 other friends were already seated. we get our orders in and mark excused himself to the bathroom – are you seeing a pattern yet? i proceed to walk around and catch up with everyone at the table. i recall erin and mark making geatures to each other, my friend tina asking mark how to operate his camera – which is also a conversation topic not out of the ordinary for mark – and mark communicating excessively, i thought, to our waiter. next thing i know, i see the waiter bringing out a tray of champagne for everyone at the table. i was silently impressed with the restaurant, mistakenly thinking this was complimentary for all patrons. at the same time, mark is waving for me to return to our side of the table. unfortunately, the waiter lost his balance and spilled a couple glasses of champagne on my friend gary. it served as a nice distraction for me (and i later suspected that it gave everyone some extra time to set up) i eventually made it back to the opposite end, thoroughly puzzled. i sit down. mark spoke with a projecting voice, catching all those present with a “hey everyone, we have an announcement to make!”
“what announcement?” “WE??” i’m trying to figure out if there’s something i missed. by now, my expression is that of complete and utter bewilderment (i say this now because i have seen that picture…haha)
at this point, everything has been set up: the house music turned down, the video camera rolling, my friend vincent’s SLR pointed straight at my face. the restaurant seemed silent, as if waiting for something, anything to happen.
mark broke the silence with “rose and i have been dating 3 years 8 months 3 days and 2 hours…”
i’m a little slow that day, but not so slow that i still didn’t know what was happening. no matter how many times you may have envisioned this scenario in your head, how many times you have seen this scene in the movies, how much you try to prepare yourself for how you may react…when i finally came to realize what this moment was to become, i was overwhelmed with emotions. everything after this became a blur. my nonstop tears well documented by vincent. i see my friends all tearing up as well, which only made me cry more. i did manage to pay attention to mark’s recollection of our ups and downs, struggles and adventures and how we’ve grown to enjoy our time with each other.
when the love declaration (ha! my nomenclature again) was over, he reached into his cargo shorts, perfectly planned for this occasion i may add, and pulled – yanked – out a relatively big blue box. everything after that was even more of a blur. i think he asked me to marry him? i think i nodded? then i think we both didn’t know what to do. he was eagerly looking at me, i smiled back. someone then yelled “pull the ring on” i recall pointing to the ring which had fallen out of its notch. somehow the ring ended up on my finger. we hugged.
meanwhile, zooming out of our little corner, the rest of the restaurant is still in anticipation. the dj finally asks what the response was. i recall saying yes for the first time then. the entire patio erupts into cheering and clapping. we toast our friends. the dj heads over and proceeds to buy us shots, on empty stomachs. lots of congratulations and pleasantries exchanged soon after.
when our food finally arrived, i have had 1 shot, 1 glass of white wine (it was substituted for the champagne which spilled) and working my way through another glass of champagne. i enjoyed my brunch in a state of drunkenness. whether i was high on happiness and surreality or just from the alcohol itself, i’m not quite sure. either way, i just could not stop smiling 🙂 we rounded up that afternoon by taking some candid unofficial engagement pictures.
all in all, a speical, blessed day.
so, there it is. the “her story” – we are engaged! 🙂 🙂