The Proposal: An Unexpected Journey

24 Jul

(All images personal unless otherwise stated.)

Before I dive into the story behind the proposal, I should give you some background information. We had been dating for about one-and-a-half years before Mr Bighorn popped the question, and during that time, we had discussed our future together. At the end of every future discussion we had, whether it was about marriage, babies, or getting old together, he would end it with: “But I’ll only propose to you when I’m drunk… and I’ll do it with a washer”. Now, for those who don’t know what a washer is, go to Bunnings Warehouse (or any hardware store) and go to the plumbing aisle – that is where you’ll find washers.

It’s in Mr Big’s nature to joke, but he had said it for so long that I really, really, really didn’t expect him to propose (this non-expectation comes up later!) until much later into our relationship. And I was honestly happy with him just being my big, goofy, loveable boyfriend!

What I didn’t know, however, was that he had been planning to propose to me in the beginning of 2012 when we were on an overseas trip, visiting Indonesia (where I have family) and China. He planned to do it on the Great Wall as he knew I loved the culture of China. However, there were a few problems with this: 1) he wanted to ask my parents, and hadn’t; 2) it was fricking-cold up on the Great Wall (I think it was about -15 degrees Celsius/5 degrees Fahrenheit); 3) I was feeling pretty sick that day from some bad food or some such. So, unfortunately, he had to can the idea.

We did take some (stupid) pictures though!

posers on the great wall

Mr Big + me = stupid posing. Also, I was wearing about 6 layers of very thick clothing. IT WAS COLD.

After getting back from China, Mr Big and I went back to work (I was working for a laboratory then). As I was often working from 4PM to 8PM, Mr Bighorn was able to visit my parents one night. He asked them if it was ok to ask for my hand, and was pleasantly surprised when my dad shrugged and said, “ok.” (My dad, a sentimental man, I love him so!). And that was when Mr Big put his plan into motion.

April was coming up, and I was turning 24 on April 11. Mr Bighorn decided to plan a trip to New Zealand and take me and my family with. I had been to Kiwi-land before and met with his parents, but he wanted to take me around the whole of the South Island (it’s pretty big!). So with that, we planned the trip and jetted “over the ditch” (the Tasman Sea, for those not in the know). After spending some time road-tripping around the South Island we stopped in the small town of Te Anau, a wee town in the Fjordland region. The next morning was my birthday, which meant we were heading to one of the most beautiful places in the world: Milford Sound.

I was turning the ripe old age of 24.

It seemed my family had forgotten that it was my birthday, and Mr Big seemed unusually highly strung. I was promised a nice trip across the Milford Sound though so I tried not to think too much about the bad. I mean who gets to spend their birthday with their family and their boyfriend in a beautiful place like New Zealand, apart from, well… New Zealanders?

But I live in Australia damnit, so I was going to enjoy this day!

The next morning, Mr Big dragged me out of bed, wished me a happy birthday, kissed me, and served me some breakfast. I chowed down as he got everyone else ready, rushing around like an adorable mad man. I didn’t know it then, but apparently, he was stressed out and extraordinarily nervous, although he hid it behind the story of, ‘we’ll be late if we don’t move quickly’.

So move quickly we did.

After I scarfed the rest of breakfast down, I ushered my family to our rental car, we packed it up with the bare essentials, and made the stunning trip out to the Milford Sound.

The two-hour drive from Te Anau to Milford Sound was gorgeous, and we even had enough time to stop at the breathtaking Mirror Lakes on the way.

mirror lakes

The Mirror Lakes, showing a near-perfect reflection of the mountains.

When we arrived, we were all tired from the trip but strangely invigorated. The air at the Sound was fresh and cool and we were met with views like this:

082

The Milford Sound in all of its splendour.

Even the pictures don’t do it justice, it was absolutely stunning! There was water as far as the eye can see bordered by huge cliffs which just shoot from the water. Just beautiful. This is where I would spend my 24th birthday. And I was happy.

We got onto the cruise and just generally hung about, taking heaps of photos of the views and occasionally wildlife (there were seals and albatross!). Unfortunately, all of the photos I took of the seals are pathetic at best and the albatross just didn’t want to stand still, so I’m going to spare you guys! As we passed by a waterfall, Mr Big pointed it out: ‘We’ll get to go under that. We’re going to stand at the front, ok?’

I was tentative. It was April 11, autumn and freezing!

But… I did want to see a waterfall up close so I agreed.

084

The waterfall GP pointed out, known as the Stirling Falls.

After lunch, we headed out to sea, admired the views, and the ferry headed back inland. I noticed Mr Bighorn was acting strangely, but I chalked it up to the stress of that morning and just enjoyed the ride back. Again, we saw some seals and then came the announcement by the cruise captain: we were going under the waterfall!

Mr Big excitedly tugged me up onto the aft end of the boat, me tugging my waterproof jacket over my head. My two sisters, M&Ms and Oddball, came along as well. My older sister, and now-maid of honour M&Ms, went up onto the stairs of the boat to film what I thought was the waterfall. My little sister, Oddball, stood by us, excited to get up close to a waterfall. So there I was – a waterfall literally at my feet, Mr Bighorn hugging me from behind, and feeling like I was on top of the world.

My life was awesome, I thought. Nothing could get better than this.

I was wrong.

Leaning in, Mr Big kissed me atop the head before managing to mumble the words out: ‘So, Miss Big, you still wanna marry me, right?’

Grinning at him, slightly confused, I replied: ‘Yeah, of course.’

There was a pause before he managed: ‘Well, will you marry me?’

Now, this is where that non-expectation comes in. My next words should have been something akin to, ‘OH MY GOD! YES OF COURSE!’ with perhaps some squealing and crying, but instead he got three words which gave him a mini heart-attack:

‘Are you serious?’

Well done Miss Big… well done. He took a moment to acknowledge that I was legitimately confused before he clarified his intentions. He even managed to get down on one knee on the slippery deck of the boat!

hugging in front of the stirling

The “second proposal” with us standing at the base of the Stirling Falls, taken January 2013 during another trip to New Zealand. Yeah, we like New Zealand. The guy in the cap is one of our awesome friends, Friend OSM Dancer.

I was shocked, excited and happy. He was asking me to marry him!! My words were something akin to, ‘Of course!’ before I pulled him up into a hug. We hugged and kissed and hugged and kissed some more on that deck for what felt like an hour before I went to tell my parents the news.

I was engaged! He even gave me a washer (which he forgot to bring on the boat, but gave me afterwards!).

washer_first ring

The washer that Mr Big gave to me when we were back in Te Anau that day.

We drove back to Te Anau, where I was glowing in post-engagement bliss, and we capped the day off by going on another short boat trip to an island in the middle of Lake Te Anau and seeing some spectacular glow worms. It was a beautiful end to a beautiful day.

Has anyone else been given a washer, or similar, for a special occasion? Did anyone else react like I did? (Please tell me I’m not the only one!)

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3 Responses to “The Proposal: An Unexpected Journey”

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. The Claddagh Ring | The Wedding Rollercoaster - July 25, 2012

    […] we intend on wearing for the rest of our lives. As I didn’t get an engagement ring when GP proposed, we wanted to find the engagement ring together. We had decided it would be gold, have a ruby, and […]

  2. Engagiversary! + sweating it out | The Wedding Rollercoaster - April 12, 2013

    […] day that – a year ago – GP asked me to marry him ❤ I’ve already gone through our proposal story, but it was nice knowing that a year ago, we started the next step on our relationship […]

  3. The Obligatory Dress Post | The Wedding Rollercoaster - November 11, 2013

    […] dreamt about, fantasised, or even thought about my engagement and consequent marriage up until Mr Big put a ring on it. I was never the ‘wear a dress’ girl, and had only really begun to wear dresses when I was with […]

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