Wednesday, December 5, 2007

i heart surprises

One year ago today, I received the best surprise of my life. I warn you, this is a long one. Go grab some coffee first.

It was December 5th, 2006. It was a Tuesday. I had gone to bed the night before assuming that I would wake up, go to the office and then sneak out to a grad school interview at lunch. At 4:30 am, Jake shook me awake. "We have to go, get in the shower!" He ran to turn the lights on. Jake had done things like this before as a result of a bad dream or misreading the time on the clock. I pulled the covers over my head and tried to go back to sleep. "No, really, wake up!" I pulled back the covers and told him to turn the lights off. Then I saw him grab my suitcase out of the closet. He smiled at me and told me to get in the shower. Still a little confused but starting to catch on, I jumped in the shower.

He started filling me in on some of the details. A car was coming at 5:00, so I had to be fast. He had packed clothes and shoes for me (uht oh) but I needed to get my toiletries together. I think that was my fastest shower and blow dry on record. I took a quick glance at the contents of my suitcase but I was too excited and hurried to give it much thought. I took a guess at what he might have left out and shoved it in. My face was starting to hurt from smiling.

During the limo ride to the airport, I kept begging to know where we were going, but he wouldn't tell me. He went to check-in at the kiosk and I peered over his shoulder- San Diego! Winter was starting to kick in in Chicago (much like it is now!) and some sunshine sounded amazing. He still wouldn't tell me where we were staying or what the plans were. The flight was wonderful. We drank Bloody Marys and tried to make conversation. I was still too excited to talk about anything else. Once in San Diego, I learned that Jake had sprung for a very nice convertible from Hertz. We were on our way... somewhere.

Our destination was LaJolla, a beautiful beach town just north of the city. We stayed at a gorgeous old hotel called La Valencia, aka the Pink Lady. It was very old Hollywood, complete with signed photos of celebrities (Marilyn Monroe!) on the wall. While Jake was checking in, I stepped out on the beautiful balcony off the lobby. It all hit me then. I knew why we were there. I hoped that he wouldn't wait too long! After a wonderful lunch and a little shopping, Jake and I walked down to the beach. He proposed as the sun was setting. It was perfect.

We were both walking on air for the rest of the trip. Sharing the news with our friends and family was surreal. We were on the phone all night and most of the next day. I could not stop staring at the beautiful ring on my finger and at the huge smile on Jake's face. He was so proud of himself for pulling it all off. He had spoken with my bosses to excuse me from work, arranged all the travel, packed my bags and met with my parents without me having a clue about what was going on. Going home was so sad and yet so exciting. I could not wait to start planning our lives together.

One year later, we still have 9 months to go until that wonderful life begins! Whose great idea was a 21 month engagement?! Oh wait, I think it was mine. I am sure it will be here before we know it.

Here are some photos of our wonderful trip. You can see a few more here. I highly recommend both LaJolla and La Valencia. The town was absolutely beautiful and full of fun shops and amazing restaurants. The staff at the "Pink Lady" was very attentive and threw in a few fun surprises once they learned why we were there.

Talking to momAfter a million pictures of me with my ring, happy Jake starts getting goofy.


  1. LOVE this story, it makes me smile - a lot!!

    Glad you liked the princess bride pic - as I was typing that post I knew I couldn't use any other officiant, he is just too infamous. :)

  2. AWWWW! this is so amazingly sweet. you have a great guy!

  3. Natalie, it's Tanya L. here. And I am so glad you have a blog. Will be subscribing and reading. Loooooved your engagement story! Hugs!


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