Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Ashley & James' Engagement Story

What a great story! Good thing us girls always over pack!
My fiancé James and I have been together for a little over two years. I am currently back in school for a second degree in nursing, so I am always very stressed out and very busy. He is amazing helping me relax and is always looking for new and creative ways to cheer me up. He likes to plan short, simple trips for us to take since we are such busy people, so when classes got out for the holiday break mid-December, James and I were supposed to go up to Chicago for a relaxing weekend to de-stress after all of my exams.
The night before we were to drive to Chicago, James told me to pack for a longer weekend, so I assumed that had meant he had gotten Monday off of work. I packed more clothes and went to bed. The next day we woke up, packed the car, and left to drive to Chicago, or so I thought. Shortly after we began our drive, I realized we were not heading north towards Chicago, but south. I began asking a million questions, probably driving him crazy, but he just kept smiling and told me to be patient. I was even more confused when we neared the Indianapolis Airport. When we got inside the airport, I kept asking him what was going on, but he told me to wait a minute. He then pulled me over with him in line, and handed me a ticket and my passport. We were going to Chicago, but not how I had thought...we were going to Europe!
He told me that all throughout our relationship, I always complained that he had been all over the world (his great grandparents were from Belgium) and I never had been anywhere. Over the summer he had asked my asked my parents to make sure I had a passport. He had planned everything and kept it a secret for 8 months, a hard task considering we had been living together for 10 months at the time, and I'm usually pretty on top of things like this!
We first flew to Chicago, and then from Chicago to Belgium. I spent most of the first day sleeping off the 8 hour jet lag and recovering from the shock of actually being in Europe. On the second day we were there, we bundled up in hats and scarves to brave the wintery weather outside. Packing for Chicago was a smart idea on his part, because the weather is pretty much identical. We walked down the cobblestone streets, bought fresh chocolate (a big thing there, vendors are everywhere), then had lunch and a carafe of wine at a small brassiere. During the middle of December I learned, Belgium has a two week long Christmas celebration, and I love Christmas, so James led us over to check out what was going on. There was a tall, giant Christmas tree and a bunch of small, holiday markets in the Gran Place (town square). I had my camera with me, and I started to take lots of photos of everything that was going on around me, the beautiful buildings, the trees, the people. As I was taking pictures, James tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around quickly, and there James was, standing there, shivering, holding up a ring. I think he said "Will you marry me?", but I wasn't really listening. I just said yes, grabbed him and kissed him. For the rest of the trip, I walked around with a huge grin plastered on my face. It was the perfect proposal and I will remember it for the rest of my life!

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