Thursday, January 15, 2009

Miki and Ian's Engagement Story

Our road trip began at 5:00 o’clock in the morning on Thursday, August 28th, 2008. Luckily, we packed the car the night before as neither of us are morning people. We didn’t care that it was still dark or the fact that we couldn’t see each other because our eyes wouldn’t open all the way. We were excited! We were returning to one of my favorite cities: Philadelphia.

Ian planned this trip months ago. He was bound and determined to make it happen. He saved. He made all the arrangements. He made sure I took off work. I thought, after just graduating from college, this trip was our reward for 4 years of hard work. Little did I know…

It was a beautiful day to drive…and drive…and drive some more. We made some pit stops. We switched drivers. We laughed. We argued. And, we drove some more. Driving through Indiana, Ohio and a little part of West Virginia wasn’t so bad but Pennsylvania went on forever!

As we thought we couldn’t be in the car for another second, we finally came to the end of what we thought was a “never-ending” Pennsylvania Turnpike. We could see the Philadelphia skyline! We drove past the Philadelphia Art Museum. We passed City Hall. We came upon Walnut Street. Our first vacation together was about to begin!

Ian made arrangements to stay at The Rittenhouse, a five diamond luxury hotel ( He knew how much I wanted to stay in this beautiful hotel one day. Ranked one of the finest in the world, it sits on the beautiful gardens of The Rittenhouse Square. The location is perfect! We were minutes away from world-class shopping, museums, and culture.

Our room was breathtaking: the view of the city, the exquisite interior, the luxury, and the feeling of just being together and alone made the 12 hour drive worth it.

Ian planned for us to have dinner that evening at Morimoto’s (, my favorite contemporary restaurant in Philadelphia owned by the Japanese Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, at 6 p.m. I was so excited but had to rush to get ready. (By the way, the bathroom was beyond luxurious! Flat screen TVs, a huge closet size shower, marble, massage shower head, and Aromatherapy Spa goodies…) As usual, I took a little too long to get ready... We were going to walk to the restaurant but would probably lose our reservation for being late (Oops). So, we had the hotel’s chauffeur take us. (Thank you!)

We arrived to Morimoto’s just a few minutes late. Just as I expected, artistic, unique, and almost Zen-like as it provided a calm and serine atmosphere. The dimmed lights changed colors every few minutes. The curves and waves of the walls and ceiling drew us in with a gentle visual grasp. Once seated, we ordered right away. Ian had Morimoto’s hazelnut beer and I had champagne with grapefruit vodka and grapefruit juice (my new favorite drink). Dinner was delicious! Ian ordered one of every sashimi and sushi on the menu. I couldn’t believe it!

As dinner came to an end, I noticed Ian being very quiet. I thought that was strange but really didn’t think much of it. As I went to the ladies room to freshen up, he took that opportunity to ask our waiter the directions to LOVE Park.

We didn’t have plans for after dinner but knew we wanted to enjoy the nightlife of Philadelphia’s lights and sounds. We started walking.

“Where do you want to walk to,” I asked Ian as we held hands.

“I was thinking we could go to LOVE Park. It’s this way…isn’t it?”

“Why do you want to go there at night? There’s bums. There’s drunks. Dangerous stuff could happen. I don’t know Ian.”

“It would be nice to see the lights on the water and sculpture. The last time I was here with you I didn’t get to see it at night. Plus, I’m here. You’ll be fine.”

“But honey, let’s walk instead to The Rittenhouse Square. We can go see the LOVE sculpture tomorrow during the day.”

“No…I really want to see it tonight. Come on” as he kissed my forehead.


We continued to walk in that direction. As we came closer to the park, we could see the lights shining on the 50 foot water fountain and the sculpture. I have to admit, despite the bums, it was very pretty with the lights and trees overlooking it.

I started to take pictures from different angles while Ian stood back watching me with his hands in his pockets and a gentle smile on his face.

As I started to walk away thinking we were done, Ian said, “You know, wouldn’t this be the perfect place to propose?” as he stood right in front of the LOVE sculpture.


“Ian, I’m really not in the mood to be teased right now. You know I hate it when you do this to me.”

“Why? All I have to do is get down on one knee…like this…and pull out a ring…like this…”


He took my left hand softly and asked, “Will you marry me?”

Staring at him with my right hand covering my mouth, I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t move. As Ian puts it, I gasped for 5 minutes while he eagerly waited for me to say something…anything.

“Well, will you marry me?” as he chuckled a little bit from my reaction. Looking very handsome with his dark curly hair and blue eyes.

“YES! YES I will marry you!!!” as I laughed and started to cry at the same time.

He slid the ring on my finger, he stood up, held me tight, and kissed me in front of everyone that was on the square.

“I love you!”

“I love you too!”

He looked at his watch.

“We have to hurry!”


“Because I have another surprise for you.”

“You do?”

He hailed a cab. “Historic Philadelphia please.”

We arrived in Historic Philadelphia in front of Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell. It was beautiful at night with the elegance of Georgian architecture, trees, and cobblestone roads.

My new fiancé ended our engagement night with a surprise on a white horse drawn carriage ride throughout the streets of Historic Philadelphia.

When we arrived back to The Rittenhouse, I couldn’t hold my excitement. I immediately told the first people I saw, which happened to be the concierge and front desk. “We’re engaged!! He just proposed!! Do you mind taking a picture of us?”

He snapped the photo.

“Congratulations! The Rittenhouse would like to send up a complimentary bottle of champagne in honor of your event”

The night was perfect!

We woke up the next morning to enjoy more of the city and to expose my new diamond ring to all!

After our stay in Philadelphia and instead of driving back to Indianapolis right away, Ian took me home to Northern Indiana to share our news with my family. This was very special to me as I hardly see my family due to driving distance.

Even though I knew Ian was planning this trip, the surprises that awaited me were memorable and magical.

So, why Philaelphia? Why Love Park? It wasn’t a mere cliché place to propose as some may think.

Philadelphia was my home for four months in my junior year of college. I took an internship with the City Representative as an Event Planner. I was miles and miles away from everyone and everything I knew: my school, my family, my friends, and Ian. I was a quiet Midwest girl in a very large and loud city. It was hard but despite the difficulties, the experience helped to define me as a woman and individual.

I learned how to live. I learned confidence. I took opportunities that unraveled my future. It gave me strength and I came to know myself even better.

So, as Ian brought me back to this city, we started a transition together, in the same city that transitioned me into a more confident woman.

With the image of devotion, Ian and I are now on a new path in our life together.

1 comment:

Mrs Pile said...

I've been reading all the stories, they are all great, but YOURS just made me cry! Congratulations and Best Wishes!