We’re engaged! Hear the story of the proposal from both sides:
In Simon’s words…
A Pre-Engagement Story
On June 1, unbeknownst to Natalie, I took a trip out to her parents’ house for lunch. I had asked to have lunch with just the two of them and asked that they not tell Natalie. They provided a delicious meal and we enjoyed great conversation. After dessert, I decided it was time to ask what I had come out to ask and said, less than eloquently, “I would like to marry your daughter, and I was wondering what you thought of that.” With subdued enthusiasm, they shared their blessing and encouragement (and also thanks for keeping Natalie from heading back to Thailand a second time).
Now that I had their blessing, the next step was to get a ring. Natalie’s mom provided me with 2 rings, that Natalie has kept at their house, for a ring size. I started to research online and even looked on kijiji to see if I could find a steal of a deal. Despite my limited budget, I was able to find a beautiful ring at a significant discount, thanks to my good friend Garry at People’s. He was actually very friendly and did, in fact, help me find more than I thought I could get on my budget.
Preparing for this past Sunday had been in the works for some time now. Months, actually. I had loads of ideas, and now it was just a matter of creating a cohesive plan and tightening up the details. I recruited some good friends and am very thankful that everyone kept it a secret. As you’ll read below, she had no idea that an invitation to have breakfast with her Dad would turn into an adventure…
In Natalie’s words……
An Engagement Story
This past Sunday morning what began as a Father’s Day breakfast with my parents at their home in the country turned into much more when my boyfriend Simon carried out an elaborate plan that sent me on an adventure across Ottawa, leading me to various locations to answer a set of interview questions, and finally ending with a private concert at Gatineau Park in Quebec, where he asked me to be his wife.
When my mom pulled out the video camera at breakfast and my dad began asking me a series of questions about Simon (Do you remember the day you met? What impressed you most about him?) I took this as an opportunity to ham it up for the camera, as I love to do. My impression was that Simon had asked my parents’ permission to marry me the night before at a family dinner and they were just making sure I was certain about him, and recording it all for posterity, until…
Until my mom presented me with a gift. “But it’s Father’s Day!” I remarked. I opened the gift, which was a scrapbook from Simon called, “Songs for My Love.” (He is a gifted musician with his Masters in Classical Guitar and has written me a number of songs). The first page described that this book contained songs for each chapter of our story, and when I flipped the page I found the lyrics to the first song he wrote for me, called “What If”. My parents handed me a sheet of paper with a set of directions. Disbelief mingled with excitement as I gathered my belongings, hopped in the car, and hit the road to the city.
My first stop took me to Joel and Pac’s home. I entered their apartment to the theme song from Mission Impossible and was forced to play a game of Simon Says and answer silly questions about my relationship with Simon in a high pitched voice and a Scottish accent (all on video). I stood the test, whereupon I received lyrics to the second song he wrote for me and directions to my next location.
Next I arrived at Kyle’s, whose complete aloofness regarding my presence had me doubting that this day was going to end up with a proposal (he was just acting, for the record). The following directions led me to Simon’s apartment, where his roommate Austin grilled me with the most serious questions yet.
After receiving the fourth song lyrics and directions I arrived at Pink Lake in Gatineau Park, where Simon was waiting for me with a picnic. When we finished eating he grabbed his guitar and led me deep into the woods where we found a secluded area. I sat on top of a massive, fallen tree trunk, and Simon took out his guitar and began to sing.
He played the songs that I had collected in the scrapbook and finished by pulling out a ring and asking me to marry him. I said, “Yes. Absolutely!”
How We Met
I met Simon on October 2 on my first day at a new church, just hours after declaring, “I’m not going back to Thailand! …And I’m going to have a boyfriend by Christmas.”
Transitioning to life in Canada after living in Thailand was an enormous struggle, and though I desired to flee back to Bangkok I knew it was time to settle down and make roots. I walked into The Journey, a Mennonite Brethren church that meets Sunday evenings (where Simon is an intern) to see him leading worship at the front with just his guitar. I was immediately attracted to him, which of course meant a “ring check” was in order. A quick glace at his left hand told me he was single. After church Simon invited me out to dinner with a group of young adults…for Thai food. He drove me home that night, and many Sunday nights to follow.
There was little “connection” or “chemistry” between me and Simon at the start, but that didn’t matter. What drew us together was the character we saw within one another. It was that character that gave us the confidence and wisdom to continue walking in our relationship, and as time progressed we built a foundation that grew into a deeper friendship with each passing month (not to mention a lot of chemistry!) I am so thankful to God for bringing Simon into my life and I can’t wait for all the joys and sorrows we will share together.
He is worth the risk and most definitely worth the wait!
After the Proposal
(I burned my arm last week…the bandage has nothing to do with the day!)