Remembering our Engagement

All the memories that are making this the most special time of my life.

The little teeny things

So we went to see the Hunger Games last night. Let me just say that at one point during the movie I became suddenly aware of the fact that we were holding hands, and then felt a rush of gratitude and overwhelming happiness that I get to hold that hand for the rest of my life.

Also – you look really cute at the Hair Cuttery. Even a big man like you needs to get his hair cut! Haha!

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Playing wife!

These little things make me so excited to be your wife. I loved when you asked me today about how to approach a colleague at work about something. It was really cute – you wanted to ask someone to grab a beer to stay in touch with them, without asking out a dude. So funny. Not that you didn’t already have an idea, but getting to be your sounding board and knowing that you value me as a thought partner in your life was so meaningful to me. I can’t wait for the millions of conversations we will have like that, both ways. That’s the kind of relationship I’ve always admired and I feel blessed knowing I have one too. Love you!

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Saving the Date

Last night we sent out our Save the Date email to our friends. It was one of the best nights we’ve had in a long time. We were up til 2 in the morning working on the website, drafting the email, going over the guest lists again to determine who to invite to what, making wording changes, final edits, debating one exclamation point or two in the subject line…

It could have been a bad night. It was stressful (in a good way), and there were lots of things we could have argued about. Stupid things, sure, in the grand scheme of things, but things nonetheless! You didn’t go to sleep the previous night because you were traveling back from San Francisco on the red eye. I myself had been up til 2am talking to you. We could have been irritable… especially me, since I am prone to that. Ordinarily the fact that sending the save the date got pushed back by a week and a half would have gotten to me, but I really didn’t care. It was so much fun!

We laughed and joked around the whole time. I loved how you got all adamant about making sure there were links to each section on the site and figured out how to do the coding for them. I was puttering around straightening up, but took plenty of breaks to come sit with you or kiss you or see what you were up to. And when it came time to send the email to our respective friends, we held hands and both hit Send at the same time. I really loved sharing that moment and then watching as people started filling out the form with their information.

I really, really appreciate all the work you put into that site. I know that you have been up late with your regular job, and this has been a lot of added work to your plate. Everyone loves it – I have gotten so many compliments already! – but most of all, I love it. I love the final product, I love all the work you did, and I love how dedicated you are to our wedding and sharing it together, despite all of the other things pulling you in different directions. So, thank you!

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The modern name change

A couple of weeks ago, we went out to celebrate setting the wedding date for August 29th. I am smiling now thinking about the 3 champagne cocktails each, making toast after toast to I-cant-remember-what. Before diving into all the wedding planning, we took that moment to just dream. To talk about the fun stuff. Whoa… we will be living together. Should we get a 1BR or 2BR? Whoa… we’re going to get to have this big party just for us! Whoa… name change!

I think it is the sweetest thing in the world that you said I didn’t have to change my name if I didn’t want to, and when I said “of course I will be taking your name,” you smiled from ear to ear. Yeah, that’s right, you get to put your name on it. ūüôā And then we actually sat there on my dinky windows phone and looked up available gmail addresses.

I’ve gone back and forth a lot over time about this one, and here is where I came out. Changing my gmail address is, in many ways, much more personal to me than changing my name. I’m not sure if it is for that reason, or for the inconvenience of switching over, that even the women I know that have change their names have kept their gmail addresses. And I do understand it. My entire post-high school data trail sits on there, with of course some major edits and cleanouts. More importantly, the evolution of our relationship is chronicled in the pages and pages of chats and email threads full of flirtations, revelations, declarations, and yes, some frustrations, irritations, and indignations. Can I really just start over?

But it is a truly modern way of thinking to say that a new gmail address implies “starting over”. For thousands of years, two people have begun a life together without an archive of the minutes of every conversation they’ve ever had. The human brain and physical space constraints have always worked together to force a prioritization of what stays, and what goes, in ones mind and¬†in ones¬†file cabinet,¬†based on the usefulness or meaningfulness of that information in the future. Now all things are treated equally in my inbox. A GB of space is a GB of space, whether comprised of our musings late at night or 20 amazon.com confirmation emails. I’m not saying this is good or bad, but it certainly has implications on the way we view our personal history.

But that is only if you equate data with memory. We have seen over and over that the facts of what happened in our lives aren’t nearly as important as the story we tell ourselves about them. Research shows that two people who go through similar experiences – war, for example¬†– have very different long-term outcomes (health, happiness, etc.) based on the way they view those events, and not necessarily the events themselves. This is why our minds are so capable of healing us and reminding us what makes us happy.

While I am completely ready to trust in our memories, I then realized that really, by having all this data, the same forcing function plays out in what you choose to go back to. For example, I have never dipped back into the archive to look at those NY times updates, but I have gone back to re-read the conversations from our early days and reminisce. I recognize there is some danger in that, the potential to warp perspective, but only as much as choosing which books to pull off the shelf and flip through can. The overabundance of equally accessible information creates the same flat surface of history on which the brain and memory can act, as having none of that information at all.

I was happy to learn that you can actually merge gmail accounts now. I can create an account where I have my entire history, plus send emails only from my new address. To me, this is beautiful. This is a modern way of letting life take its course, building your new life seamlessly out of the past, and moving forward together.

So there we were at Pops drinking champagne, searching for gmail addresses. Yep, there was one with my first name and middle initial, and your last name! In typical style, my phone cut out, so I reserved the gmail address the next day and sent you an inaugural email.

Well I hadn’t signed back in until today, and now I see your reply from then:


Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww

I love this so much,

Not as cool as your [college email] though…

(JKJKJKJKJKJKJKJKKJMWA)

As much of a goofball as you are, this email made it all worth it. I love that you’re excited about it all, because I am too. Someone told me the other day that the moment it all hits is when someone to call you Mrs. ____. I don’t doubt that at all, and I can’t wait. I’m looking forward to continuing our story.

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My proposal story

 You and I are Chicago people. We may have met at U of I, but our relationship really developed three years later in the city. I lived in Lincoln Park when we first got back in touch in 2008-2009, and all of my memories of those early times have the skyline as a backdrop, from calling you on my 2am cab rides home from the office, to the big dates you would plan for us along the river. I moved to Sydney for 10 months just 6 weeks after we started dating, and you became synonymous with Chicago and all the things I was looking forward to when I got home.
 
When I moved back in 2010, we spent nearly every weekend exploring the city. Even though we grew up in the area, we both lived at home that year, and spending time together was like always being on either a lazy vacation or a crazy adventure. Plus, as they say, love makes you see the world (and the city you thought you knew) totally differently. Besides, you are either an architecture buff, or just really loves the Chicago skyline – I’ve learned from you all kinds of things I never knew about our buildings! We ate our way from one end of the city to the other, checked out all the summer concerts and events, had picnics, and just enjoyed life.
 
2011 was the year we both moved to the city. We got to experience our respective neighborhoods together, and Chicago took on yet another new flavor. We were surrounded by friends, and were able to see each other more often in the evenings. We developed an affinity for the $2 taco establishments around the corner from each of our places, and discovered a lot of new parks and spots along the lake to spend time.
 
We are essentially forever tourists, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love that every time you and I head south on Lakeshore Drive you say things like “look at how pretty the lake is today” and “what an incredible place to be able to work.” That constant enjoyment of life and appreciation of every moment is something I really value in you, and of course it helps that it was all about my favorite place! So it is no wonder that you proposed to me with the same cityscape as the setting.
 
You picked me up one Saturday morning in March and told me we were going to spend the weekend doing things in Chicago that I’d been wanting to do. And you really had kept track of everything I’d been saying I wanted to try – from veggie hot dogs on the street to 9 courses on the 40th floor at Everst. We went to several museums and exhibits I’d been talking about for ages, and even browsed the knock-offs and second-hand goods at Maxwell Street Market, which has been on my bucket list for years! The whole weekend truly epitomized the spirit of our relationship, and I felt like the luckiest girl in the world already.
 
On that Sunday afternoon, after a visit to the Museum of Science and Industry, you told me you wanted to check out a park that looked cool that we passed on the way. You told me you’d just gotten a new tripod for your camera, and thought we could try it out. I should have been suspicious, but for some reason I took it at face value. You do love your pictures! The park was beautiful – a quiet bit of grass that juts out into the lake, with a pretty stone lighthouse and a view of the skyline to the north. Being northsiders, it was a different angle and we were having fun with the tripod. Then you told me to go and stand as if I were looking pensively out over the water toward the city. So I went and stood with my back to the camera and waited for you to take the shot. You kept telling me to hold still, and I patiently stood there waiting. Then I heard you right behind me saying “ok, turn a little bit.” I turned a little bit. “Turn a little bit more.” I turned a little bit more. “Ok, just turn around.” I turned around, there you were on one knee.
 
The funny part is neither of us remembers exactly what you said, even though we both had independently thought through what we would say a million times before. We both were so swept away by the moment. It even took me a minute to realize it was happening! I caught the gist of it, and the part where you said “will you marry me?” and instead of the calm, collected response I had anticipated, I said “YES!” Thanks to the tripod, the whole thing is on video. Afterward, you sat my very teary-eyed self down on a bench in the park, took out your laptop, and played for me a 5-part video of the different stages of our relationship set to songs that I love. It was all waterworks! Of course the next thing we did was call our families and best friends, before even leaving the parking lot. And then we had a champagne toast and a cheese board, in our true style.
 
A little bit about the ring. I was walking down the street in Los Gatos, California last fall and for some reason, in the middle of the block, felt the need to cross the street. In a shop window, directly in front of where I was crossing, was this beautiful ring. Even though I wasn’t looking seriously, I went inside the shop and tried it on. It was so perfect! I had the lady at the shop write down the item number and everything. But before I left Los Gatos, I threw the card in the trash thinking “if I’m still thinking about this ring in a week, I’ll tell him about it. And if it’s meant to be, he will find it!” Sure enough, a week later I was still thinking about it, and told you. I couldn’t remember anything about the shop except the location, Los Gatos, the name of the saleswoman, and that she said “it was the most delicate ring in the shop.‚ÄĚ You went to work! You took a day that you were in Palo Alto and tracked down my ring. And it was the very ring in the box the day you proposed!
 
Bottom line is you made this the most special weekend I’ve ever had! And hopefully everyone sees what I have had the joy of seeing these last few years: a thoughtful, hard-working, and giving man that I am lucky to get to spend the rest of my life with. So, thanks for reading and please consider this my speech for the whole wedding process.

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Remembering our Engagement

You and I got engaged a few weeks ago. You are the most wonderful man I have ever met, or even really ever heard of. I thank God every day that you found me in this world and that after three years of knowing in my heart that I wanted to marry you, you have asked me to be your wife.

Our relationship has been a long and winding road, one that I am infinitely proud of and woudln’t have any other way, though sometimes difficult nonetheless. I want you to know these are the best days of my life – days that I am cherishing as they happen, and will look back on twice as fondly. I want to start our marriage focusing on all the blessings I have, all that you give me, all the happiness that you are in my world. So here is to commemorating our engagement, all the memories big and small that make up this time. I plan to show you this blog after our wedding so that you really see just how deeply you make me happy. Yours forever.

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