She said “Yes”

Over a month ago, I began plotting and planning how to propose to Art. We had been dating for some 16 months, and conversations about marriage and aspects of married life were very naturally to us without unbalanced expectations from either of us. After the whole meet-the-relatives exercise in Indonesia for Art, which was trying experience (for both of us) and seemed to end in without the joy and blessings we so desired, our relationship was revived when my parents unexpectedly returned to Thailand, to dialog, understand, and really bless our relationship. At that point, I started planning.

My parents had come to visit me in January, which stretched to a busy February and a seemingly busier March. Our own “quality time together” seemed to dwindle, and we decided to do something about it. I promised Art to spend a whole Saturday with her, to treat her and just spend time together without interruptions, forgetting about pressing issues demanding our time and attention.

I had picked out a ring – something very simple and unassuming (for a diamond ring), which I thought reflected Art’s character and her non-fussiness with jewellery – some two weeks prior, but couldn’t find the right time to propose. I had originally wanted to surprise her at her apartment – a relatively simple proposal (with rose petals strewn on the grown, candles lit, nice music playing, etc.), but that wouldn’t work, as I do not have a key for her apartment. So, the fact that I had the ring for some two weeks without making any move was a little irritating, but when the chance to spend a whole weekend together, another plan started kicking into gear.

On Saturday, after watching a movie, we had intended on getting a massage (what a great mood setter!), but we really didn’t have enough time coming from the movie and shopping a bit at Siam Paragon to HealthLand (one of my massage places of choice, on Sathorn), and then onto the State Tower, where I had reservations for a romantic dinner at Mezzaluna. I was rushing us from the movie to watch the sun set over Bangkok, which is a very beautiful view at the top of the State Tower. I’ve had sunset drinks at Vertigo at the Banyan Tree, and a dinner party at Sirocco (one of the several restaurant and bars at the State Tower) which are incredible experiences with spectacular views of Bangkok, but Art had never enjoyed those views with me. I told her the rush was so we could see the sunset colours as we relaxed over a drink or two. Indeed, arriving around 4:45pm was an ideal time for a great sunset view.

Proposal plans aren’t real plans without some unexpected problem rearing its head, potentially to mess things up entirely. After discreetly informing one of the hostesses of my dinner reservation at Mezzaluna, she came back to inform us that they had no record of my reservation. Now, Sirocco (which is “outdoors”) had been completely booked solid, so I didn’t think we’d have much luck with an open table at Mezzaluna, either. Art thought it was probably a good thing, that I would save money on an otherwise expensive dinner and we could go shopping instead. After waiting for a couple of minutes and we found out that they had a table – with a window view as well!

We weren’t so hungry – me, even less so, as the night progressed, I grew more nervous. The food was excellent, the atmosphere romantic. I didn’t know that a string quartet had been hired to play, and they sat quite near us, providing some additional ambience. Dinner came and went and we enjoyed a dessert and more conversation. Of course during the whole time I was calculating: how should I do it, where do I kneel, what are my lines again? I had noticed that the table was set some half meter away from the windowed wall. The waiters would stand in that space and serve us – this, I decided, would be my space.

After discreetly getting the ring box from my bag, I went over some lines I had planned to say before proposing. In that moment, my brain started blanking and I couldn’t really think straight. Art knows me to be pretty romantic (if sometimes deliberately cheesy) and thought I was on another cheesy kick, but without wanting to waste anymore breath, I scooted over into that space between the table and the window, got on my knees and asked her, “Will you marry me?”

She was in shock but managed to say “Yes”. Both of us were in some state of shock – she asked if I should put the ring on her finger. I had already started to feel self-conscious in a very Thai way – as Thais don’t show affection publically, and proposals for Thai couples are rarely western-style proposals like what we see in movies, but more of a parents-to-parents affair. We hugged and kissed very quickly, I returned to my seat, and mumbled that she could put the ring on her finger. Then we couldn’t remember, which hand it went on!

The comic situation with the tension leaving my body felt really great. And at that moment, a waitress appeared with two glasses of champagne saying, “We would like to congratulate you on your proposal with some champagne on the house.” Now Art got more impressed, but I had to tell her I had no idea about the champagne – the staff was really observant as if they were born ready.

I had brought a camera to photograph the sunset and also to capture our moment, but as we were wrapped up in the moment, we totally forgot to take a photo together – quite unfortunately.

On the way out, I texted my sister (who’s in Uganda) and my brother at home, and some other close friends. When we returned to my apartment, my housemates were there as were several other church friends. On an email, I had mistakenly confirmed my presence for a DVD showing that night, but when it was announced at a get together several days earlier, I had to tell some people I was not going – without giving any reason, which probably annoyed them. We arrived and after chatting for a while, I announced that we got engaged. Funny enough, for Andrew, it didn’t even sink in until he arrived at his apartment. The proposal in the way I asked and did it was very atypically Thai, and it was something beyond Art’s wildest dream. It’s almost taken right from a movie and into her life. All her other friends and colleagues never had this kind of proposal – but instead it would be the parents getting together to work out the details and then announcing a wedding (for the most Thais, the engagement ceremony is in the early morning of the wedding reception). Nonetheless, her friends were ecstatic and overjoyed. I should note that over a year ago, at the first wedding from her group of friends, we were pegged to be the next couple.

It’s been some three weeks since I proposed and we’ve dived right into wedding planning. It’s strange not to refer to Art as my fiancee instead of girlfriend (sometimes though, I’ll say “ex-girlfriend”… pause… “my fiancee”). We’ll have our cute/romantic/cheesy/whatever moments when we whisper “fiance/fiancee” to each other. We both feel comfortable and at peace with the change in status. As congratulations come from all over, we’re encouraged and just amazed at how a very unlikely friendship has grown into such a refreshing and good relationship.

This is just another beginning in a series of beginnings for us.

4 Responses to “She said “Yes””

  1. Beata says:

    so cute. =D congrats!!

  2. Tim Chan says:

    Congrats! It’s been great following your blog and reading about your adventures in a world so different from mine. I’m in Calgary now, so let me know if you are ever interested in riding in the Rockies!

  3. iRay says:

    Way to go, Dan! I’m so very proud and happy for you! Congrats on this next step in your journey together.
    When you visit Canada, we must all hook up together with our “wives” — sounds pretty scary!!

  4. Relevancy and keeping-in-touch

    I guess I’m writing because I’m feeling quite guilty that I haven’t written in ages. Not only do I feel…

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