So I know that you've waited a long time to hear all the details. I know it's a long story, but I didn't want to leave out any details!
During the last few days of our vacation in Greece, M and I were discussing the new job that he would be starting shortly after we got back. Knowing that he would be working long hours and wouldn't be able to take a vacation for at least a couple of years, he mentioned that he didn't want this to be the last vacation we took. I mentioned that we could take a weekend trip to some place like San Francisco or San Diego but we didn't discuss it any further than that. A few days after arriving in California, I got a random phone call from M saying that he found a great last minute deal on a flight to San Francisco and that he booked us for the weekend of September 25th - 27th, 2009. Just days before the trip, M mentioned that I should make plans for us for Friday and that he would make the plans for Saturday. He also mentioned that we would have to make the schedule around two meetings that he had; one on Friday just after we landed and another on Saturday afternoon. Knowing that this would be his last vacation for a long time, I wanted Friday to be perfect. I secretly planned Dim Sum for brunch, hour and a half long massages, dinner and wine at Houston's, a trip to Musee Mecanique, dessert at Fisherman's Wharf and a romantic walk passing through Levi's Plaza on our walk back to the hotel. At the end of the night, I remember telling M that it was going to be hard for him to top that day. He said that he only had a couple of thing planned for Saturday and that because Friday was such a good day, it would be hard to top. I joked that, knowing him, he would pull "one good stunt" to top my day and that I would be mad because all of the hard work and planning of Friday's events would all be in vain.
Saturday morning was very relaxed. We slept in before heading to a local restaurant for breakfast. M instructed me to look nice and to wear the dress that he had picked out. After breakfast, M went to a quick meeting at Starbucks while I showered, blow-dried my hair and put on make up. [I never blow dry my hair and rarely ever wear make up!] After his quick meeting, M calls me up and tells me to meet him downstairs so we can be on our way. We started walking towards Union Square. We then pass Union Square and keep heading uphill towards North Beach. At this point we're starting to get hot and sweaty. I ask M where we're headed and he says, "You'll just have to wait and see." After another 10 minutes of walking uphill, I tell M that if we're going to North Beach, that we should probably take a taxi. He says that we're not and continues uphill. After walking up a few more steep blocks, M asked me to hurry up. I snapped at him saying, "If we needed to be somewhere quickly, why did we not take a taxi?!" We finally reach Lombard Street and M asks if I want to walk up the steep, winding road. At this point, I had sweat off all of my make-up and my hair was also wet from sweat. I was so upset that I had even bothered to put on make-up and to blow-dry my hair that I didn't even answer his question. Instead, I proceeded to walk away. When M asked me where I was going, I responded with, "Downhill!" We walked downhill a few blocks, when M spotted a hotel. Thankfully, he walked in and asked them to call a taxi. Luckily, the taxi was air conditioned. During the ten minute long taxi ride, I remember glaring at M and saying, "You expected us to walk this far?!" He apologized and added that he had no idea it was uphill or this far and that "It looked much closer on the map." The taxi driver dropped us off at the Exploratorium. M wanted to walk around the lake and enjoy the scenery a little before going into the Exploratorium and playing with the science exhibits.
The Palace of Fine Arts is breath taking. I have been to the Exploratorium several times, but never once realized that it was next to this beautiful park. We found a bench near the lake and sat down to take in the beauty. Feeling a little hot from our walk, I spotted a man selling Popsicles and asked M if we could get one. After enjoying the frozen treat, M suggested that we take a better look at the ducks in the pond. I step over the dirt borderline and onto the stone ledge. At that point, M tells me not to stand there and to come back. The conversation went like this:
M: "Just come back over here, please."
Me: "Why are you acting so weird?"
M: "Because there's a penny on the ground."
Me: "I don't see a penny."
M: "I think you're standing on it."
I step back and see that there actually is a penny on the ground. M says, "I'll get it." But being closer to it, I say, "No, I'll get it." and I bend down and beat him to it. [We're always in a competition to see who can find the most change on the ground.] Although I've just unknowingly ruined M's excuse to get down on one knee, he decided to get down anyway. I was completely shocked. When he asked me to marry him, I was not able to utter a single word. All I could do was stand there with a huge smile on my face. I finally managed to get the words "Yes! Of course." to come out of my mouth. After a few moments of hugging and kissing, a man came up to us and introduced himself to me as Rich. As it turns out, M hired this man to capture the entire proposal. We spent some more time with Rich taking photos around the Palace of Fine Arts before heading into the Exploratorium. At one point I asked M if I could call my parents and tell them the exciting news. M was hesitant to answer and tells me no. I ask him why and he says, "You just can't." I then prodded, "You asked my father for permission, right?" He confessed that after just getting back from Greece and moving and getting ready for his new job, he didn't have the chance. He wanted to be the first to talk to him and until then, I had to keep it quiet. I then asked if I could call my sisters, to which he replied, "No, because they might tell your parents." I then asked if I could call my best friend Lauren, but "Lauren might tell Lex, who could tell my parents." Although I was excited about being engaged, I was sad that I couldn't share my excitement with my friends and family. M assured me that we would be able to tell them soon enough and not to worry.
After spending hours in the museum, we walked around Crissy Field and enjoyed the view of the Golden Gate Bridge. I teased M about how I knew he would pull one stunt that would trump Friday. We then took a taxi back to the hotel where I was able to re-shower, re-blow dry, and reapply my make-up before our dinner reservations. On the taxi ride over to dinner, M told me that I could call my sisters. Without hesitation, I picked up the phone and called Lex. I told her to get Christina, to put the phone on speaker, and then announced our engagement. I wasn't able to tell them all of the details because we had just arrived at the restaurant. I told them that I'd call them back after dinner. Once at the restaurant, the hostess walks us to our table. As we approach the table, I notice that there are people there. The first person I saw was my father and I broke into tears. My parents had driven up and M's parents had flown in to San Francisco to celebrate with us. On the walk back to the hotel after dinner, M aptly pointed out that he didn't just pull "one stunt" but that he had pulled two of them. We laughed and I conceded that his day beat out my day by a long shot.
As it turns out, M had purchased the flight and hotel a few months in advance. I'm not sure how he had known that I would respond in the way I had by suggesting a short weekend trip to San Francisco, but I guess that goes to show how well he really does know me. He also later confessed that he met with the photographer on Friday and my parents on Saturday to get the ring. [He was afraid that I might find it in his stuff.] We now look back on that day and joke about how I unknowingly almost ruined it by walking off downhill, deciding that I wanted a Popsicle and by picking up "his" penny!
I have a lot of photos from Rich to share, and I will be posting them over the next couple of days. I'm so happy that M was sweet enough to hire a photographer to capture the moment! Here is a photo from when M got down on one knee: