Blogging vs. Real Life: Sometimes Real Life Wins

Things have been busy around here! Between wrapping up the last two weeks of teaching the 6-week summer program, day trips and weekend activities, and a girls’ trip to Nashville, I got a little behind on my blog. I really try to stay on top of the posts, but sometimes real life gets in the way, whether it’s in the form of a grading marathon, or a relaxing afternoon at a winery, or endless lesson planning. All three, plus many more, present good reasons to put the little ol’ blog on the back burner until more time opens up. Don’t fret: next week I will return with the next coffee shop post on Slipstream near Logan Circle. But this week, I am planning and gathering my materials for the Fall semester, which starts on the 31st.

The whole planning process takes a lot more time than expected. There are so many layers. First, you have to decide what’s due when. Then what reading to do on certain days. Then what overarching activities and objectives you want to accomplish. Then what you will actually do to accomplish those activities and objectives. It’s borderline overwhelming. In many respects, it feels exactly like this:

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At the same time, I love organizational tasks, so I don’t really mind.

With summer drawing to a close, I’m sad about the impending coldness and weekends full of grading, but glad that I was able to make the most of my summer over the past few weeks. Also, there are fall leaves already. WTF?!?!

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Having Rahul here PERMANENTLY is amazing, because we not only get to see each other every day, but we can enjoy our weekends together. We’ve explored our city a bit more, drunk wine and “listened” to a 90s cover band with friends (the band was far away and mostly illegible), visited the beach for our engagiversary, celebrated multiple friends moving away (with joyfulness and sadness), saw “The Book of Mormon” at the Kennedy Center (so funny!), and much more. In doing so, I’ve marked off a few things from my DC area to-do list, which included going to the beach in Maryland, going wine tasting in Virginia, and seeing as many plays as possible at The Kennedy Center.

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I also enjoyed a fabulous weekend with some of my dearest friends in Nashville. The weekend officially kicked off our wedding countdown–less than 100 days to go! It was amazing to spend some quality time with my best gals, while also dancing it up all over Nashville. Country music everywhere! We stayed in a house for the weekend, which I highly recommend to anyone visiting the Nashville area. We were in East Nashville, which is an easy and cheap Uber ride to the city. Plus, we had space to spread out and hang during downtime.

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Now that I’ve entertained you with details about my fabulous life, I promise to return to my regularly scheduled programming next week.

 

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Saying Yes to the Dress: Part 2

After weeks of nonstop grading, a much-needed trip to my hometown, wedding cake tasting and flower picking, celebrating my dad’s 60th birthday, and several cuddle sessions with our family cat, Bella, I have finally found time for Saying Yes to the Dress: Part 2.

My sister and I decided to match at my dad’s 60th birthday party. We also decided to practice different poses while taking pictures:

I call the series below Bella with Katherine’s Laptop (and doesn’t help grade):

Now that I’ve overloaded you with pictures, let’s get on to the actual post.

Before dress shopping, I got a few tips from friends and websites on how to best approach the whole process. Most of the tips were simple: set a budget, scout ideas beforehand (while also being open to other choices), take a few favorite people with you to each store, and keep your store visitations to a select few places. 

Well, I did really well with the first three: I set a very clear budget in the beginning and stuck to it, screenshotted dresses on Pinterest and cut some out of magazines, took my mother to every single dress shop (except for one, when my sister tagged along as well), and made initial appointments at three dress shops that I had researched extensively online. I just knew that I was going to find THE dress at one of these first appointments, because that’s what my friends and every single TV/movie featuring wedding dress shopping had told me.

Guess what? I was wrong.

If you read my last blog post, you know that somewhere between the 3rd and 9th bridal store visit, I disappeared into a tulle-induced frenzy where I was determined to try on every single dress that I might REMOTELY like. I was on a crazy dress path and it was going downhill fast. I was waiting for that “ah-ha” moment when I put on the dress and everyone around me starts clapping and crying instantly. I’m not making that part up–I’ve literally read a blog post where a bride said this happened to her. So, in my crazy bridal mind, I was determined to have that same moment because, dammit, why not! I tried and retried dresses, determined to have an ah-ha moment of my own.

But then, something my best friend said to me brought me back to reality: “The TV/movies lie to you. The dress is important, but it doesn’t make the wedding, and definitely doesn’t make the marriage.” (I’m totally paraphrasing because I can’t find the original text).

There is a reason we have best friends, and it’s for times like these. Her simple text reminded me that just because the “ah-ha this is the dress” moment happens all the time in the media doesn’t mean that it has to happen to me. Every person’s dress shopping experience is different, and every PERSON is different.

This is the same rule that applies to the reaction to getting proposed to. Even though I always pictured that I would cry, as that’s what you see in the movies/etc, I instead started in utter shock at the ring. On an unrelated note, I’ve also started to think that men holding women’s purses when they shop is not a real thing, but something started in commercials/TV shows. More on this to come.

After this text, I slowly came back to reality and the rest of the wedding dress shopping experience became a little easier, as outlined in my first post. Here, I want to share a few dress shopping guidelines–as it there weren’t enough already out there–to remind other soon-to-be-brides that it’s okay if the “ah-ha” moment takes some time, or happens in a different way than you expected.

Wordifications’ Endorsed Wedding Dress Shopping Guidelines

1. Plan beforehand. Like I outlined above, going in with an idea of the dress you’re looking for is key. This seems like a no-brainer, but it’s a helpful reminder.

2. Say no and be firm to dresses you are not interested in. You will be offered plenty of dresses that are not your type or are too pricey. Just because that trick works on other customers–oh, you love the dress? oh, it’s $500 over your budget? oh, you want it anyway? perfect!–doesn’t mean it has to work on you. I’m a perennially nice person when it comes to interacting with salespeople, often too timid to really speak my mind, but I said no when necessary.

3. The step above helps trim down your dressing room options, which is key. You don’t want to take a bunch of dresses you don’t actually like back to the dressing room, and waste your time trying them on, when your dream dress is probably somewhere else in the store. Especially in stores that have a strict appointment time limit, say yes to only your favorite picks.

4. At the same time, say yes to different styles–within reason. Like, if you know you will never, ever want to wear a huge ball gown type dress, then mark those off completely. But, if you know you are open to, say, strapless, even though it’s not your first choice, then try on some strapless dresses. You never know, you might find the dress this way. Let’s just say that’s how I found mine–although my dress doesn’t fall into any of the above categories. Like I would give away what the dress looks like on this blog!

My emotions (in gif form, of course) about halfway through the whole dress shopping process: 

5. Don’t put your hopes on one store. Let me repeat. DON’T PUT YOUR HOPES ON ONE STORE. This was the big dress shopping mistake I made and it ultimately lead to my wedding dress-shopping-frenzy. I was so disappointed that I hadn’t found the dress at this specific store that SO many people had vouched for, that I spun out into a wedding panic.

Which store, you ask? Well, about 2 1/2 hours away from my hometown in TN is Low’s Bridal & Formal, which so happens to house the largest bridal selection in the mid-south. Sounds perfect, right? My mom and I heard about the store and, after asking for opinions on FB on whether or not a visit to the store was worth it and getting a resounding yes from many people who got their dress there, I made an appointment. After such praiseworthy FB comments, I was positive that I was going to find THE DRESS here. Like, steroid-induced confidence positive. And I did find many lovely dresses at this store, ultimately whittling it down to two favorites. Yet, while I was looking for the “THIS IS THE ONE!” moment, I instead spun off in a totally different direction: stressed, anxious, and confused. Sure, I had found some lovely dresses, but none of them were THE dress. Instead of feeling excited that I had found good options, I was stressed about the whole process and upset at the blind confidence I had placed in the store after hearing such rave reviews about it. I had planned on walking out with a dress purchased, and I instead walked out (well, rather, hobbled-I was still in the boot from my fracture!) confused, angry, and a little bitter, which is SO not the emotion you want to get from wedding dress shopping.

The visit to Low’s slowed down the whole process a bit instead of speeding it up, as I had hoped. Even though many, many people raved about the store, I finally accepted that their positive reviews didn’t mean jack if I wasn’t finding the dress I wanted, even in a store that looked like it was straight out of “Say Yes to the Dress.”

Ultimately, going to 12 different stores paid off–I found THE dress, and I’ll be going to try MY DRESS on in a week and a half. However, if I had known some of the above reminders going in to the whole process, especially the fifth one, the process would have been a little easier. I finally had to remind myself: There are thousands of dress shops with millions of dresses (not really sure on that math) and NO WAY to try on every single one. I had to put aside my inner perfectionist and, once I did, I was able to calm down long enough to say yes to the perfect dress.

Saying Yes to the Dress: Part 1

GUYS. It has been a hot minute since I posted on this ol’ blog—55 days, to be exact. A lot has happened in those days: spring break, sending out our SAVE THE DATES, grading upon endless grading, day trips to DC with my mom,  a short hospitalization for a blood clot in my leg, an anxiety attack from said blood clot in my leg, physical therapy visits, weekend trips to New York (Soho shopping, yes please!), finishing Amy Poehler’s book, finishing Mindy Kaling’s book, watching “How I Met Your Mother” two times through, ordering HBO just to get HBOGo to watch “Veep,” starting “The Mindy Project,” job interviews, wedding planning, the list goes on…

But today, I want to write about the most exciting event of the last 47 days: FINDING MY WEDDING DRESS!

The journey to finally saying yes to the dress was a long one. My first official bridal store visit was on March 3 (Birthday Bride!), and I finally ordered THE DRESS almost a month later on April 2. During this time, my mom and I visited 12 bridal shops in 4 states, tried on countless dresses, developed a genuine distaste for excessive netting, and reached a near breaking point. Somewhere during the experience, after my third bridal store visit and before my ninth or tenth, I disappeared into a tulle-induced frenzy where I was DETERMINED to find the perfect dress. I had found a lovely dress at the 2nd store visit, but somehow convinced myself that I needed to be sure that a more perfect dress didn’t exist somewhere else. In this journey to satiate my inner voice, I tried on many dresses that were not my style at all, squeezed into size 8s and drowned in size 14s, and became more and more frustrated with the whole process. I was positive that I would find the dress while home for Spring Break and, when I didn’t, I returned home to Maryland disappointed that I would have to do the rest of the shopping by myself.

But then something miraculous happened—I spent a day in the hospital for a fractured leg-induced blood clot, after which my mom flew back to Maryland (after already spending 3 weeks with me during my hobbling stage, because she is the best) to spend another 2 weeks with me while I adjusted to a new medication and lived in an anxiety-induced fear of what was happening in my body (watching this video on repeat helped ease my mind and also laugh). While the circumstances for her return to Maryland were crappy, her second visit in 2015 meant one, very exciting thing: we could finish wedding shopping together!

We made a few more appointments in other bridal shops in Maryland, even though I was starting to get tired of the whole experience, which was kind of frustrating. Its wedding dress shopping; how can it be frustrating? I had gone into the whole experience expecting a Monica Geller moment of finding the perfect dress, complete with a “THIS IS THE ONE!” exclamation, pushing all those around me into tears immediately (ok, that last one is a bit of a stretch), with an immediate sense that this dress was going to “complete me.” But then, I had a moment of realization, plus a real talk with my BFF and countless conversations with my mother, and came to understand that I wasn’t buying a wedding dress in the movies. The ah-ha moment is fabricated, in those situations, and I also realized that I’m not even a “ah-ha” moment kind of gal. I just knew I wanted to find a dress that looked and felt amazing, and I started to push myself to hard in finding this dress.

After a few conversations about this frustration, my mom and I set an April 1 deadline for picking the dress, after our last bridal appointments in March 31. A deadline! As a former journalist and current teacher, I love deadlines, and so I latched on to this quickly. I still liked a dress I had tried on at the second bridal shop, and had tried on countless other times afterward, but I wanted to be sure.

And, despite the lengthy journey, I’m so glad I did. On March 31, we visited our last two shops. The first visit was strange—they didn’t allow you to take photos while trying on the dresses (which I know is standard in many shops, but also kind of lame) and the woman helping me made a comment about how I can “wear the wedding dress again,” to which she asked “Why do you laugh?” when I, of course, laughed at what she said. She was being totally serious and implied that I could always make a short summer dress out of the wedding dress. Acc-a-scuse-me? I’m not turning my wedding dress into craft time.

So while the first visit was a bit disappointing, the second visit was so different. Maybe it was because I knew this was our last bridal store visit, no matter what, or maybe I was just in a good mood, but this last store was lovely! Not only were we the only ones, but the dresses were spread out instead of being crammed together, which made browsing a lot easier. Because there were fewer dresses, and this was our last visit, I ended up trying on a few dresses I would have said “heck no” to at other places. Because of this, I finally had a mini-bridal moment. I tried on a dress that I normally would have turned away, and immediately and instinctively knew that this was the dress. It was very similar to the other favorite dress I had tried on several times, but upped the ante just enough to knock the other dress out of the ballpark. I tried it on twice, twirled it in, sent pictures to my sister who immediately approved, and immediately went for fro-yo afterwards to discuss the decision with my mom.

During the whole process, my mom provided the perfect balance of “this is your decision” and “that dress does/does not look like you.” She never pushed me toward a dress, while also pitching in when she could tell I was unsure about a dress I had tried on. She did intervene when I was in my tulle-induced frenzy to tell me I had gotten away from my original dress goals, which was true, and which was exactly what I needed to hear. But she didn’t hide her excitement when we actually PURCHASED THE DRESS, which was such a surreal moment for me that it took a trip to Old Navy and the mall for the realization to sink in. I had found the dress! I’m so happy that my mom was there to finish the wedding dress journey with me; it would not have been the same without her.

We found the dress at the last shop visited and bought the dress at the first shop visited, which adds a nice touch of symmetry to the whole process. Come back in a few weeks for “Saying Yes to the Dress: Part 2”, presented in list format, of course. But first, grading. And grading. AND GRADING!!!!

 

Engaged in Paris

I sleepily stumble through the large, spacious hallways of the International Terminal at the Atlanta Airport until I finally reach Customs. I enter my information into the brand new customs machines that US citizens use now when re-entering the country (I swear one day machines are going to really take over this planet). The machine prints a receipt with a terrible photo and I wait in line to present my information to a customs officer, who checks to make sure the machine didn’t make a mistake. Or something like that? This whole new process confuses me, but it did take a whole lot less time. He asks me the standard questions, and I accidentally answer “I am staying with a friend tonight and then flying to Baltimore tomorrow” when he asks “How long were you gone for?” because I thought he said “Where are you going?”

Then, “Do you have anything to declare?”

YES, PLEASE LOOK AT THIS AMAZING ENGAGEMENT RING NOW SITTING ON MY LEFT HAND!

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Okay, that’s not really what I said, because the super-bored-looking Customs officer could probably care less. But I did come back from Paris with something better than what I took over there with me–the fact that I can now yell this from the rooftops:

2rwtd1iAs I was packing for Paris, and telling friends/family about the trip, almost every single person said, in some form or fashion, “you’re going to get engaged.” One of my friends even said, after asking questions about our plans for the trip: “And where do you think the proposal will happen?” I talked about it at length with a few close friends, even making jokes about my concerns about dropping the ring into the Seine if he proposed on a river cruise, but I really didn’t plan on it happening. Rahul and I have been in a relationship for almost 4 years, and have been talking about marriage since near the beginning. But since we are still long-distancing it (for not much longer!), a proposal was not something I really expected to happen until we were both living in the same country. Of course, that didn’t stop me from dreaming about it.
Boy, did he prove me wrong.

Before I start to share the story with you, I’m excited to announce that you will not only be able to read the proposal story from my POV, but Rahul’s as well!! My friend Mary Beth said that one of the best part about proposal stories is you get to hear two sides of the same moment, and I have to agree with her. 

KATHERINE 

PRE-PROPOSAL

Rahul, who is usually not a planner at all, sent me a very detailed itinerary for our trip about a week before we were set to leave. Each day was scheduled to perfection; all the places we had talked about visiting had a place somewhere. I was impressed, and excited, but didn’t think anything of it. I just assumed he was excited about our trip too and wanted to make sure we got to see everything we wanted to.

Then he asked for my dad’s phone number, so he could share the itinerary, and the little voice in my head piped up–could it be? Could he be calling him for any other reason than just to share the itinerary? I thought about it, even shared the idea with a few girlfriends, before thinking “nah. He just doesn’t want my parents to worry.”
Clever Rahul step #1.

On the itinerary, our 2nd full day in Paris was scheduled as our Eiffel Tower Day. We were scheduled to have breakfast in the morning, walk through Trocadero, visit the Flame of Liberty, and then return to the Eiffel Tower for dinner at 5:45. I was excited because 1) hello, it’s the Eiffel Tower, and 2) we were going to have dinner INSIDE OF IT! On the itinerary for the Eiffel Tower Day, he had placed a small asterisk by the date, something I didn’t notice until he pointed it out to me later.
Clever Rahul step #2.

THE DAY OF

I’m going to share this part of the story from the POV of has-no-idea-what’s-going-on-Katherine because it’s fun that way.

The night before, I ask Rahul what time we need to get up. Do we have a reservation for breakfast? What time do we need to get there? (I like to ask a million questions). “Oh, yeah, we have a reservation at 8:15, I think,” he says. I say okay and we set our alarm clocks. That night, we had gone on a dinner river cruise on the Seine, gotten a nice introduction to the city of Paris, seen the Eiffel Tower freakin’ SPARKLE AND LIGHT UP!, seen the Paris Statue of Liberty (where was Nic Cage?), and it was all during sort of dreary weather. We keep checking the weather in hopes that the next morning would be rain-less.

That morning, we get up with plenty of time to leave for our “8:15 reservation.” Rahul plays some music, I take a shower, and then generally lollygag, because that’s the thing I do, and Rahul waits patiently, because that’s the thing he does. We still manage to leave with time on our side and walk to the metro stop close to our hotel, which is a direct shoot to the Trocadero stop.

On the metro, we are holding hands and Rahul starts playing with the small initial ring I have on my left ring finger–the one I had started wearing a few months before, and was planning on wearing until we got engaged, as my last name would change from a K name to a J name. He touches the ring and says, “Which finger do you wear an engagement ring on?” I smile and point to the same finger. He plays with the ring some more.
Clever Rahul step #3. 

About halfway there, the metro stops at one of the stations and suddenly everyone get out. Someone says to us in French that the train is stopping and so we also get off the train. Then, of course, I go into panic mode. I am a pretty worrisome traveler, and I also don’t do so great with long lines, hiccups in plans (like train closures), or other things in this realm that involve waiting for something to happen. When I’m with Rahul, I can usually let this part of me take a backseat, as he is pretty relaxed and confident that things we’ll turn out the way they should and, if not, we’ll figure it out anyway. So while I’m panicking, thinking we are going to miss our breakfast reservation, Rahul hides his panic and asks a metro employee what we need to do. She points us in the direction of another route, and we continue our journey.

A few stops later, we get off at Trocadero and walk toward it. I’m not making this up when I say the first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower that morning was magical. Trocadero is a beautiful park/look-out/fountain across from the Eiffel Tower, and provides–in my mind–the best view of the Eiffel Tower. It’s unobstructed and you can see the whole thing. So we round the corner to Trocadero, and I gasp. The weather was perfect, the sun was still rising, and there was the Eiffel Tower, resplendent in the early morning glow. I’m taking it all in when I hear Rahul say, “Oh no!”

“What is it?”

He points to an Asian couple who are taking wedding photos and who are, strangely enough, the same couple we had seen taking wedding photos the day before at Luxembourg Gardens. “Why is taking wedding photos a bad thing?” I asks him. He laughs it off and we move past them to stand at the edge of the look-out and take in the view.

I am still in awe of the simply gorgeous view, especially after the dreary weather the night before. The sky is beautiful and shines down on the Tower, quiet and nearly empty at that hour. It was, and still is, my favorite view of the Tower from our whole trip. There’s hardly anyone else around us and so, after taking a few pictures of the Tower, I say, “Let’s take a selfie!” (Because what else are you going to do as an American in Paris). He obliges and we take a few photos. Also during this time we are hugging and kissing and basking in the glow of the fact that we are in PARIS and it is amazing.

This is when I start to wonder if something was going on.

I’ll step out of character for a second to say that when I have told this story since, I say here that I noticed something was going on because he started to say a lot of nice things to me. Now Rahul says nice things to me all the time, but he started saying a lot of them in succession. I return the sentiments, smiling at him and happy, and then ask to take more pictures of us. We go to take another picture when he says “Oh crap! We should move, the couple is right behind us.” I look and the Asian couple has moved closer to us and is in between us and the Tower. So we move a few spots to the right and I take my phone out again.

“Why don’t you put it away,” he said. “Just take in the view.” So I oblige, all the while thinking, what’s going on, as he actually puts my phone in my bag for me and zips it shut.

This is when I enter into what I like to call “PROPOSAL HAZE WHAT IS HAPPENING??!?!?”

Rahul puts my phone away, steps back, and says, “I love you. You make me so happy, and I want to spend the rest of my life making you as happy.” I sort of remember him saying this, because the next thing I know he is kneeling down on one knee and holding a red velvet box toward me in his palms. I follow the movement of him kneeling like a cat watching a laser, thinking OMG what is happening!?!? and then next thing I know there is a RING SITTING IN THE BOX SITTING IN HIS HAND. I am so distracted looking at him kneeling and looking at the ring that I don’t really remember him saying “Will you marry me?” even though I know he did. Even after all the dozens of comments that Rahul was definitely going to propose in Paris, I found myself in complete shock as he holds a ring up to me, a smile on his face.
As my best friend Lydia says, I went into “ooh, something shiny!” mode.

I stare at the ring as it blurs out everything else around me. I reach out toward it, and I must have been smiling (I honestly don’t remember, it was like I went into a haze) and Rahul says, “That’s a yes, right?” And I say of course, and I am smiling, and he stands up and takes the ring out and removes my K ring and slides on this BEAUTIFUL ENGAGEMENT RING and we start kissing and smiling and hugging and kissing some more and hugging to the point that there’s a picture of us where it looks like I am trying to pick him up, I am hugging him so hard.

Oh, that’s right. Because after the celebration phase (which is also sort of a blur because I was so overwhelmed with excitement about what had just happened), Rahul says, “By the way. Look over there.” And this woman holding a camera waves at us and I start laughing in shock.
Clever Rahul step #4. 

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You might notice that is my PARIS DRESS, which was featured in my last blog post, and will forever be known as my PROPOSAL DRESS!

Lindsey of Pictours Paris introduces herself and then we take dozens of amazing pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower, all the while I’m looking at Rahul and at the ring on my hand thinking, “oh my gosh! We’re engaged! This is crazy!” When I discussed the proposal with some girlfriends afterwards, we all commented on the fact that, while you wish you could freeze time, take in every moment of the proposal, and remember it forever, your brain instead goes into “SOMETHING AMAZING IS HAPPENING SO I AM GOING TO FREAK OUT!” I am in a delirious excitement the whole time, but I also can’t believe what just happened. We are in Paris, we are engaged, and we are taking pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower. THE EIFFEL TOWER!!!!! Life is good.

We take some more pictures at the Love Lock bridge, and put our own lock on the bridge, but I do not have those pictures yet to share with you. After we part ways with Lindsey, we walk to a random cafe, order these AMAZING chocolate croissants, and I tell Rahul he has to tell me everything. I learn:

  • Yes, he had asked my Dad for permission beforehand, and both of my parents knew, as well as his.
  • In fact, many of his friends knew, and so did my sister.
  • The center stone on the ring was from a ring of his mother’s, and he had skyped with the jeweler in TN to design the rest of the ring. (I mean, WHATTTT!?!?)
  • He had his parents sew the ring in the tag of a t-shirt, wrap the t-shirt in a bag, and then sent to me via my parents, where I held this package (which I thought was a shirt and a check) for nearly three weeks before transporting it with me to Paris to deliver to Rahul.
    Clever Rahul step #5.

Yes, that’s right. I HAD THE RING WITH ME THE WHOLE TIME! This is definitely one of my favorite parts about the story.

After the croissant eating, we walk down the river and just talk and laugh and enjoy ourselves and a Paris that is not yet full of the general OMG THERE ARE PEOPLE EVERYWHERE, which is lovely and amazing and one of my favorite parts about the morning. That and the fact that we ARE NOW ENGAGED.

 POST PROPOSAL 

Now that I am back in Maryland, I am sort of depressed with the fact that I am in Maryland and not Europe (Rahul, can we move there please?), and have to catch up on a crap-ton of work because, OH THAT’S RIGHT, school starts next week and I have to switch into teacher mode pretty soon. But it’s hard to work when you have a  shiny ring on your finger distracting you every .8 seconds….

Rahul and I have talked a little about wedding plans but, as my friend Alex suggested, we are enjoying being engaged right now before transitioning into the months of planning and preparation. We had a full week of Paris left after the proposal to enjoy the city together, drink celebratory champagne, and just bask in the fact that we can now call each other fiancé and fiancée.

RAHUL

The following takes place between 7:00 am and 8:30 am, on the day of Rahul-Katherine Proposal.

So where exactly is breakfast? She asks.

Oh its a nice place near the Trocadero.  We have reservations for 8:15.

Who makes reservations for breakfast, I chuckle to myself. Oh well, looks like she’s buying it.  Time to get dressed.

She puts on this pink and white dress.  It looks amazing! She makes it look amazing.  I sneak looks at her as she’s getting ready.

I play “Married Life” from UP on my phone. I’ve been sneakily playing it on random occasions over the last month, she recognizes it.

My biggest problem right now: where do I put this ring box?  It’s too big to fit in my pocket without being noticed.  I’m not taking a backpack to a proposal.  I can’t hide it in a t-shirt again. Hmmm, well done Rahul, so you didn’t plan everything did you…I start thinking.

Quick last minute, slightly dangerous, slightly stupid decision. I’ll just tuck it into my belt around the back so she can’t see it.  All the way up to the proposal the box hangs precariously from my belt; it falls out on the metro a few times.  I keep putting it back in the same place.  What did Einstein say about stupidity?

As we’re riding the metro on the way to the Trocadero, a thousand scenarios are running through my mind.  We hold hands and it calms me.  I force myself to think in the moment, I don’t want to forget this day.

I ask her about the ring she’s wearing, but its carefully placed inside another conversation.  I’m hoping I’m not being too obvious, I’m just excited!  On very rare occasions I let my poker/act like you’ve been here before/face slip, and this is clearly one of them.  She clearly notices the ring conversation, and I quickly change the topic.  How bout that Disneyland Paris huh? I wonder if there are joggers there too? (There are joggers everywhere in Paris, Versailles, the Louvre, the toilets.)

The metro doesn’t cooperate, so we have to detour.  I take it in stride.  Nothing is going to ruin this day, I think to myself.

The following takes places between 8:09 am and 8:30 am. All events are in real time.

We finally make it to our stop, and I’m thinking,  come’on sun!  If there’s only one day you need to cooperate, it’s today, don’t let me down giant burning star.  As we’re climbing up the stairs, exiting the metro, I see what looks like sunrays, could it be? Does someone up there know how important today is?

Sure enough, we walk out to a beautiful sunny crisp Paris morning! It’s not too cold, not too hot, just the perfect porridge, I mean weather. What could go wrong?

And as soon as we turn the corner onto the Trocadero, BAMMM! Asian Couple Marriage Photo Session!   Dammit! Who invited the Asian couple decked out in full wedding garb to my proposal? (There are Asian couple photo sessions everywhere in Paris, Versailles, the Louvre, the toilets.)

It’s ok, I brace myself. I force myself to think in the moment, I don’t want to forget this day.

As we’re walking up, I see the a teal camera strap out of the corner of my eye.  That’s her, that’s the photographer.  (“I’ll make a gesture to you, so you notice me,” she writes in the email conversation we had a few weeks ago, “you’ll notice my teal camera strap. “) Either that’s Lindsey the photographer, or I’ve just made awkward acknowledgements towards a weird-ed out tourist.  She’s following us, good, that has to be her.

Too many things happening at once: trying to dodge the Asian couple, there’s construction on one side of the Trocadero, is the ring still tucked into my belt?  Where is the photographer? Katherine didn’t see me look around, did she?

We slowly make our way to the steps descending from the Trocadero.  Ring check.  Ok, good it’s still there.  I look at Katherine, she calms me. One look at her is all I need, I’m back in the game.  I tell her about how wonderful she is, and how happy she makes me.  I try to tell her this as much as I can.  She wants to capture the moment on camera, so we always remember it. No camera necessary, I put it in her purse.   Don’t worry about the photo Katherine, it’s been taken care of.  This is where I would break the third wall and acknowledge the audience, Underwood style.

Nothing could be more perfect than this moment.  I slowly get the box from my belt and hold it behind my back.  In that moment I think to myself, how lucky am I? In my wildest craziest most unimaginable dreams I would not have imagined I would be here, in Paris, with her by my side, asking her to be my wife.

I tell her how happy I want to make her, and how much I love her.  How her smile brings a smile to my face. How much she means to me, and how I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with her.  I slowly drop down to one knee and ask her, Katherine, Will You Marry Me? As I open up the box.

The ring screams, do it!  

She goes…. WHAT? Are you serious? Is this happening?

I say yes, the world pauses. Frame freeze.  I take the K ring off her finger.  I put the Rahul Katherine ring on her finger! It looks perfect on her. She looks perfect.  I rise to meet her as she leans down the meet me, we kiss halfway.

What? Are you serious? She says again.

I already know that’s a resounding yes! But I ask anyway. That’s a yes right?  And she says YES! Of course, yes!  We hug each other, I’m the luckiest guy in the world.

We hug more, we kiss more, we hold hands, we kiss even more. It’s a moment I’ll never forget.  Two silly kids who met at a bar in Jackson, Tennessee, made it through everything, and found themselves on the steps of the most romantic city in the world, with the Eiffel Tower staring down on us.  And I got to ask the most beautiful girl in the world for her hand in marriage.

I’m a lucky, lucky guy. She makes my heart happy. And I get to do the same for her for the rest of our lives.