Hi my wonderful readers!
John and I are home from our perfect vacation, settling into our new apartment together, and basking in the glow of being newly engaged. We might be back to reality, but the excitement remains. I thought I'd share some more details, since you've all been so awesome and supportive about this step in our lives.
Although John and I discussed getting engaged by the end of 2011, I can honestly say his proposal took me by surprise. For the first time in over a year, he had a week off from his medical school responsibilities and I was thrilled to be taking a mini vacation to East Hampton, Long Island. My parents have a teeny beach house on Gardiner's Bay and, since we've had some wonderful times there over the years, it seemed like the ideal getaway for 4 days and 4 nights. We arrived on Wednesday night and planned to have my brother Josh and sister-in- law Erica join us on Friday for the holiday weekend.
On our first morning, we were determined to catch the sunrise from start to finish - an experience I can now check off my annual bucket list! There's nothing like it, really. As the first light peaks through, the still water is illuminated. Suddenly you're just part of the morning scene: the gulls swooping down for their breakfast, the grazing deer and her fawns among the dunes. I'm infinitely inspired by the wild beauty out there and our deck is one of my favorite places in the world (something that John knew, so being engaged there was even more special).
Since we finally had time to breathe, I felt closer to John than usual. We were laughing more than usual and, throughout the day, he was saying the sweetest things. We even took a long mid-day nap together, simply because we could. As I rested my head on his chest, I remembered thinking things don't get much better than this. I would soon be proved wrong. When we woke up, we set our sights on dinner. My mom had been kind enough to make some great reservations for us (something you must do on July 4th weekend), but John suggested we try getting into Dave's Grill, one of the most popular restaurants in Montauk. Anytime we'd tried dining there, they've been booked for months. However, on that evening there was somehow a recent cancellation. We were all set for 8pm!
At that point we hadn't yet walked on the beach, so I suggested taking a stroll together. We got dressed, I grabbed my red pail (to collect beach treasures, of course), and we were off. That beach is hard to describe - it's wild and rocky and, as you're walking along the shoreline, you get the sense that you're the only people in the world. It's also deemed one of the most important ecological locations on Long Island, as it's home to unique and endangered wildlife. In retrospect, I was being such a kid that day...running from pretty shell to pretty shell and skipping stones on the bay. During that walk, John found a gorgeous white stone that the sea had tumbled to perfection; a memento that I would soon write the date upon in order to symbolize the best day of my life. As we reached the water, John took my hand and started saying all kinds of beautiful things. We held each other closely and kept walking, but I started sensing that he was nervous about something. For a split second, I honestly wondered if he might propose, but I quickly pushed that thought from my head. After all, it was too early.
And then came the bugs! Swarms of horseflies arrived and interrupted our romantic moments (bugs are definitely the biggest downside to living in such a wild area). We were slapping them off of ourselves every few seconds and decided to return to the house. On our way back, we skipped some stones and John amazed me with his skills. Eventually we made our way through the tall grasses and back onto the porch, where I displayed my shells on the railing. The sun was beginning to set on our first day and, as I turned toward John, I saw him kneeling over something. He said, "Hey Maya, come look at another shell I found!" As I approached, I saw something shining and, as cliche as this may sound, the world actually seemed to stop in that moment. Already on his knee, John looked up at me with a huge smile on his face and simply asked, "Will you marry me Maya?" I'm sure I don't need to tell you what I said.
Like many girls, I've dreamt of that moment for most of my life, but when it's actually upon you, it's inexplicable. For three and a half years, I've known that John was the one I wanted to spend my life with, but now we were truly looking toward our futures...together. Once I calmed down and stopped shaking, I took a good look at my gorgeous new ring - a treasure that once belonged to John's great grandmother. She was engaged in 1926 (the same year the ring was purchased) and all I could think of was the history that I now had on my finger. I was honored to have become part of a beautiful family tradition. I couldn't love it more. We proceeded to excitedly call our family and closest friends, which is when I first realized that our parents were in on the secret. My sneaky fiance had driven down to Long Island the week before and asked both of my parents for my hand in marriage. I absolutely love that he did this and it meant so much to my family.
As we recounted the events of the day, we laughed as John explained how his various plans were foiled. Initially he was planning on proposing as we reached the water, but the horseflies kind of ruined the moment. We were annoyed and distracted by those little buggers, so he decided to press on. While I was skipping a stone on our way back, John's "Plan B" was to be kneeling as I turned back around. At that same moment, I exclaimed, "Ew! Gross! There's a tampon applicator in the sand." I'm not sure I've ever found a piece of trash on that beach, but naturally it would be in the same spot where John had begun kneeling (haha). He quickly stood back up, realizing that another moment had been killed. As we retell this story, this element just makes us laugh and laugh.
Our engagement dinner was incredible. As I looked across the table at my future husband, my heart swelled. I've written before about our story (like in this April, 2010 post entitled "A Keeper"), but sometimes it still feels like a dream. There I was, engaged to my best friend and the same man whom I've held on a pedestal since I was 16. Although the rest of the photos from this weekend are stuck on Erica's camera (she's working on it), here are a couple from John's phone. It was truly the best day of our lives.
Knowing how important my family is to me, John thought that Thursday was the perfect time to pop the question. That way we could have some time alone, but also celebrate with Josh and Erica the following night. Having people I love there to hug and toast with made the weekend that much more special. On Saturday night my amazing parents also surprised us! They drove all all the way to East Hampton just for dinner and we were thrilled to see them there, hiding behind their menus. And just like that, we had a little engagement party! We dined at East Hampton Point, an incredible restaurant with one of the most amazing views imaginable. My mom even joked that they had ordered the sunset just for us. We laughed and reminisced and even caught some fireworks across the harbor.
More pictures to come soon, including one of my gorgeous ring. Thank you all for sharing in this special time in my life! I couldn't ask for more.