Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Our Story, Part 4

I believe I left off in August 2009, just before I started college and Will went back to Houston for a Co-Op tour.

I started college ready for the change, but a little nervous about everything. I graduated from high school a year early, so I was a year younger than the other freshmen. I also joined our university's honor program, and I was worried that I wouldn't be as smart/dedicated/"honor-ly" as all the other students joining the program. Luckily for me, I fit in just fine and made many friends (including Brandy!)

I turned 18 that September and Will came home to visit.

If I remember correctly, that was the first Thanksgiving Will spent with my family. We ate lunch with his family and then left later that afternoon with my family to visit my cousins. This was also the first Thanksgiving in their new house- it was finished in August (or maybe it was late July) 2009.

Thanksgiving 2009
I went to visit Will in Houston for his 20th birthday in October, and over that visit (I think... gosh, I'm too young to not remember all these details) we went shopping for my wedding ring. At this point, we'd been dating for three years, and we had known since about 3 months in that we were "the one" for each other. It's a weird feeling, knowing at 15 that you've met the one who you'll spend the rest of your life with. Although, I realize a lot of people think that and spend years with a person, only break up once they're in college or realize they've grown apart. I also realize the whole "high school sweetheart" thing is not really a realistic occurrence for most people, and I would almost never recommend or suggest to another young woman that the boy she dates at 15 could be her husband some day. We all grow up and change so much during those years (and Will and I are still growing up in many ways), but some how, it just worked for us. I think there were a lot of circumstances that helped us to grow together, and not apart, while we were growing up.

I can't remember if I've already shared this or not, but when my mom and I had the first discussion about whether I should date Will, I told her that I didn't just see us dating for a short time, but that I saw it as more of a "forever" thing. Why I said that, at 15 years old, I have no idea. In fact, up until that point, I was pretty set to date a ton of guys through college and make sure that I found myself a good guy. I think my mom's struggles with relationships really made me aware that not all people are who they appear to be, and I was determined it wasn't going to happen to me. So when Will and I had our first fight a few months into our relationship, and when he called me later that evening to apologize and work things out, I think that was the point that I knew we could work through just about anything and we could be together forever.

So anyway, back to the ring shopping.

We had a budget (big for us, small compared to what a more mature couple could afford), and we both had really different ideas of what we wanted. I still am not quite sure why Will thought he should get what he wanted for the ring I get to wear for the rest of my life, but whatever. I actually really wanted to use my grandmother's ring, but Will really wanted to have something that was from him to me, so that was a no-go. We went to the big mall in the area and set out to visit all the jewelry stores in it. We went into the typical Kay, Ben Bridge and other big-name stores, and we were really disappointed. The sales associates were pushy, but had very little to offer us. We were also really put off by all the big sales that were advertised (because it makes it feel like you Must Act Now to Receive the Best Price), and we weren't set on buying a ring that day.I just really wanted to do some heavy lifting with him so he knew what I liked. In fact, I think I was supposed to pick 4-5 rings I wanted and he would have the final say. Yeah, that so did not happen.

You see, his mom was really set on us waiting until I was finished with my freshmen year of college before getting engaged, but Will and I were really tired of waiting, because honestly, when you know you're getting married what is the point of waiting a whole semester to get engaged? It wouldn't have changed anything, just the date we were engaged. At this point, I was really set on a January wedding, so if he had proposed that summer we would have had about 6 months to plan. However, he was planning on doing another Co-Op tour that summer and I didn't want to be newly engaged and trying to plan a wedding over the summer and fall semester mainly by myself, so I asked him to propose by May 2010. I know, we're both control freaks about details.

So anyway, back to the ring shopping.

We finally stumbled upon Helzburg Diamonds, a store I'd never heard of because we don't have one up here in Amarillo. We went in and were immediately impressed with the staff, who were attentive but didn't stand over us trying to cram diamonds on my finger. They definitely had the best selection in our price range, and explained all the diamond-lingo with us to help us see the difference between buying a bigger but less quality diamond and a smaller but "better" diamond. Our sales associate was really helpful and even helped us give directions over the phone to Will's mom, who was meeting us later for dessert.

Needless to say, I found THE ring. I round solitaire with six-prong setting instead of the traditional four-prong with a chevron guard. Or that could be the completely wrong terms, you get the idea. It was simple, elegant, and timeless. And it was under our budget. We decided to go with smaller and better value, so someday (sooner rather than later, I hope) if we want to exchange the diamond they will give us the value of our current one and apply it towards a bigger one. Will was not thrilled that I was so resolute about which one I wanted, because I think he really wanted to surprise me, but we left the mall with two red ring boxes. I was kind of ticked he wouldn't let me try on the rings when we got home, but I did not put either on until the day he proposed.

Other things that happened the semester:

I found out I was a Readership Ambassador for 2009-2010. We read A Thousand Splendid Suns and wrote a personal reflection essay over it. 45 semifinalists were chosen out of over 300 entries, and then interviewed in groups of 4. 16 finalists were chosen to go to Turkey, all expenses paid, to experience kind of cultural immersion.

Will and I attended Fall Retreat with our CKI chapter. 

 There was a costume competition. Costumes had to be made from newspaper. I was an Eskimo. I'm pretty sure we won a prize.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Will was in Houston (AGAIN) for an internship/co-op tour, so he drove up for the weekend pretty much just to see me. By the time he graduates, I think he'll have done 5 tours total for for his internship and co-ops. These we all done over summers and fall semesters.

Christmas time again and Will's sister, Megan graduated from college.

Then it's January and classes start again. The first Wednesday after classes started, I had a bad day. I can't remember exactly what happened, but I remember talking to Will on the phone towards the end of the day and being depressed. He called me around 4:15 and said he had a surprise for me, and wanted me to go somewhere with him. I complained a little- told him how tired I was and asked if we could do it another time, but he insisted.

I walked out the circle drive in the middle of our campus where he was picking me up, and as soon as I saw his face through the windshield I knew. He was grinning from ear to ear, and could not hide what I knew was coming, no matter how hard he tried.

He took me to the park, where we got out and sat on the bench. After we talked for a  minute, he pulled me and started walking. I started teasing him, asking what was going on. He had his coat on and something was bulging from his pocket. I asked him what was in his pocket as I felt the outline of the ring box, and he tried to slap away my hand. I jokingly asked him if he was going to propose, and at that moment he got down on one knee and started saying lines from The Office.

Yeah, The Office as in the TV show with Steve Carell and Dunder Mifflin. He got down on one knee on the sidewalk covered with duck poop (it's the only lake in town) and proposed using a line that Michael used when he proposed to Karen (or was it Holly? I don't  know.), and he most definitely said "... I want the ketchup fights..."

At this point, I thought he was kidding. You know, teasing me. He had warned me that he was going to make me think he was proposing but not really be doing it just to keep me on my toes. We had also agreed it would happen sometime in the semester, but the semester was literally 3 days old, so he still had plenty of time. He knew that I really wanted a romantic proposal, one where our friends and family could be there right afterwards, and here we were surrounding by hateful screaming geese and duck poo. So I did what any woman would do, and I smacked him on the head and told him to get up and stop it.

Stop being mean to me, I said over and over. Finally, I saw something move out of the corner of my eye, and I turned to see his best friend with a video camera filming the whole thing. Oops.

Are you being serious right now? I asked. Yes.
Oh... Ok. Then yes, I'll marry you.

It wasn't exactly (or at all, for that matter), what I had dreamed about for 18 years, but a proposal is a proposal and in the end we were engaged.
This picture was recreated after I said "yes".

See the bulging pocket? The duck poo?

We were so excited, and went immediately to show my mom (Will had asked her already) and his mom. I had to go from there to work (I washed dishes at our church. Classy, I know.) When I got home that evening his mom had done a really sweet flower arrangement and gotten us a card and chocolates as a congratulations gift.

Perhaps here I should mention that The Office proposal was not entirely random. Will loves the show and has watched it forever. He really wanted me to like it too, so over that Christmas break, we sat and watched the first several seasons in order. I was really liking it at that time, too. So I guess he thought it would be the perfect way to propose ;)

Stay tuned for part 5!

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