Some big news in our life: We’re engaged!
On Saturday, Joost proposed and I said YES!
We had planned on a picnic in Oxford—the weather gods finally decided to shine down on us and grace us with sunshine. We packed up the essentials for any good picnic: a baguette, brie and wine and biked to Oxford. I must admit, I felt quite European with a baguette sticking out of the basket on the front of my bike!
When we arrived, the town was packed with tourists and school groups. It was a bit reminiscent of walking around and being jostled through Times Square in NYC—just with much, much older buildings. We wandered to Christchurch Meadows, laid out a couple of towels and enjoyed the food and sunshine.
Joost had been acting a bit strangely all morning, but to be quite honest, I just thought he was really hungry. Anyone who knows Joost can attest to the fact that a hungry Joost is a weird, distracted Joost. The longer we sat in the park, the faster and more Joost talked about trivial things. Finally, he pulled himself up so he was sitting facing me and said, “I have a little something for you.
In my head, I was shouting, “OMG! IT’S GOING TO BE A RING! THIS IS IT!”
…and he pulled out tickets to Despicable Me 2.
I’ll be honest, I was pretty excited for the tickets, but they weren’t nearly as sparkly as the something I had been hoping for!
Joost laughed and informed me that he had been checking his watch all morning because he wanted to make sure we didn’t miss the movie. I tried not to look too disappointed, but it must not have worked, because he said, “oh, and I have something else for you too!”
In my head, I shouted (again), “OMG FOR REAL THIS TIME! THIS IS IT!”
…and he pulled out an engraved wooden plaque. It had all of the continents listed and the races we’ve run so far. He told me that he thought running was something that’s brought us closer together and the metaphor for running through life together was something special: it’s taught us teamwork, how to stay by each other’s sides through tough times and how to set and achieve goals together.
It was a lovely gift, but definitely not what I had been expecting! Then he told me to turn it over. “Marry Me” was engraved on the back. When I looked back at Joost, he was on one knee with a gorgeous, sparkly present!
We had to laugh. The woman at the engraving store in our small town in Oxfordshire had misspelled Antarctica and forgotten to put a question mark after “Marry Me,” so Joost apologized for sounding like a demanding Dutchman and reiterated that it was a choice. Ha, I still laugh thinking about it. The flaws make me love it even more, just because it’s so funny.
Of course I said, “yes!” and tried really hard to get my eyeballs to stop sweating. We didn’t have much time, as we had to bring the ring back to the jewelry store (it was too big and has to be resized, so I only had it for about an hour before it got shipped off!) and make it to the movie! By the way, Despicable Me 2 is hilarious. It’s even better when you enjoy it with beer, wine and a proposal. 🙂
Now, here’s a little secret: we have been wedding planning for weeks! We’ve talked about it a lot and are both so, so excited to get married, but we do have a couple extra considerations to take into account: our marriage involves immigration attorneys, a physical exam for Joost to make sure he’s not bringing any foreign diseases into the US and interviews at the US embassy. Joost can come into the US on a fiancé visa, but has to be married within 90 days of landing on US soil. So, we wanted to get married ASAP so that we wouldn’t have to go back to being long distance again, but then we realized that none of our friends would be able to make it without enough prior notice. We’re inviting friends from five continents, so we wanted to be able to give them enough of a heads up so that they could start saving their pennies!
We wanted everything ready to go when we became “officially” engaged so that we could tell our friends a date right away. So, we booked our venues a couple weeks ago. We’ll be getting married at a winery near my cabin at the end of May next year! We also have had our Save the Dates sitting on our desk for the last week.
It’s been quite strange ‘secretly’ planning a wedding. We only told our families and a few of our closest friends. I am extremely lucky to have a mom that’s a rockstar at event planning and has good taste! She’s been helping look at venues, find vendors, etc back in Minnesota, as it’s been a little difficult doing it from England. It’s not how I ever imagined planning a wedding would be, but I suppose nothing about our cross-cultural, international relationship was how I imagined dating would be!
As of right now, we’ll head back to the Netherlands mid-October. At the beginning of November, I’ll head back to the states, which means I will once again be dating a pixilated, 2D, head of Joost. Sometime in March, Joost will come over to the US. At the start of April, he’ll find out whether he was accepted into any PhD programs (he’s currently looking in Chicago, Minnesota, California and Colorado). In May, we’ll get married and then we’ll move to wherever Joost gets in!
It’s all quite chaotic, but we are SO so excited and can’t wait!!