Sorry, this post is long over due. Turns out that managing a blog while on the go is harder than we expected. But here it is, what you’ve been waiting for…
Julia’s Point of View
The first day I woke up in Paris I was so excited. We got up early and had plans to see the palace of Versailles, the Notre Dame cathedral, and Trevor told me he had planned something special for his parents that evening so when he asked me, “Do you want to know what we’re doing?” I said, “No, I want to be surprised too.”
I didn’t know a ton about Versailles to begin with, so getting an audio tour was a lot of help. The entry line was short since we started early and it was a moist winter day. The building was huge and sort of a squared horseshoe shape with the front gates and roof trim all lined in gold leaf. Very fancy. Inside, King Louis XIIII spared no expense on every square inch of his palace. Not my taste, but when architecture is that detailed, grand, and old, it’s truly worth seeing in person.
It was especially cool knowing the Christian Dior J’adore perfume commercial with Charlize Theron was filmed in the Hall of Mirrors, inside Versailles. It made sense after seeing all the gold leaf, fancy picture frames, and chandeliers inside the long, runway-perfect hall.
To make it even more over-the-top, Louis XIIII had a whole section of his palace dedicated to his gardener and the blueprints of the outdoor grounds. It took about an hour or so just to get through landscaping drawings and finally see the art collection.
Fast forward through most of the art we weren’t allowed to take pictures of and we found ourselves walking outside to see the gardens. The gardens were too vast to walk entirely so Trevor, his parents and I found a bench to sit and eat lunch. We had baguette sandwiches (a French staple) and I had my first taste of a Kronenbourgh beer. It was nice to take a break from all the walking.
After our break we hit one more stop in the gardens, the fountain of Apollo. I was lucky enough to get a shot of the sculpture with the sun shining on it for a moment. This was probably my favorite part of the Versailles grounds.
Now it was time for Notre Dame. This beautiful dark Gothic church was so cool to me. The carved stone gargoyles and ridiculous detail were like I expected, just much bigger. Inside was a different story. I expected a dark, cold, empty space, but instead found the opposite. People were still quietly worshiping, candles were lit everywhere and the stained glass, pillars, and super high arched ceilings took my breath away.
In front of Notre Dame there is a little bronze plaque with a star on it that Trevor told me was the center of the city of Paris. As the legend goes, if you touch the bronze, you shall return to the city some day. We decided we would like to return again, hence the picture of our feet.
We saw a few more neat little things after Notre Dame, but by this time I was getting excited for the evening and the surprise Trevor had planned for his parents.
Back at the hotel, I leaned out the window with my camera because every hour for five minutes the Eiffel Tower lights up and I had to get pictures and video of how sparkly and pretty it was. I don’t know if there is anything prettier. We will have a video of that up later.
I started getting ready and Trevor reminded me, “Dress nicely, but dress warmly because we’ll be going on a cocktail river cruise.” I was a little pissed because I had asked him not to tell me what we were doing so I could be surprised like his parents, but I understood he wanted me to be comfortable.
So I got ready, which took me a little longer since I’m not used to living out of a bag (plus, I take my time). Meanwhile, Trevor was constantly reminding me of the time and that we needed to go very soon because we had a reservation. At this point I was almost done getting ready, but just couldn’t find my gloves. Trevor, very antsy, says, “We are out of time. We have to leave, right now.”
We left the room and headed out, but I didn’t have my gloves and I was not happy about it. I pouted for a little while, occasionally glaring at Trevor who was just looking back at me like ‘I’m sorryyy but we had to go’ as he led us on a fast-paced walk through Paris. The Eiffel Tower was getting closer and closer as we walked, but all I could think about were my forgotten gloves. I remember telling Trevor’s mom, “Lori, I’m sorry, I’m just irritated. I just wanted my gloves and he wouldn’t let my take two more seconds to find them, so, sorry, I’m a little grumpy.” Of course Lori sweetly offered me her gloves and said not to worry about it. I was still so sidetracked with my gloves that when Trevor turned around and said, “Surprise! We’re going to the top of the Eiffel Tower!” I didn’t notice we were standing almost right in front of it. At that moment I realized I was being ridiculous and he was just trying to be punctual.
So I forgot about my stupid gloves and got really excited that we would be going up the tower. We passed all the guys selling trinkets and headed for the line. But Trevor headed for a different line to the side that said ‘Restaurant’. Curious, I asked him, “Are you getting a ticket like you’re going up to the restaurant so you can bypass the line or get a discount or something?” (I figured we weren’t eating dinner there since I knew advanced reservations were needed) and he said, “Ya ya, it’s a Rick Steve’s trick to bypass the long line… I’ll be with you guys in a sec.”
A few minutes later we were in an elevator, heading up the tower. We mistakenly got out at the second level so we all had to climb about two hundred feet of stairs (pretty funny looking back). Rick and Lori were not thrilled about the unnecessary climbing, but they persevered (Rick shouting obscenities to Trevor while the people coming down passed by, laughing).
Finally we made it to the top, among many other people. The view was incredible at any vantage point so we began searching for a spot along the fencing to take a photo. We snapped a couple pictures of Rick and Lori and then Trevor handed our camera to Rick. He took a photo and said it was pretty good, but he’d take another. It was extremely windy up there so I was fine with taking a bunch of pictures as long as there was one without my hair in my face.
All of a sudden Trevor put up his arms and said, loudly in French, “Pardon, pardon!” For a second I thought he just wanted some space to take a picture without a person walking by, but then he took my hands, slightly shaking, and said my full name. Everyone stopped. Everything stopped, I think. My heart definitely stopped. All became quiet, except for Trevor. I knew then that this was that moment. That moment that every woman dreams of happening with her favorite person, her best friend. That thrilling moment was finally happening to me and I was in euphoric shock. I am so grateful Trevor’s parents were there and that they recorded Trevor proposing to me, because I was so surprised that it all seemed like a happy blur. I heard every special word that left Trevor’s mouth, but I couldn’t believe that it was actually happening. I knew all I had to do was say “yes” and so, I did.
I don’t know what the future holds for us, but February 4th, 2014 was easily the best day of my life…for now. 🙂
Trevor’s Point of View
Fiiiiiinally!!! If I had to wait another day I think I would have exploded. I have given speeches, been on national TV, and competed in front of 5,000+ people, nothing came close to how nervous this proposal made me.
Back in July, while I was in Florida for a month training for my previous job, I made the decision that I wanted to take Julia’s dad to dinner and ask him for her hand in marriage. Guys, if you’ve ever done this, you’ll know that this situation is stressful all on its own. What this really meant is that there was no turning back; I had announced it out loud to a very important person, so now it was real, I was really doing this.
The next reality check was the diamond purchase. As with any major purchase in my life, I did a lot of research. I wanted to know what makes one diamond better than another and what justified the cost. Well, I at least got the answer to one of those questions. “The four C’s” are really all you need to know. As for the cost, I think I figured it out. I think they are doing all the diamond mining on a distant planet, and you get to pay for the gas bill to get it home, aside from that, I’m not sure. I have never laughed while handing out a large sum of money, but there’s something about spending inordinate amounts of money on a sparkly rock that leaves you so dumfounded that you just have to laugh. BUT, at the same time I was happy to do it, it was a strange feeling. It’s one of the most special purchases a man gets to make, and I wouldn’t change my experience even if I could.
I knew that I would be doing a surprise proposal, which meant no input on ring styles from Julia, and I didn’t want to go poking around because I didn’t want to tip her off. So I settled on picking just the main stone, using a solitaire setting of white gold and give her the option to pick out a different setting at a later date. I liked this because I had control over which stone was in the ring. I went through about 10 diamonds of similar size/quality and then had 20 more ordered in for me to see before I made my selection. And I’d have to say, I think I did a pretty good job. That thing sparkles more than a bass boat in the middle of a lake on a sunny day.
I gave the ring directly to my parents so Julia wouldn’t find it during one of her random deep cleanings of the house. I also went over with them my game plan for the special night. I told them that they needed to be there so they could take pictures and a video. Then time flew by. Before I knew it, we were leaving in three days and I still hadn’t talked to her mom about it. Using a moral free-pass, I told Julia a white lie about where I was and went to ask her mother for her hand. Luckily, she gave me the green light and it was go time!
Here we are at the airport, my dad has the ring in his bag, I’m paranoid and feel as if his bag were see-through. We fly across the big pond and land in foggy London town, all the while knowing I needed to figure out what the hell I was going to say, but every time I started thinking about it my heart would start beating out of my chest. Once in Paris, I eased up a bit because I was occupied with pretending to speak French and navigate the Metro.
And then, the day came. I woke up and had butterflies in my stomach within five minutes. This was going to be a long day… We went out of the city to visit Versailles which was a welcomed event to keep my mind off of things, barely. I told her I wasn’t feeling well, that way if I was acting funny it would be somewhat justified. On the train home from the palace, I decided it was time to figure out my wording for the proposal; my most important 30 second speech I will ever give. As Julia was dosing next to me I slowly moved away so she couldn’t feel my heartbeat, as I’m sure it was moving the seat we were on. Ten minuets later we were back in our hotel. I was using my moral free-passes right and left with my white lies. I told her that we needed to be dressed nicely because I had arranged for a Seine river dinner cruise for all four of us.
I love her to death, but Julia has been known to take her time getting ready, and tonight was no exception. I was sweating bullets because I knew I was on a tight schedule, as we did have a dinner planned, but it had nothing to do with the river. So finally we left the hotel to make our way to the Eiffel Tower, because I said it would be fun to do right before the river cruise. I messed up with the organization of the tickets and so we actually climbed about 200 feet by stairs to the second level of the tower. Their I bought tickets to the very top; 1,063 feet above the twinkling lights of Paris. It was windy, but clear, which is more than I can ask for in winter.
Now for the good part!
As I find a clearing in fencing, I kill some time pointing out the various landmarks of the city, then recommend we take pictures. The parents went first, I shoot the pictures so that I can have the camera set and ready for the big moment. I switch the camera over to video mode as we get ready for our “picture”. The top of the tower is a busy place so I knew I had to stop the crowd somehow. So I say loudly “Pardon! Pardon!”, at which point a surprising number of people actually look at me. So now it was the moment. I turned to Julia, scared with almost a dizzy feeling, but loving every moment of it, and I say “Julia, from the moment I met you, I knew you were the one…” And the rest I don’t even remember saying. I was so damn nervous I forgot to open the ring box, but it didn’t matter because if you watch the video, you’ll notice she doesn’t even look down at it, which I love because that’s not even the important part. She nods and softly and says, “Yes.” I stand and kiss my girl, whose tears made for a salty kiss that I will never forget.
After struggling awkwardly to put the ring on her finger while the crowd continued to watch, we finally got it on…thankfully! I then let her know that we were indeed having dinner at that fancy restaurant in the middle of the Eiffel Tower which looks out over the city.
This would begin a new chapter in our lives, a chapter that I’m excited to start with my fiancé – my best friend.