For the last couple of years I haven’t shared too much of our love story. It just wasn’t our style. Don’t get me wrong… our closest friends, family, and fellow backpackers have heard plenty of stories and someday, we’ll get around to writing about how we met. The details get misconstrued the more we tell it, and I’d prefer to make him the pursuer this time around!
The short version is this. Since meeting nearly four years ago, we’ve been virtually inseparable….except for an unfortunate 5-month separation forced by stupid visa laws.
But this post is about a happy day, so I’ll stay with that theme. Today, I want to brag on… *spoiler alert*…
my fiancé, Pablo.
I like the sound of that. Here’s how it happened…
The worlds largest salt flat. Otherwise known as the Salar de Uyuni, conveniently located on the border of Bolivia and Chile. We, along with every other backpacker in South America were hoping to experience the “worlds largest mirror.” We prayed for rain, didn’t get a drop, but still decided on a 2-night, 3-day jeep tour through the amazing terrain to make our official entry into Chile. Our car mates were two other couples, and they were only made aware of the “surprise” 20 minutes prior on Day 2.
I really wish we could just post our sunset photo and let your imagination run wild…
…but since we’re fans of a good story, here’s the truth: I thought it was a joke. From the moment we passed our camera to our new friends to take our photo, to the moment that he cupped his hands around my face and began saying something truly romantic and I cut him off with “Nice! Save that for the real one!”…I thought it was a joke.
I don’t know if it was the fact that we hadn’t been separate for more than 2 hours in the past four months, or that 1 hour prior we had been posing with dinosaur toys to take the Salar’s infamous perspective shots… but for some reason as he went through the fairly predictable motions of a real proposal, I was convinced that it was all one big, cute, romantic joke. I even told him to hurry and get on one knee. Oops!
Understandably, the couple helping Pablo steal photos of the moment became a little anxious. “No” was never an option, but how were they supposed to know?? From an outsiders perspective, here was a romantic Latino man pouring his heart out to a really confused, and slightly impatient Gringa. That is, until he pulled a salt box out of his pocket. A salt box I had mentioned only a few hours earlier that would make “such a cute ring box.” It was starting to feel real.
Then, I saw the ring. The same ring I spotted in an upscale jewelry store in the center of Cusco, Peru. The same ring I showed my mom because I was obsessed with having a “non-traditional” design, and the same ring that had apparently been travelling with us in our backpacks for over a month.
By that time, Pablo was on one knee. He finally had my attention….and my answer; I said yes, then “sí, sí, sí!!!” in my best Spanish and, in the moment I had always envisioned myself crying, was instead hysterically laughing and pulling Pablo in for a half-apologetic, half-enamored hug. It had taken some warming up, but by the time our friends had snapped some photos of us embracing, kissing, and laughing together I was finally acting like someone being proposed to. We took some group shots and wrote my answer in the salt before the sun began setting and (perhaps as mother nature’s way of making me feel less embarrassed) showered us with one of the most spectacular – and yes, romantic – sunsets I’ve ever experienced.
We’re back in Costa Rica and we’re planning our big day with hopes that our families and friends will finally get to meet! It will be a “destination wedding” here in Costa Rica and the goal is to do as much of it as possible, while making plans for the rest of ….well… our lives! But first, to add the title of “wedding planners” to our global resume.