So our wedding is just around the corner (less than four weeks from now!) and I have FINALLY convinced Mr Nerd to let me share how he proposed on the interwebs. So here is our engagement story.
I think it is quite fitting that the girl who writes a blog called Modaokon was proposed to in her very own house. Yes, Mr Nerd popped the question not in Paris, or in a five star restaurant, or on the beach, but right here in The Crap Shack, in a very unusual way. And I love this.
It was last year on a sunny September day - my 27th birthday. I always get super-excited about my birthday because I think a birthday should basically be like a public holiday for yourself. Mr Nerd told me he had to go pick up my present. He said it was something I had always wanted. I could hardly wait for him to get home.
He returned empty-handed. That was not what I had always wanted.
“Where’s my present?” I asked him as he opened the fridge.
He shrugged and poured himself a glass of orange juice. “It didn’t arrive at the shop in time.”
“Yeah. The guy was like, ‘Can’t be helped.’ ”
“Well, don’t I get a second present? A back-up gift?”
“No... so, no present. Sorry." He shrugged and drank his juice.
I silently fumed. “Well, I don’t know about how things work in your family, but in my family, when it’s your birthday, you get a present,” I said icily. “And if it doesn’t arrive on time you at least give like a FLOWER or something.”
Mr Nerd looked unperturbed and just drank some more juice. But I was REALLY mad. I somewhat regret this now, but that day I only really started talking to him nicely again when we got in the car to drive to my parents’ house for my birthday dinner that night. Mr Nerd didn't seem too unhappy to have some peace during the day, if I'm honest. But then, once I had that first sweet sip of wine, I was my usual happy chatty self again.
His parents arrived late to my folks' house. We all had wine and cake and everyone presented me with their offerings (as they should). And we drove home to the Crap Shack and I had drunk a fair bit of wine so I had forgiven Mr Nerd’s lack of present-on-time. I pushed open the crappy front door with its crappy lion head door knocker and there was this giant pink birthday gift propped up in our crappy bar. Please excuse the crappy wine-fuelled iPhone photo.
“MY PRESENT,” I yelled. Then I realised Mr Nerd had probably planned for there to be a present all along waiting for me when I got home. “I’m sorry,” I added contritely. Kind of. (I didn’t know this at the time, but the reason Mr Nerd’s parents were late for my birthday dinner was because they were sneaking into our house to deliver my present when we were out). I tore off the wrapping and it was a customised tram banner. I was instantly super happy.
This is where you should know that I have loved vintage-style tram banners for YEARS. Have you seen these around? I always wanted one. Years ago Mr Nerd and I always agreed that one day, when we had enough money, we would get a customised tram banner with the names of some special places that meant things to us. We even started writing a list of places and countries, like where we grew up, where we holidayed together, where our families are from. Things like that.
But on this customised tram banner? Some of the places didn’t mean a thing to me. ‘He’s gone and put more of HIS places on it than mine,’ I even thought. Never mind. It was still awesome and super-thoughtful. There was Kandalama (my dad is Sri Lankan). There was Quebecois, a place where Mr Nerd has family and a place he really loves. I've never been to the Mayan Temples so I thought that he put Mayan Temples in there for a laugh. And I figured that the line of question marks at the bottom symbolised where we would live or travel to next. Which was sweet. But some of the place names confused me. Williamson County? Never heard of it.
“What is Yousef Island?” I asked Mr Nerd politely.
“Oh, it’s this island that was created when this volcano erupted,” he replied. “I thought that was pretty cool.”
“Ohh.” That’s so stupid. “I LOVE IT!” I said brightly.
I admired the tram banner some more (Yousef Island or not, it was still awesome) thanked him again and then I said I was going to get ready for bed. “Don’t you want to find a place to hang it up first?” Mr Nerd asked.
“Now?” I asked doubtfully. It was late, I had drunk too much red wine, we usually argue for ages on where to hang stuff.
“Yeah, why not?”
“Ok.” So we spent some time traipsing around the house. Finally I leant it against a wall in the dining room. We agreed it was a perfect spot.
Mr Nerd had this huge smile on his face. I looked at the tram banner again. It didn’t make sense why he would include such a random dumb place like Yousef Island (which, I admit, is cool, but not on my personalised tram banner). I also didn’t get why he included Williamson County. I’d never even heard him talk about it. But I did know that Mr Nerd grew up in the country - in Augusta.
“Is Marryton the name of the town in Augusta you grew up in?” I asked him.
“No,” he said. “Not quite.” He was still grinning from ear to ear. He was acting so very happy. I looked at the tram banner again. And then I got it. Can you see it?
Hidden in the place names, are the words, 'MAYA WILL YOU MARRY ME ???????'
I nearly fell over. “Oh my god.” I was so shocked. And then, “You’re so CLEVER. I can’t believe you’re so CLEVER! Oh my god!” Yes, I know. My boyfriend proposes and I question my perceived level of his intelligence.
But then I said yes. Of course.
And then I felt so insanely, ridiculously happy and then I got teary because I was so awful to him that day and I apologised over and over for yelling at him and being so grumpy on the day he planned to propose but he said it didn’t matter.
Then he pulled out a ring box and I twitched a little. Oh my goodness. And then I asked him politely why he was't down on one knee, because I always think the proposer should get down on one knee when they present the ring, but Mr Nerd just laughed and opened the ring box. And there, gently nestled inside between folds of rich black velvet, was not a sparkling diamond ring... but a white plastic ring sizer.
He put the ring sizer on my finger and tightened it. “Hmm, I think you’re a size J,” he said, his brow furrowing. “I already picked your ring out; I just needed to check the size.”
Well. It was still the most wonderful proposal and yes, corny as it is, it did make me the happiest girl around, because I am marrying my soul mate, my best friend and the one person who always knows how to make me laugh no matter how down I am feeling.
The next day my sisters came over with champagne and flowers and we celebrated and jumped around in front of the sign and took silly photos. Oh and in case you were wondering, I loved the ring he had in mind and when it did get made, I came home one day and he surprised me by getting down on one knee in the backyard. It was my perfect ring. And yes, it was a size J, in case you were wondering that.
We had planned my potato-themed birthday party for that weekend and it turned into a very unofficial, intimate engagement party with our closest friends and it was perfect.
Now nearly a year on we are getting married in just under four weeks! And I love that Mr Nerd proposed here, in our crappy dining room. Because for all its flaws, its ugly tiles and its root-riddled pipes, I do love this house. I put up this tacky engagement announcement, above, on Facebook. Like having our proposal in our house, it also seemed kind of fitting. Because despite the fact that we were in the same year together in high school, and like the typical naughty kid he sat in the back of my Year 10 AE social studies class while I, the nerd, sat in the front, it is thanks to Facebook that Mr Nerd and I are together! But that is another blog post. Maya x