Monday, November 15, 2010

The Proposal: How it Happened

In April 2010, Eason (always thinking ahead on planning the perfect birthday for me) proposed the idea of going to Edinburgh for my 30th. I thought it a fantastic idea – a city I have wanted to travel to for a long while now, plus not too far away that friends wouldn’t be able to come. We got to planning right away! In total, 15 of us took over the city of Edinburgh for the weekend of 12-14 November (well, maybe the rugby fans there for the Scotland vs. New Zealand match outnumbered us, but not by much!). It was so wonderful to have friends there celebrating my birthday!

Friday night we all met up at Bank bar, just next door to our hotel, the Radisson Blu (a castle-looking building right on the Royal Mile). It was a fun night – live music, great friends, and the best part was (after living in London for a while), quite cheap beers! Even in the dark I could see I was going to love Edinburgh.

Saturday morning the crew all met up for a tour of the castle. It started off as a beautiful day, then rapidly turned into a cold, windy and ominously dark afternoon, finally ending up to be quite nice in the early evening (pretty unheard of for Scotland this time of year!). After a yummy pub lunch at Deacon Brodies, we did a little shopping (girls) and rugby watching (boys) and then I headed back to our hotel for my birthday present from Eason: a spa session! I had a fantastic massage, facial and manicure; it was the most relaxing afternoon I’ve spent in a while.

When I headed back to the room, a very tiny part of me thought “what if Eason is in the room, ready to propose?” I almost didn’t work up enough nerve to go back in! But I quickly realized I was playing that game that all girls play (“maybe TONIGHT will be the night…no it won’t…maybe it will…don’t get your hopes up…stop being crazy!”) when I got back to the room. I carefully put my ear to the door (what was I expecting? A string quartet and the smell of roses seeping through the crack of the door?), and what did I hear? The sounds of a happy and relaxed man watching not only rugby on the hotel t.v., but college football on the laptop as well. I quickly realized tonight was not the night and set my mind back towards getting prepped and ready for the big birthday dinner out at Tiger Lilly. Around 6:00 there was a knock at the door: “Room Service! Where would you like the wee champagne?” (okay, the “wee” bit was added for emphasis because the Scots really like to use that word!). “What’s this?” I said. “Oh just a little something for your birthday – Morgan and Eric are coming up too. I thought it’d be nice for you to celebrate with them a little since they didn’t come until this morning” Eason slyly replied. I bought it. He is always doing such thoughtful things (one reason why I’m a pretty lucky girl!).

Morgan and Eric showed up around 6:15 and we all just relaxed and sipped our champers. Finally, Morgan handed over a gift which she said she and Eric were merely responsible for transporting. When I opened it up, I found the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received: a picture book entitled “Hayley’s First 30 Years.” I opened to the first page, a picture of my family from when I was a toddler, and I lost it. Tears everywhere. Eason had spent months emailing my friends and family, gathering pictures from birth until now. I knew immediately that my mom had a big hand in this as she has organized all of our pictures into boxes back home. I didn’t realize until later how much the rest of my family and friends contributed and for that I am very humbled. I cannot even imagine the amount of hours it must have taken Eason to put this gift together. It is priceless. We laughed and (I) cried while flipping through the book of embarrassing and touching pictures. Finally we got to the last page, a page with 2 pictures of Edinburgh with the caption: “Edinburgh for Your 30th.”

It is at that point that Eason turned to me and said “And do you know why Edinburgh is so important? Because that is where I ask you to marry me. (Down on one knee) Will you marry me, Hayley?” (At least he didn’t say “The Hag!”).

I know I said “yes” and I’m pretty sure I said “Are you serious?” I will never forget the smile on his face. He was grinning ear to ear! Nothing could have prepared me for the story that was to come. “Did you speak to my parents?” I asked. “Well, let’s just say, I didn’t go to Qatar for that ‘work trip’ a month ago. I went to TEXAS.” Luckily Eric was snapping pics this whole time and my mouth just kept opening wider and wider as this amazing story unfolded. Of course my first response to this was, “you SAW my nephew!?” (I’m always jealous when anyone gets to see him and I don’t!). “Nope,” he said “your sister knows nothing about it.” “MY SISTER DOESN’T KNOW?” Her genuine response when I called her proved that: “Oh my gosh, I’m in the Target and I just wanna scream!” How in the world did he do this?

I found out later it involved a very long, baby-crying-filled flight to Houston, a very frustrating drive through the Woodlands to pick up the ring, and a long drive from the Woodlands to Lufkin on a “Farmhouse Road” (that’s Farm to Market road for us Texans). Stephen, my brother in law, had arranged for my dad to stay late at work on a Friday (that must have been the easiest part of this whole operation!). Then he directed Eason to Mom’s (where he parked down the street in front of a neighbors house). Eason said the look on Mom’s face was priceless. She had NO idea why he was there and stared at him like he was a ghost! After getting their blessings and having a quick dinner at Applebee’s with Stephen, Eason crashed at the hotel in Lufkin, only to leave first thing in the morning to head back to the Woodlands where he got to lounge around and watch football all day. He was in heaven! There is a long standing joke in my family that Eason could be in the CIA. After he pulled this stunt off, I’m beginning to think there may be some truth to it!

The whole idea behind this weekend was so perfect. Everything to the last detail was planned meticulously. This man knows me inside and out. I am humbled by his love and devotion. Every day I fall more and more in love with him. There are many things that I love and appreciate about Eason; just to name a few:

*His ability to not be bothered by the little things. If you know me, you know this is exactly the type of person I need on my side. He keeps me grounded.

*His character. He is a good man with a big heart. He is empathetic and loving and accepting to all people. He challenges me to be a better person.

*His love of traveling. We have been fortunate enough to see so many places in the world together and I wouldn’t wish to have seen them with anyone else. He is the perfect travel buddy.

*His goofy side. A tiff never lasts long with us because he always (and sometimes frustratingly) makes me laugh. For this I am so thankful!

*His honesty. Though it took a while to get used to in the beginning, this is the trait that I most appreciate about Eason. You can always trust him to tell it like it is. I knew I would say “yes” to him because I knew if he ever asked me to marry him, it would be an honest and thoughtful request. I would know deep down in my heart that he meant every word. He has never once misled me (well, except for the Qatar moment!). ☺

There are many people in my life who have shown me how to love unconditionally. Of those people, three men stand out: my Daddy, my Peepaw, and Eason. I remain humbled by the love that I have in my life. I cannot wait to marry this man.

I love Edinburgh! It will always be a very special place for us! :)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

You Never Go Hungary

Last weekend we had a 3 day weekend (right on time - just the day before school started)! Eason and I packed our bags and headed out to visit Candace in Budapest, Hungary. This was my first experience in "Eastern Europe" (which for record is VERY Western). Candace seems very happy there. We got to meet some of her work friends and she was an excellent tour guide! Eason became best buds with her Italian Greyhound pup, Jack. I think it's safe to say a dog is in our (pretty foreseeable) future. Gotta get a yard first.

One of the highlights for me was going to the hot thermal bath house where you can relax in the warm natural springs. The bath house looks like a castle and you feel like royalty inside. The whole experience was very relaxing and unique (minus the naked and hairy European women - could've done without that!)

Eason's highlight by far was the yummy food. It's basically meat and potatoes...all the time. We never went hungary in Hungary!

A little history: Budapest was under Communist rule until 1991, so the city still has sort of a sense of newness about it. The public transport rivals that in other major European cities - very efficient, pretty clean, and felt very safe. Budapest is actually 2 cities (Buda on one side of the river and Pest on the other). Buda is more of the low key, residential area which holds the famous Castle District. Pest is the more "happening side" with plenty of restaurants, bars, shopping and also is the home of Parliament and the city's financial district.

If you ever get the chance to go to Budapest, I say take it! It's a lovely city! Enjoy the pics:

Friday, August 14, 2009

Brighton and Kew Gardens

Eason took 2 days off this week to show me around. We started off with heading to the coast of England to a place called Brighton on Wednesday. Then Thursday we went down to Kew Gardens, the biggest botanical garden in the world. It celebrated its 250th anniversary this year! Wow!

Enjoy the pics!


Kew Gardens: