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So because I know not my entire world is on Facebook (annoying it may be, but it suits my iPod-using lazy online nature these days), I'm reposting:

I'm engaged! My amazing boyfriend Mike (well, fiancee now!) proposed to me on Saturday night, at the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

A few weeks ago, Mike surprised me by saying, "I've made a command decision. We're going to the aquarium sleepover at the end of the month." I was shocked and delighted, since I've wanted to do it basically since I first heard about it years ago, and getting to share it with my beloved would be even more wonderful. So we headed down, got all checked in, and when I was contemplating sticking around for a behind-the-scenes tour they'd be doing in a bit, he told me that he'd already arranged one for us. I was a little mystified but went with it, as we had some wine, browsed the gift shops, wandered over to the octopus exhibit (both were awake and running around, it was amazing) and through a couple of others before heading to the info desk.

Jeremy, our tour guide, explained how we'd need to sign model release forms, and when he went off to find them, Mike told me that he'd asked if there was any way to get a private tour, and they told him about a special marketing program they had, where they'd be taking our pictures to update some of their publications, for tours or whatnot. I readily agreed, excited to both see the tour and help one of my favorite places/organizations, and we soon headed out. We saw the top of the Monterey Bay habitats and kelp forest tanks, went past the veterinary office and some other stuff (I'm honestly not able to remember it all, having been overwhelmed by the rest of the night), Jeremy taking occasional pictures of us both, and then went across to the open sea side of things.

I was excited, because the exhibit was closed the last time we went, and I hadn't seen it for at least a year, and it was all redone and awesome, and empty. Jeremy's boss was up on the balcony, supposedly to direct us for pictures (it made sense, it's a good vantage point!), and we were told to just go right up to the glass in the center, just look at everything. The sardines were all schooling in the bottom of the tank, and it was awesome, and there's sea turtles again, and a huge mola mola, and the sharks, and I was just pointing
and grinning and bouncing about it all, super excited as I am wont to be.

Mike was standing behind me with his arms around me, and I was just about to suggest we step apart and hold hands or something, for them to get different pictures...when he kissed the top of my head and said, "I have one more surprise for you." And I looked down and he opened this box, and there was a ring, and oh my god, I know I stopped breathing, and I stopped thinking. Mike said I gasped and my hands flew to my mouth, but all I really remember is gaping at it, until he turned me around and went down on one knee. I gaped some more, and squeaked, "Are you serious? Do you mean it?" or something ridiculous, and he apparently even asked me a second time (I don't even remember this part!) before my brain finally kickstarted into gear and I said yes (in, I'm told, a very small, amazed voice) and fell to my knees and kissed him. We got the ring on (it's almost a perfect fit, and SO SPARKLY, I'd really never appreciated diamonds before), and there was more kissing and crying and I just hugged him and couldn't believe it.

So we finally started to get up, and I turned around, and the mola mola was swimming right by, so I said that it clearly approved...until I noticed it was pooping as it lazed past, and added, "Well, maybe not," kind of laughing. And then OMG, there's people there! Paul and Stacie (he'll be Mike's best man) and Raven and Liz came down the stairs, where they'd been watching in the balcony, and I shrieked and ran to them, crying and laughing and throwing myself at them for hugs and of course did the girly "hold the left hand out" thing (that's been pretty fun so far) and there was so much happiness around us all. Stacie teased us about taking so long, we were apparently kneeling together for a long time and they wanted to come down and congratulate us. So Jeremy took a couple more pictures of all of us, and then there was more tour!

This time, behind-the-scenes for the jellyfish tanks (I looked outside from in, of the big sea nettle tank!) and the jelly breeding area, plus the top of the huge outer sea tank! So Jeremy said a bunch more interesting stuff, but I mostly goggled at my ring and held Mike's hand or put my arm around him and stared in glee at the mahi-mahi and turtles and sharks swimming by, I don't remember a bit of it. Then we got to see the food prep area, and the octopus tanks from afar (did you know that they use astroturf to keep octopi from climbing out? now you do!), and they released us into the wild, as it were.

We chatted briefly, before Paul and Stacie headed home, and Mike and I went to set up our sleeping stuff while Raven and Liz went to check out the octopus. We'd kind of thought we'd sleep there, but I wandered over to the open sea again, and just really wanted to be there instead, back where he'd proposed.
Unfortunately, since we hadn't been at orientation, and the lady we asked in line was deeply confused about what sleeping spots were and weren't open (there was both a girl and a boy scout troop there that night), I didn't manage to save us a spot right at the front of the glass, so we set up at the back of the room, a little away from anyone else. It would have been awesome, laying back and looking up at the water and the bubble curtain, but it was also nice having a bit of privacy (we'd have been packed in like sardines, as it were, at the front).

We met up with Raven and Liz for a bit longer, wandering through parts of the aquarium kind of at random until they headed home, and we continued to wander. And caught the last half of the late-night movie...which was about cephalopods. Yeah, it's like someone knew, and planned it just for me! It was kind of an uncomfortable night, there on the floor, mostly because of my busted inflatable pillow (protip: test stuff that's been in storage for awhile), but every time I woke up, I'd look at my ring and smile, and reach out and touch Mike, happily. Morning was way too soon, and we packed up, staggered downstairs for breakfast, and headed home. It was a long and distracted drive, as I kept staring at my ring every 5 minutes or less, and he played love songs and we sang to and looked goopily at each other, the whole way there.

Such an amazing, special night, that he'd been planning for months, and it was more than I'd ever hoped for or could have expected. Incredible from beginning to end, from being at my favorite place to including my friends, from the gorgeous ring (platinum and all art-deco-y, an undated antique) to the love in his eyes, it was just magical. I can't wait to dance at our wedding, as intimidated (and excited!) as I am about planning it.

(also, hi people, it's been awhile!)


Sep. 2nd, 2011 08:52 pm (UTC)
Whoa! That's awesome! Congratulations!!!

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