April, what an absolutely crazy month… and it’s not even over yet!
For the next stuff to make sense, I will take you back roughly a year when I began a crazy plan to propose to my lovely girlfriend. You see, her and I have been travelling quite a bit since I moved to Australia in 2011. We’ve seen a ton of major tourist areas in Europe, and also visited the UK, Japan, and even back to Canada. One thing marred all these trips; They were all the perfect opportunity for me to propose. After our trip to Japan in 2014, I said I really didn’t want to hear about it anymore. It was becoming negative in my mind as every trip was a disappointment at the end when no proposal had taken place.
That being said, it was always in my mind but it was that disappointment, expectation and negativity at the end of every trip really made me not want to think about it. Then, fast forward a few years. My girlfriend hadn’t spoken of a ring or wedding or anything for two years. Then came a new problem, because she hadn’t spoken of it in two years I was in the dark. What the hell did she like? What diamond size? What price? What type of gold? Did she even want gold?
I started to sweat bullets. What if now that I was ready, I screwed it up?
Anyway, this time last year I began planning. For someone such as myself who gets excited and wants to tell my partner everything, this would be quite the challenge. Also, if she was expecting it on every trip… how would I surprise her if I began whisking her away for a surprise weekend? She’d be onto me for sure! So I skipped past some dates we could have gone and started looking into the April school holidays. Although I was pretty lucky we had the house building to keep us distracted and provide a fantastic reason not to travel, otherwise, she probably would have booked one of twenty or so deals along the way.
For Christmas, I planned a lovely surprise. We agreed it would be a light Christmas (hahaha) so I stuck to the budget and bought some travel related goodies and hid hints all around the living room and started her off with a card attached to a present she couldn’t open until the final hint told her she could. As each hint lead to the next, some special helpers (Lord of the Rings Pop Vinyls: Sauron, Gandalf and Smaug) hid secret presents in their areas that also could only be opened in sequence before opening the final gift. After collecting all hints and final gifts, she unwrapped them to find out we were going on one final adventure before building the house: A Pilgrimage to Middle-Earth (AKA, New Zealand)!
So that was Christmas 2016, and everything had gone according to plan. She was now distracted with planning where she wanted to go and what she wanted to do. I’d already chosen where I’d propose (Bag End, in Hobbiton) and it was a no-brainer that she’d choose to go there too. You see, Katie and I are huge Lord of the Rings nerds. We watch the extended edition trilogy every year on our anniversary in a single day. It is both madness and determination that get us through the day, but the movies are just too good!
Now that the trip was planned I had to work on the ring. So if you’re a funny Canadian Hobbit, where would you get your ring from? I did my research and the jeweller who designed The One Ring for the Lord of the Rings movies (Jens Hansen) also designed engagement rings and wedding bands among a plethora of other things. I began what would eventually become a 50 or so odd email chain going back and forth with questions, crazy demands and changes.
I realised that my girlfriend only wore one ring and that she never took it off. How the heck would I get the size of her finger with nothing to go off? My initial plan was decent but flawed. I was making a pizza dough for dinner and asked her to knead it for me while I did something else. Without taking her ring off she reached for it and I snatched it back. “Nevermind…” I said, disgusted by the fact she would have rubbed her dirty ring through our dinner. Then I had the brilliant idea to measure her finger in her sleep.
Then I had the brilliant idea to measure her finger in her sleep. First I used a string, which tickled her hand and annoyed her in her sleep. So that wouldn’t work. I next printed off a small piece of paper with a slit in it to measure the size. For awhile whenever I tried, she was sleeping on her hands. Eventually, this fell to the same fate as the string and she ended up ripping through it in her sleep. Two strikes… couldn’t afford a third!
Then I asked one of her good friends to help me out. If she ever wanted us to get married, I’d need the size of my girlfriend’s finger and I didn’t care how she did it. We discussed sedatives (apparently it’s still illegal to drug a person, even if it is for their benefit) but then she came up with a plan. Sometime later, the two went out looking at rings for her and managed to convince my girlfriend to try on some rings and get her finger sized too. Win!
Suddenly, March was ending and I realised that holy crap, I’d be heading off on my trip in a few weeks and I still hadn’t fully confirmed the design. So we knuckled down and I made some good decisions and got a final quote. The ring I’d chosen was a similar design to the only other ring she had that was designed by her and her Mum. I went two-tone and asked for a Canadian diamond for the simple reason that she loves Canada even more than I do… so now she would have a tiny piece of it with her wherever she went and set into a ring made by the people who designed the ring for her favourite movie.
Or so I thought.
Roughly two weeks out or more from the trip, we are sitting at breakfast and my lovely girlfriend begins telling me she doesn’t want her birthday to roll around and still not be engaged. Of course, I knew it was going to happen but had to borderline upset her by giving her the ole “It will happen when it happens” and “don’t rush me” speeches. With a heavy sigh, she then told me a new budget for the ring because we are building a house. I nearly spat out my juice as the quote I had was definitely above what she was asking. I smiled politely and then first chance I got, emailed the ring maker to ensure we could get the price somewhere between the quote and what my girlfriend had told me.
The folks over at Jens Hansen mostly laughed at me and my new predicament. They said they would have to redesign the ring but it wouldn’t be too much of a difference. I told them that was fine but I would pay for it all so they could lock in the diamond and get it sorted and sent ASAP! They were prompt in getting back to me and sent me the bill, which I promptly paid but the diamond they quoted me for was sold by the supplier! Luckily for me, the jeweller selected a higher standard diamond and absorbed the cost just to get it started!
As the final week approached, I began to worry. If it was sent to me in Australia, I wouldn’t have to worry about New Zealand sales tax. But, if they sent it, there was always the possibility it could get delayed, lost or a billion other things. Anyway, I took that chance as I asked for the quote without sales tax to get a better ring overall. They finished the ring and sent it out on the Thursday with express shipping through Fed-Ex. The weekend would be tense without it, but at least it was on its way.
Friday came and went, the ring being en route and then I watched as it actually progressed through the weekend as well. When it came to Monday, it appeared to be on the truck for delivery. All I could think about all day was the fact that the ring wasn’t there yet and kept hassling the storeroom for updates. As closing time came closer, I ran out the back and hassled them yet again, to which they replied it probably would come Tuesday. Disappointed, I began to make my way back to the floor where I was greeted by an employee with a large grin on his face.
“Give it to me!” I told him, to which he obliged. His initial thought was to hide it or not tell me for awhile until one employee asked him if he really wanted to risk being the one to lose the ring. With that in mind, he brought it immediately to me. Now with the ring sitting in the safe and the trip only six days away, I just had to bide my time and not let the cat out of the bag.
Next up, would be the engagement, which I’ll separate into another post as this one is already a bit long! It’ll be up shortly, I promise!