Slowly but surely I am getting through the bajillion photos I took while on our trip through the UK.
Most of you probably know this story by now, seeing as how this happened 10 months ago.. but I promised I'd blog our engagement story, so here goes! Better late than never, right?
June 7, 2016 - Edinburgh, Scotland
So there was Jeff, sweating profusely and in a panic, trying to get my Dad to go to his Airbnb so that Jeff could take me away to his 1pm "surprise destination" plan to propose...
We arrive at my Dad's Airbnb around noon, but the door is locked and of course no one is answering the door or the phone. Jeff is sweating more and more. We knock on every door surrounding the Airbnb, and still, no one is answering. So we try the hotel next door for help, finally get the Airbnb sorted out, say our goodbyes to my Dad, and off we go...
...only to realize not even a minute later that my Dad left his sunglasses on the back seat of our car. Jeff slams on the brakes and reverses back down the street while we're yelling "DAD!" and "MIKE GET YOUR SUNGLASSES!!"
We do a quick hand off of the sunglasses, say one last good bye to my dad, and Jeff -- now in full panic mode as it's almost 12:30pm and the destination is about a 25 minute drive away -- hands me the phone with this "secret destination" on Google Maps with directions to a 'Dalhousie Castle' and says "YOU NEED TO GET US HERE. FAST!" I look at him curiously and ask, "another castle Jeff?" Not having time to explain or even bother hiding his panic, he just tells me he has a "Harry Potter surprise for us at the castle".
After a couple of u-turns and a few wrong exits at traffic circles, we finally made it to this castle just a few minutes late of 1pm. Jeff parks our rental car, looks at me and says "k I just need to go check something, can you just hang out here for a while?" as he runs past a Dalhousie Falconry sign. Meanwhile there's a very menacing dark cloud looming in the distance, so I grab my rain jacket and wait by the car, wondering what Jeff could possibly be up to.
Jeff comes back after about 15 minutes, and says "so bad news, our plans are cancelled because of this storm, but since we're here, how about we explore around the castle a bit?" We head to the castle and make our way into the glamorous lobby as the rain starts to pour, and he looks at me and says "k why don't you just go look around upstairs, I'll meet up with you in a bit!"
So there I am, standing upstairs, looking at the same photos over and over again, reading anything there is to be read, over an over again, all the while I can hear Jeff in the lobby, talking and laughing (and scheming, as I later found out) with the receptionist below. He finally joins me upstairs, all awkward and flustered - which for those of you who know Jeff, know that him being awkward is a very rare occurrence - and says, as he throws a key into the air, "lucky us, they had ONE room left, and I got it!!" (Don't worry, I didn't believe him either ;))
We get into our room in the castle with a beautiful four poster bed, antique furniture, and a lovely view of the grounds below. It was super nice and fancy - which for those of you who know us well, you know we usually stay in tents, hostels, or the cheapest motel rooms we can find, so I kind of knew something was up at this point. I asked him what he wanted to do now that we were in this epic castle and he says "ah I don't know, I don't have anything planned. Let's just relax for a bit. Then maybe we could go for dinner. Downstairs. In the Dungeon. At precisely 7pm."
We're pretty beat at this point from the stressful morning and are just about to have a nap, but as soon as we get into bed the phone rings and Jeff jumps off the bed quick, yells "I GOT IT!" and answers the phone all hushed and secretive. He hangs up, I ask him who it was, to which he tries to tell me it was a "wrong number" (haha), but then the phone rings again. He answers it, all whispers and secret plans, and he gets off the phone, and then it rings again, now for the third time, and after hanging up Jeff says "change of plans, let's get changed and go someplace!"
Jeff leads me down the hall to the Sir Alexander banquet room, where we are greeted by a man and his adorable little owl, Puck. I look at Jeff, definitely confused at this point and I try to ask him what the heck is going on, but he just tells me that this is the Harry Potter surprise he originally had planned. And then he begins to set up his GoPro... so now I DEFINITELY know SOMETHING is going on...and I obviously think he's going to propose to me because he's been so strange and awkward and flustered and is setting up a friggin GoPro!!!! So when Puck flies to me and lands on my arm (and poops on my shoe, which is supposedly good luck), I'm scoping out Puck's feet thinking that Jeff is totally going to propose with an owl and that this owl is going to have the ring in his talons!!!! But alas, there's no ring on his feet, so I'm feeling a little deflated, but still super stoked that Jeff took the time to plan a Harry Potter surprise for me, and I'm really enjoying my time hanging out with this adorable little owl (that reminded me a lot of Ron Weasley's owl, Pigwidgeon).
Then the owl man (I cannot remember his name for the life of me!) brings Bella, a barn owl, into the room and as she flies to me, I am SO mesmerized by her beauty and soft feathers that when she lands on my arm, I don't even look at her feet at all, or notice that there IS a ring hanging in a little drawstring bag. I just keep staring at her and petting her and saying "oohhhh Jeff she is soooo pretty!", and poor Jeff is just waiting and waiting and staring at me and waiting for me to notice the ring... The owl man comes up to me and moves the bag around, hoping it'll make me notice the ring, but I still don't notice it. I just keep on petting Bella and admiring her beauty. But then I finally feel like Jeff is just staring at me so intensely that I realize I am missing something, and I look down and FINALLY notice the ring! "What is this, Jeff?!?!" I ask him as he gets down on one knee, and I burst out "are you serious?!?!" and he laughs, says "yeah" and then asks me to marry him, to which I replied "OF COURSE!!!" :)
...And then Jeff says "that was Hedwig, right?"
(It wasn't, haha.)
Jeff took me out for a super cool, romantic dinner down in the dungeon, and afterwards we spent the evening in the spa.
It was the perfect way to end off one of the most fantastic days of my life!
Love you, Jeff!
We spent the next day at the Dalhousie Falconry learning about hawks, buzzards, and owls, meeting the different species of birds the falconry has rescued over the years, and we hung out with Bella and Ginny (the barn owls) and a few other owls as they flew around us and fed from our hands. :)