I usually don’t post very personal stuff on this blog, but I made an exception this time… Yes I’ve got some good news for you today. Yes, it’s been a long time coming, so it’s kind of “olds” instead of “news,” (HAHaha..) but we kind of had to make sure all our nearest and dearest were informed before I announced it here on ATP… Plus, there has been somewhat of a mad rush during the month of May to get everything squared away for both Austin’s and my medical school apps, so that contributed to the delay as well. Sufficient excuse for keeping this from all y’all? Uh can you guess what I’m about to tell you yet?
It’s true, Austin the boyfriend has been Austin the fiance for about one month now! I have been beyond excited that soon I will be ATB instead of ATP, and be able to spend the rest of my life right beside the man I love.
Moving on! For those of you who are interested in the story, keep on reading. :) You all remember when I returned from Ghana on Thursday April 26, and the San Diego Food Blogger Bake Sale on Saturday April 28? Let’s just say that was an awesome weekend, and absolutely the best way to be welcomed back home. Here’s the much abbreviated story of the weekend…
Austin and my dear mom picked me up from the airport on Thursday, after I spend an uncomfortable 15 hours on two different flights, in a very non-stretchy Ghanaian dress. Every passing minute on those airplanes I got more and more anxious to be home, see my family, and snuggle into my honey’s hug. It felt amazing jumping into his arms at the baggage claim.
Pumped full of adrenaline, I felt barely a hint of jet lag, so the first thing I did was come home with them, eat my long-awaited SALAD. Austin and I then proceeded to get two half-gallons of ice cream at Vons, indulge, and then head over to his parents’ house for a welcome home dinner later in the evening. Ghana was and always will be tugging at my heart, but right then it felt so good to be back. It was a low-key, homey affair, but it was exactly what I needed. Little did I expect what was to come later on that weekend!
Friday was spent at Pat&Oscar’s for lunch (GREEK SALAD, WHOOO!), which apparently is changing its name again to O’s… Strange? Yes. Then Austin and I hopped in the car and drove up to Julian, a little country mountain town off Ramona in North San Diego. We were so full of salad, breadsticks, and pizza from lunch, but that didn’t stop us from wine tasting at The Blue Room Winery, sharing a grand chocolate bombe for dessert at the Candied Apple Pasty Company, picking up two pies at Mom’s, choosing licorice (his) and chocolates (mine) at a candy shop, and honey tasting. It was somewhat ridiculous how full we were as we strolled around window browsing! It was an amazing day; I love doing simple things like that with Austin. The evening was spent baking(which we all know is one of my favorite things to do) and packaging maple bacon cookies (recipe post coming up!) and orange chocolate tarts for the San Diego Food Blogger’s Bake Sale, which we participated in the next day.
With $3034, SD Food bloggers exceeded our fundraising goal of $2500 for Share Our Strength, a charity dedicated to eradicating childhood hunger in the U.S.! Way to go, everyone! It was great to meet all the faces behind the blogs and get to know everyone a little better. I was so glad that Austin was there to support me… and take me out for some pad kee mao and Thai iced tea!
After the bake sale, we separated briefly before our special dinner date at The Marine Room in La Jolla. I serendipitously decided to paint my nails for the first time in months and get a haircut! My mom described my coif with the Vietnamese adjective that means “like a witch.” I thought it looked pretty good for having cut it myself in Ghana! I had no idea she was pushing me to trim my locks because of something very special coming up… :)
Austin picked me up, he looked studly, and we drove the scenic coastal-view route to La Jolla Shores in the twilight.
We were about 10 feet from the beach at our table, and started off with a Jameson neat (his) and a Kir Royale (mine). I think that combo is kind of hilarious. Apps were lobster bisque with enoki and a goat cheese brulee, entrees were sear scallops with carrot risotto and pork cheeks with black quinoa, and the desserts were trios of cordillera chocolate pots de creme, ginger gelato, and hibiscus lemon tarts. I put all of those down, because I know y’all would appreciate it, as food-lovin’ folks.
We had sat at our table for more than two hours, talking, savoring our meals, staring at the waves, and staring at each other as couples do after being separated for three long months. Finally, Austin told me that we should be getting to our beach walk, and then home quickly because his mom wanted to share her pie with us. He said we’d probably Redbox a movie and relax for the rest of the night. I sort of thought silently, “A movie, Austin? That’s kind of anti-climactic for such a romantic night,” but I was just so happy to be back with him again, it didn’t matter at all. I was unaware that it was all a decoy!
We continued the evening at La Jolla Shores beach, walking along the sand under a beautifully clear and star-studded night sky. It was a very special spot to us, because La Jolla Shores was the place Austin first asked me out when we were wee little 18-year-olds, recently graduated from high school and living a care-free summer before both heading off to Cal in the fall.
Austin took my hand, and was marching very quickly along the shore. I commented that it wasn’t as enjoyable as meandering leisurely along, and joked that he probably rented a dude dressed up in a Pooh Bear suit that was waiting for us (inside joke, hehe). He insisted it was because his mom wanted us to get back quickly so we could eat pie together. I almost suspected something, but brushed it off…
We got to the specific place on the stretch of beach where Austin and I sat and first talked about dating each other, and where we shared our first kiss. I was facing the ocean, with Austin behind me, holding me in his arms. He told me to look at the stars and close my eyes… Something was definitely getting fishy! Especially when he covered one of my eyes with his hand, and was doing something mysterious with the other!
And then he told me to turn around. I was shocked to see a semi-circle of glowing paper luminaries, and the silhouettes of about fifteen of our family and friends standing behind each one. That first one’s a picture of them surreptitiously hiding from us in a stairwell! They were all there to witness and help celebrate what was about to happen next. At this point, I was definitely already bawling! Austin dropped to one knee and retrieved the ring from a lantern he had decorated with flowers. He asked me to marry him in the sweetest, most romantic words I could imagine, which will always remain a special secret between us, because to everyone else around the words were drowned out by the waves.
Of course, I jumped into his arms with a resounding yes. More bawling, more laughing, more hugging of everyone around. Austin even got our friends to come down from LA to be there, and I was absolutely touched. It was the most special thing to me that they were all there, showering us with their love and support. I have the best fiance in the world.
Amidst uncontrollable laughter from everyone, and a smile on my face that would not let my cheeks rest, we all got into cars and drove to Austin’s parents’ house, where a delicious spread and even more family friends were awaiting us. I was so covered with love, and it was just the happiest day of my life thus far. I was almost too overwhelmed to eat, and that never happens, that’s how excited I was! I just felt so blessed to be surrounded by the people I love, and to be looking forward to a lifetime of marriage with Austin.
A couple of my many “surrogate moms,” and two of our high school friends :)
It was a star-struck evening that I felt flew by just like Cinderella’s night at the ball. Except my prince would drive me home and leave me with a goodnight kiss to dream about as I fell asleep. Forgive me, I’m totally cheeseball-ing it up, but this is a once-in-a-lifetime thing here! I was in absolute joy, and still am a month later.
The next morning, I woke up and stared at my ring finger for about ten straight minutes in bed. Please, I know I’m not the only newly-engaged lady that did this! Then I headed over to Austin’s and from there we met up with our out-of-town friends for brunch in Del Mar at the Pacifica Breeze Cafe. It was a glorious morning, and I am so thankful to have such truly amazing friends. The rest of the day was spent calling our nearest and dearest. I could feel my dad beaming through the phone, because Austin had called and asked his permission beforehand. Some of our favorite reactions were: Austin’s old roommate dropping the phone and emitting audible shouts of joy, and our dear friend from church playing a bassoon for us over the phone. Haha! I told you our friends are awesome :)
For the past month, Austin and I have been at the AMCAS grindstone, prepping everything and researching the perfect medical schools. After submitting the primary application (very soon!), we’ll be able to start legit planning–booking venues and such. I am excited for marriage counseling at our church, and for this special season of heightened learning. I loved the book Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas, and I am looking forward to the challenges as well as the blessings of this upcoming partnership. I know it’s going to be especially difficult for us if medical school works out, what with all the added stress, lack of sleep, and mountains of knowledge to absorb, but no matter what God presents us with, there is no one I’d rather live, grow, and love with than Austin.
P.S. Next up on At The Patisserie, we’re turning back to FOOD! Two upcoming posts–Maple Bacon Cookies and Orange Chocolate Tarts from the San Diego Food Blogger Bake Sale! Also, let me know if there are any readers out there that may like to hear more personal non-food-related posts on here from time to time. I know I said I usually don’t post stuff like that, but I may steer the blog in an additional direction if I can’t resist sharing a few wedding deets here with y’all :)