Sparrow in the Tree Top

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It Was a Very Ottawa Proposal

HEARTEmily Kelly10 Comments

(These are the grainy iPhone moments of our lives ^^^ Above from top:The street corner where it happened; looking towards the corner where Mike and I first decided to go on a date; The lamp posts along the University walk-way; Mike wanted to take a picture of me with my "gypsy scarf-look"; and this is us, December 23, 2013).

I figure if there ever was a publicly acceptable a day to tell a romantic and sappy story, it would be today. Fortunately, since Mike and I got engaged I'm not gonna have to reach too far. It's a nice thing when you've got a lot of love going on in your life, I'm not gonna lie. And planning a wedding together and dreaming about our future plans has really just made this winter the best one I've had yet….

But you know what? The attention after you get engaged can kind of be a bit jarring. And I know that sounds superficial and you're thinking "Girls just love to bask in that attention of the engagement" But I can honestly say, the "soooooo…. how'd he do it conversation" sometimes felt a bit gratuitous and showy. What is that? I have a blog. Clearly I'm not afraid of the attention towards my personal life. But for whatever reason these sorts of encounters made me feel sheepish and self-conscious. Has anyone else ever felt this way?

Either way, I realized I was being silly and for goodness sake - HE PROPOSED. Shout it from the rooftops, why not?!

Where to start?

It was a very Ottawa proposal. That's what we both said afterwards. In fact it was a very Mike and Emily proposal. It started when Mike got home from work two days before Christmas and said "I want to take you to get your Christmas present."

"What do you mean?" I said.

"You know what I mean," he said. And he raised his eyebrows.

And I did. Because we'd been talking about it and planning it forever.

So we went to the jewellery store. It was 5:15. By 6:00 pm we had looked at about 15 rings, decided on one, had it sized and paid for. We were out the door by 6:05.

We make big decisions quickly. It was a really similar experience to when we bought our house; We looked at two and decided on the second one. Kind of almost like when we saw each other and just made the decision (AND EVERYONE WENT: awwwwwww.")

In all seriousness… the excitement in that jewellery store was pretty hard to keep under raps. And I think Mr. Taing, the jeweller could tell we were pretty excited to get the whole ordeal going. Mike kept pacing and I kept smiling like a bit of a fool while people mulled around the store looking for last minute (expensive?) Christmas presents.

When we got in the car I asked him to pass me the GPS and I plugged in the address. I told him not to peek and to just follow the directions.

Half-way to our destination, Mike said "I know where we're going."

And he did because I didn't say anything else and when we got close to our destination, he parked the car in a five minute temporary parking spot outside Demarais Building on the Ottawa U Campus. We met on the 8th floor in Human Security class five years ago this winter. I wasn't even supposed to take that class. It was an elective, and it wasn't even in my program. But a friend heard I was looking to fill up a spot in my winter schedule and she offered up that the teacher was pretty hunky.

"He wears old school turtle-necks and professor-like sweaters with patches on the elbows," she said.

In my head I thought the description sounded Ivy League.

But it turned out to be Mike, this guy who seemed too cool to talk to me, who really got my attention.

It was snowing pretty heavily and the sidewalk hadn't been cleared yet so we walked in front of each other down the street to the corner where we first had made plans to go on a date. And that's where we stood just standing and smiling at each other like crazy people, wondering what the next move would be, even if it was the obvious one.

Mike remembers that I hung around for a long time in the rain talking to him, on that same corner almost five years ago. He says I was wearing my pashmina scarf around my head "like a gypsy." (I was - it was because it was raining and I didn't have an umbrella.)

I remember that he had just added me to Facebook even though no-one was ever able to spell my last name right unless I wrote it out for them to reference. So clearly it must have been love.

During that first exchange, we made plans to go for a run together. My ideal date. Mike agreed to the plans because - but in reality it's the opposite of his ideal date.

To this day we've never gone running together.

On the night he proposed, he told me to put my scarf around my head because that's how he remembered me.

So I did and then he asked me to marry him. I said yes.

And then we went and ate poutine.


So all-in-all, it was a very Ottawa proposal.