I am QUITE late on this blog post, but here it is. And it is a doozy.
Ok, SO, Jean and I had decided that we wanted to get married last year, and last July we first submitted the paperwork to apply for a K1 Fiance visa to the United States. However, even though it is something we had discussed at length, agreed upon, and both want very much, I hadn't formally proposed to her. Most importantly because I hadn't bought a ring.
I guess it was last August or September, we went to a jewelry store one time to look at some rings. While there they measured her size, but that was all we did. In October Jean finally said to me, "We have so many big expenses coming up, with the visa, and the airplane tickets to Harbin and Guangzhou and back to America, and so many other things, you don't need to buy me a ring now. It's not that big a deal, I'm not that kind of girl, you really don't need to worry about it."
So, at that point, I didn't mention it to her again. Of course that wasn't the end of it, just that was the last I talked of it with her. Of course I've to get her a ring.
So at that point I began saving up, and then when I began working some regular part-time hours at Web International English, I was able to save up fairly quickly and then, Friday the 15th, the Friday before we would leave to go to Guangzhou for her visa interview, I went and bought the ring. I bought it at a jewelry store in Huzhou, and Apple, my co-worker at Web, went with me to help me look for a ring (my Chinese is ok, but really technical stuff I can't follow). The biggest problem in looking for a ring was not the price or the quality, the biggest limiting factor was finding one where I liked the style of the ring. Finally I found one that I felt suited her the best and bought it. Now, I couldn't remember exactly what Jean's ring size was, and I could tell that the ring was a little bit too big, but the store told me that we could bring the ring back later and have it re-sized at no charge, so it was not a problem. I figured the romantic element of surprise was more important than having it fit perfectly snugly the first time.
Now, I had bought the ring on Friday night and had it sitting out in my apartment. Since I was working, unusually, at Web that weekend (to make up for lost hours while I would be in Guangzhou), Jean had decided not to come to Huzhou, since we'd really only be able to spend Saturday evening together, and we'd see each other Monday anyway.
However, come Saturday morning, I sent Jean a text message telling her, "I love you and I miss you." and Jean replied saying "me too" and then asked if I wanted her to come to Huzhou that day. I said "Of course I do," and then she replied that she would. After that, however, I remembered that I had the ring sitting out in my apartment and I wouldn't be able to hide it before she saw it, since I was already at Web and wouldn't be able to go back home before Jean arrived. So I called Ellis and told her the situation and asked if she could get the key from the door woman of our building downstairs and hide the ring at her place. She said no problem, and she did, crisis averted, surprise kept. Being the shutterbug she is, Ellis couldn't help but to take some pictures of the ring, and so I'll post them here.
Now as part of my plan I also bought a suit, and Sunday night, the 17th, after working at Web, a few people from Web went with me to help me get a good-looking suit. Also, after buying the suit Sunday night, I told Ellis about it and she snapped a couple of me in my suit as well.
So, Jean's interview was on Wednesday, January 20th in Guangzhou, and our flight to Guangzhou was to leave on the morning of the 19th from Hangzhou. So I had planned to meet Jean in Hangzhou the evening of the 18th. So, I packed the suit (as neatly as I could) into my bookbag, along with any other small things I might need for our trip. Then, Monday the 18th, I headed out to Hangzhou, and planned to meet Jean at Eudora, a nice western restaurant in Hangzhou that she and I frequent.
So once there, I had my bookbag, which was not unusual since I had come from Huzhou just earlier that day, and Jean met me there after she finished work. Once they showed us our table, before I had a chance to sit down or set my bag down, I said I needed to use the restroom. Once there I quickly changed into the suit. It took a bit longer than it should've. Since everything was going according to plan, and since this was a big moment, I was a bit nervous, and buttoning the shirt buttons was trickier than it should've been.
Then I came out, and walked back to our table. Jean saw me in the suit and her jaw dropped, she was completely surprised. Once I got to the table, not giving her a chance to say anything or ask any questions I pulled her seat out a bit to face me, got down on one knee, opened up the ring box, and said, "金嵩， 你愿意嫁给我吗？" (Jin Song, Ni yuan yi jia gei wo ma?)
Now, earlier that day I had actually been going back and forth about whether I should propose in English or in Chinese. English was my native language and so it would've been more natural for me to say it, and her English is excellent... but she is Chinese and so maybe she as a little girl had imagined someone saying it to her in Chinese. I finally decided, "When in Rome..."
It actually worked out great, because I proposed to her in Chinese, and then she said to me, in English, "I do!" I slipped it on her ring finger and it was a little too loose, so she then moved it to the middle finger, where it was still a bit loose, but wasn't falling off. (I then mentioned we could get it fitted later.)
Even though because of our history and our plans I knew that she would say yes, this was still a really special moment for both of us.
Ok, so that covers the first bit of big news. The second: Jean's visa interview in Guangzhou.
Actually that could be a long story unto itself, so I think I discuss it in a separate, but imminent, blog post.