I expected Drew was going to pop the question soon since we went engagement ring shopping together in early November. However, Thanksgiving came and passed, then it was Christmas Eve and Christmas Day and nothing. New Year’s arrived, and I was so sure he was going to ask then. Nothing. I anticipated possibly Valentine’s Day but it was nearly four months ago since we looked at rings, so I gave up on wondering when the heck he was going to ask. Maybe he changed his mind.
It was Thursday, January 30th, 2014. Drew teaches in western Washington, so him arriving in Ellensburg in central Washington on a Thursday never occurred. Surprisingly, he was on my doorstep that day and told me to pack up my things. I was leaving for the weekend. To my excitement, I rushed around frantically packing my things.
We began our official journey the following morning. At this point in time, my knowledge of cities and directions on the Westside was limited, so I was unaware of where he was taking me. It was not until we were on the outskirts of Sequim that I knew where we were. My grandma Paulie lives in Sequim, so I was familiar with the landmarks.
We drove toward the waterfront and I was talking to him from the passenger seat when my eyes widened and my jaw dropped.
“Holy crap! There’s a hot air balloon!” I shouted. I had never seen a hot air balloon before, but I had shared with Drew from time to time that it was something I always wanted to experience. “Wow! That is so amazing!” I could not stop ogling and snapping photos of the magical floating balloon.
Drew had little reaction about the hot air balloon. He appeared to be holding back the joy that was inside him. I grew suspicious, but I did not want to get my hopes up. Within moments we were driving down a road that pointed toward the floating balloon. My heart swelled. This was not happening, but it definitely was happening.
We parked about a hundred feet away from the hot-air balloon. Drew came around to the passenger side, grabbed my hand and guided me to our destination. He was quiet but full of smiles.
Standing inside the basket, Captain Crystal pretended to be giving free rides to anyone who was interested in the balloon. Nervousness began to take over me. As I climbed into the basket, I noticed a man circling us with a fancy camera taking photos. Drew had his tablet hooked to a portable speaker. The theme music to the movie Up was playing. As a couple we enjoy the movie, but we especially love the intro of Ellie and Carl’s love story. We feel that it fits our personalities perfectly.
Tethered to the ground because of air turbulence, the giant balloon held us in midair. Thankfully, we were still able to be a couple hundred feet off the ground and have an incredible view of the Olympic Mountains and the waterfront. Being up that high in the open air, I felt a bit queasy. We could seriously fall out of this giant basket and die, I thought. As I was taking in the view and thinking of how we could easily die, Drew pulled out a pink envelope from his coat pocket. Inside was a postcard I gave Drew a couple years ago. The vintage picture was of floating hot air-balloons and on the back I had written, “I want to see the world with you.” Drew had written at the bottom, “01-31-14. Let’s start today.”
His voice had nervousness in it, but he boldly said, “Alyssa, you are the love of my life, and I want to spend the rest of my life on adventures with you. So I’m wondering if today before February started tomorrow…”
Then, kneeling down on one knee, he asked,
“Will you marry me?”
I did not feel the way I thought I would. Previous to that day, I had thought of countless ways to respond when the time came for him to pop the question. Since I knew the proposal was coming, I never expected to feel awestruck and dumbfounded by his proposal. I felt speechless and overwhelmed yet giddy that he knew my heart’s desire so well and so tenderly loves me. With nervous giggles and tear filled eyes, I nodded my head and softly said yes.
Yes, I would absolutely marry him.
We kissed and then Drew shouted to the hot air balloon crew below, “She said yes!” Happy shouts and whistles came from beneath us.
Afterwards, there were cider and artsy cupcakes for us to celebrate. Captain Crystal felt badly that we were unable to experience a full flight because of the air turbulence. As a result, she promised us a free ride in the summer. Her generosity blew us away. As we waited to receive the photos and the video of the proposal on a disk, I called a few people who are close to me and announced our engagement. Then, we surprised Grandma Paulie at her home. She was the first person for us to share our news with in person. It felt too perfect.
If you have not read about the time Drew and I found “the ring” and you are interested, you can check it out here: Chocolate is Forever