Saturday, January 21, 2017

This is The Story You've Been Waiting For

For the past few months, people have asked me what is new in my life, and every time they do, I squirm a little. Big things have been going on in my life and they know it, but I can’t talk about it. Everyone can see what’s going on when they see me holding hands with my sweetheart, when they nod as I oh so casually mention that I spent Christmas with my boyfriend’s family instead of my own, yet they know they can’t ask, and so we all smile and nod as I mention that work is busy and the weather is cold. Well, now I can finally talk about it.

On Saturday, January 14, 2017 (our five monthiversary) my Scott asked me to marry him. I immediately said yes and now we are engaged! Hooray!!!!!!!! There are not enough exclamation marks or memes in the world to convey my joy.

Since then Facebook has exploded, and through all the messages and video chats, the phone calls and memes, people keep asking for the same story. I think I told it close to ten times on Saturday alone. I"m getting really good at it, but for the sake of everyone else who's still asking for it, here is the story of our engagement:

Let me just start by introducing my Scott to the blogosphere. Scott, blogosphere, blogosphere, this is Scott.

My Future Husband As Described By Fun Facts:
-he has three older sisters and no brothers, a family dynamic I am fairly familiar with!
-his favourite animal is a raptor riding a dragon.
-he dances like a maniac, to the point he has had to turn on the air conditioning in his car in the winter sometimes.
-he loves me more than dubstep, but that is saying something.
-he finds physics and math to be really fun.
-he is really good at accents and had me in stitches with his Italian mobster impression this week.
-he has introduced me to the joys of Dungeons and Dragons,EDM and Pokemon Go.
-he loves live mixing or DJing and he's very talented.

That's a glimpse of my Scott. And now for the story you've all been waiting for.

It begins with a lot of fake lead ins. I knew Scott was going to propose sometime in January and he knew I knew that, so for the first half of the month he kept getting down on one knee to  tie his shoe lace, or fish something out of his pocket only to come up with nothing. Think Jim from The Office. I couldn't stop laughing, and I promise he only really fooled me once. Maybe twice.

Last Saturday morning Scott and I got up to clean the church. He had told me the night before that he and his friends were going to play basketball afterwards. I was invited, but had every intention of going home to do laundry instead. As we finished cleaning the church, Scott asked me if I had eaten breakfast, and seeing as it was closer to lunchtime suggested that as we were both hungry we go to Chianti's. He then started walking to his car saying he would meet me there, to which I pointed out that Chianti's was about a block and a half away and we wouldn't find parking much closer. I was surprised he'd forgotten this. On our second date we had gone to Chianti's but parked at the church and walked. Despite this, Scott insisted he wanted to park closer and told me specifically: you should take your own car.

My first thought: someone did something to my car.

No one had, but I drove that block and a half anyways. When I arrived (and parked) I saw Scott's best friend Mitch outside.

My thought: Oh Mitch and Joe are here, I guess he's not proposing after all.

I am about to walk into the restaurant when Mitch hands me box of chocolates (Purdy's hedgehogs) and a card. In the card Scott had written some very romantic things which no one else gets to hear and the following: you are in the wrong place. Go to our favourite spot for curry.

Now I knew why he had insisted I drive!

Our favourite spot for curry is an Indian buffet called Daawat. Amazing food and exceptional service if you're looking for a good Indian place. It also happens to be where we went on our second monthiversary and my birthday. A lot of beautiful memories in our relationship have happened at Daawat, and at Chianti's.

Slightly onto Scott's game I jumped into my car and drove to Daawat, the whole time grinning to myself and saying out loud: this is really happening! I raced across the street to Daawat but checked the street first for familiar faces. Sure enough, Scott's other best friend Joe was standing outside with another gift and another card.

The gift this time was a new notebook to write more of our love story in. The card, among other things, said "please go to the park where we had our very very first date."

For our very, very first date Scott took me on a picnic. This was about two and a half years ago, but I still remembered where it was, we'd walked through End of Steel Park countless times while playing Pokemon Go! It was near enough I decided to walk.

Of course I got turned around on the way there. I was walking/running up an alleyway thinking: I am pretty sure I should see the park by now. Where is it? Turns our End of Steel Park was partially closed to set up for the ice sculpture festival they host each winter, but my Scott was still waiting as close to the spot as he could get.

When I caught up to him he gave me a big kiss, right there on the sidewalk. At that precise moment our friends Janine and Lizzie happened to be driving by. They honked and shouted: we saw that! I thought to myself: five minutes later and you would have seen something much more interesting.

Sure enough, five minutes later Scott got down on one knee in the snow. Mitch and Joe had shown up because they wanted a video of the event, and then Scott started to sing. He'd rewritten the lyrics of a Lonely Island song to his own song "I Have a Ring in a Box"! Then he pulled out a ring (in a box) and said:

"Elena (he used my full name but I don't use full names here), will you make me the happiest man in the world and marry me?"

I SAID YES!!! I didn't even really leave a moment's pause after he finished asking, I was so excited.

Afterwards, Scott let me choose: Chianti's or Daawat for lunch!

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

A Homage to HQ

I take a look around the room. It's empty, and looks a lot smaller without my stuff. The wall where my couch used to sit doesn't look long enough. The dining nook could never have held a table and chairs. There is absolutely no way all the shoes and coats and laundry baskets could have ever been in the same hallway. This apartment is no where near big enough to have held the last five and a half years of my life.

Over the Christmas break, in between turkey, chocolate and presents, I moved. This is interesting not only because it adds a new kind of stress to the holidays, but it was the end of an era. With the handing over of keys on January 31st, I effectively ended another chapter in my life. I'm feeling nostalgic still, and now that I'm over the post-cleaning exhaustion, I'm letting my nostalgia run free over the page.

The old apartment, or HQ, as my friends used to call it, was the home I came to as an early twenty-something fresh out of school and ready to start my career. I was brand new to Edmonton and together with a recently discovered friend we went apartment hunting. We chose HQ because of the hardwood floors and in suite laundry. I stayed despite the fact it backs onto a noisy alleyway and it turns into a sauna in summertime.  Through a revolving door of roommates and dramatic changes in my own life, HQ was home.

I look around the empty apartment and memories come flooding back, good and bad. I came into this room carrying a box of personal effects and sat down to cry the day I got laid off of work. This is where I grieved my grandmother's death, a dozen broken hearts, and even more petty frustrations. Those are the tougher memories, the ones I'd rather forget, though they have made me who I am.

It was also here that I invited a girl named Brooke over for a sleepover. We'd gradually been becoming friends and that night instead of watching movies or playing games we stayed up until 3 talking about everything (except boys, surprisingly). That was four years ago. Since then Brooke and I have discovered we are the same person, should be best friends, became roommates/adopted sisters, and I'll soon be the maid of honour at her wedding. It's strange to think that before I lived here she wasn't in my life.

Brooke wasn't even the only friend I made in my years at HQ. This place has been the birthplace of many bosom friendships: Kyla - my Diana friend (yes that is an Anne of Green Gables reference), Bean - who lived at the Northern Division (her apartment was a few blocks north of HQ), Meggy - who along with my cousin/roommate Mika was a founding member of my writing group, and several others. Because of them life in my HQ years became so rich.

The shenanigans that ensued. The beginning of Cafe Chi; my writing group, which is still going strong four years later. The group Halloween costumes starting with Clue, carrying on to the awesome Disney villain collaborative, X-Men and steampunking. The murder mystery parties; usually written by Mika with themes like Greek gods, fairytale characters, and Batman villains/sidekicks. Packing up my dress up trunk in this move was an involved process, and I loved it.

The Pi(e) Day parties, the tea parties (in period costume, obviously), the writing parties with or without a lot of writing accomplished, the dates and date rehashings; both the good, the bad and the hilarious. The impromptu sleepovers with countless friends. On move out day, we had four spare keys to collect from various friends. This wasn't just the end of an era for me or my long line of roommates. When Bean came to return her key she took a look around the place to say good bye. She also brought pie, so I think you can all tell at least one reason why we're so close!

I sit and look around this empty room, trying to take it all in before this place becomes no more than a memory to me. There's an extra reason I am feeling so nostalgic, and he's sitting right next to me. He holds my hand and patiently waits for the landlord to show up so we can finish the inspection and go for lunch, and he's feeling nearly as nostalgic as I am.

Two years ago, Brooke and I invited a bunch of friends over one summer evening, including a boy named Scott, whom we had just met. A month or so after that, in this very room, he asked me out for the first time.

He sits with me and we point out places in the spotless room. Sitting on the couch was where we first agreed we were dating. Down the hallway is where we had our first kiss. That same couch was where we both said I love you for the first time, and countless other precious moments, maybe for another story, another time. This little place, with its narrow hallway, south facing windows and crazy neighbours was the setting where my love story unfolded.

I entered this place as a scared little graduate, desperately excited to see what life in Edmonton would hold for her. I leave it as late twenties professional, hand in hand with my Scott and still desperately excited. I cannot wait to see what memories my next home will see.