I’m going to skip ahead a little bit in my Turkey tales to the end of our first week in the country.
I had been vacillating for some time about whether or not it was reasonable to spend a handsome sum of money on a balloon ride at sunrise in Cappadocia. I have to admit, it was something I thought about a lot, and really wanted to do. But, I had just spent a lot of money in Italy, and the tour in Turkey cost a pretty penny as well. We had until the day before the ride to commit or not. P talked some sense into me, and reassured me that it was not an irresponsible thing to do. He argued that because I have wanted to do it for such a long time, and because the opportunity was presenting itself, that we should go ahead and do it regardless of the finances. So we signed up.
In retrospect, I assume he pressed the issue because he had a plan.
Typically, I’m the one who is the insomniac worrywart in our relationship. I often lose sleep when I know I have to board any kind of aircraft the next morning. But, surprisingly I was cool as a cucumber and very relaxed the night before. P, on the other hand, was very antsy. He even left our hotel room to stay in the lobby on his computer at bedtime so that he wouldn’t keep me awake.
We woke up very early the next morning (so early that I did not shower – I sought P’s reassurance that my hair didn’t look too unruly, first) and we were on our way. After paying and signing our waivers we drove to an open area with lots of other ballooning companies, watched the balloons fill up with air, and hopped into our basket. P’s nerves continued – but I was on cloud 9.
Our basket held about 10 people very snugly, but we all had the most spectacular views of the valleys and fairy chimneys. The sun rose, casting remarkable shadows in the valleys and causing the most vivid colours to appear on the formations below. It was remarkably beautiful, a view from the sky is an absolute must. Our guide gave us some information about what we were seeing below, but mostly, he allowed us to simply enjoy our experience in peace.
Our ride was about 40 minutes long. We descended and made a safe landing, and as tradition dictates, our balloonist began setting up the champagne ceremony. P, however, wanted to get in a quick photo with the basket first. He quickly passed my camera over to one of our fellow balloon passengers. This triggered a quick succession of cameras directed at us.
“I just have to ask you something, first,” P said.
For the next few minutes, I had a total out of body experience. I saw P get down on one knee and take both of my hands in his. I know that he said some very sweet and personal things to me (none of which I remembered at the time, but all of which he repeated to me verbatim later on that evening), and the he asked me to marry him. Between crying, laughing, and trying to get my astonishment under control, I managed to squeak out a “YES!” and he placed the ring on my finger.
Let’s turn back the clock for a second…
It’s the night before, and P’s nerves now make sense. He wasn’t nervous for the flight (well, if he was, it wasn’t his primary concern), he was nervous about making sure that the proposal went off without a hitch. So, instead of sitting in the lobby and surfing the internet, he spent who knows how long writing out notes to every member of our tour group detailing his plan, and asking everyone to be ready with a camera when he gives the “signal” (which was, it turns out, asking for a photo). Later on, most of the people on our tour sent us photos and gave me those little notes that P had written as keepsakes of our special day. These notes are still my favourite souvenirs from our entire trip.
As if I wasn’t totally out of it already, the second P and I finished embracing, champagne and mimosas were thrust into our hands. We were congratulated and we all toasted to a safe & fun balloon flight and to our future nuptials. We were given a complimentary bottle of champagne, and a miniature hot air balloon as a keepsake of our special day.
I have to take this opportunity to give a shout out to my MoH Blue and my bridesmaid CS for helping P to orchestrate the most beautiful proposal I could have ever hoped for. These two women stayed up into the wee hours of the morning waiting to hear directly from me what they already knew: I was officially engaged. Thank you both for being such sneaky buggers.
Why tell you this now?
It is exactly 365 days before I get married. If you asked me 365 days ago if I thought this was going to be my lived reality, I would have laughed at you, and said no. It’s not that I didn’t want to get married. It’s #177 on my list (but #1 in my heart). It’s not that P didn’t want to get married or that we weren’t ready – at the time of the proposal we had been together for just over 5 years. It’s just that I could have never imagined that such a fairy tale proposal would happen to me.
Sometimes the best things in life are very unexpected.
Until next time, keep wandering (and expect the unexpected),