So Chris joined me on an epic road trip across Arizona, through New Mexico, and straight into the heart of Texas, all to meet my family. The cliff notes version:
- Chris drove from California, picked me up in AZ. We drove 17 hours to Texas.
- Helped with my cousins phenomenal wedding (Polynesian marrying a Polynesian, ‘nuf said). The entire event was a PARTY! My family fell in love with Chris, and it was mutual.
- After the wedding we make a 5 hour drive over to New Orleans where Chris was going to surprise me with a few fun activities.
So Chris and I were back in his car for a 5 ½ hour drive from Houston to New Orleans late morning on Monday, December 19, 2011. Unfortunately work followed Chris to Texas and so he had several projects which became urgent while we were on vacation. I drove to New Orleans while Chris typed away on his laptop.
|Stopping at Starbucks to use their internet on the way to New Orleans|
|Chris at Chick-fil-A doing yet another batch of uploads for work.|
Because I was the driver we made a few pit stops along the way. A few hours into the trip I returned from inspecting the rest stop to find this little love note on the steering wheel.
|My delicious dinner|
Despite the pit stops, we did eventually make it to New Orleans. We were blessed to be able to stay with a wonderful couple Keyth and Tiffany who lived on the northside of Lake Ponchatrain. They were a warm couple with an adorable daughter. When we got there Monday night we took Keyth and Tiffany out to dinner. They recommend a fantastic place called Zeta and we were not disappointed. Now I’m no expert on grits, but Oh My Goodness!! Let’s just say I’d recommend the place to anyone.
When we got back to Keyth and Tiffany’s Chris fired up the laptop and Tiffany and I chatted for a while. I should probably point out at this point that Chris and I are both pretty sick. I got a bad cold the week before we left on our epic road trip to Houston and well, let’s just say that it was inevitable that Chris would catch whatever I had! So I had been shoving orange juice and cold medicine down Chris’s throat while I was guzzling it myself. We were a pair of sick puppies.
I know that Chris eventually crashed because I found him sacked out on the couch the next morning. But he still had a general air of distracted worry about him. I was pretty sure that he was getting pressure from the attorney he was working with. I could tell something wasn’t right and so I told him I wouldn’t mind hanging out with Tiffany and the little princess for a few hours, if he needed to get more work done. He adamantly turned me down. “We’re here for us. This is our day. No interruptions. No work!” Ok then. We were off to New Orleans.
Mid morning we took the bridge across the lake into New Orleans – super cool. It took us a bit of time, and Chris ended up driving the wrong way down one way streets, not once, not twice, but three times. However, we eventually found our way to the French Quarter where we parked our car and got out to site see on foot.
I was so excited to share New Orleans with Chris. It was where I spent one of my most favorite vacations. In 2005 my sister and I along with her two little children visited New Orleans, and our cousin Natalie and her family, during Mardi Gras. It was a totally unforgettable experience that was so much fun and I was looking forward to sharing a few of my favorite things with Chris.
So here we are, wandering the colorful streets of New Orleans. All you have to do is check out the pictures and you’ll see that by colorful, I’m referring to the buildings, shops, food, and people. Everything is vibrant in New Orleans. And one of my favorite parts of New Orleans, beside the food, is the music. There really are street performs on almost every corner. The jazz and blues music floating through the old rod-iron fronted buildings really does just add to the ambiance. After wandering around Jackson Square we stopped at Café Du Monde for the famous beignets.
While we were sitting there waiting for our beignets and just enjoying the shade and the breeze, I thought that Chris still looked a little distracted and I assumed he was thinking about all the work he still needed to get done. But I figured if he became worried enough, he’d say something and we could cut our site seeing short. He never did say anything, instead he patiently let me take pictures of him and the food – both yummy!
I was having a great time and enjoying every thing about the day, other than the heat which was causing me to melt into an ungraceful mess. We stepped into shops, picked up a few souvenirs, and generally enjoyed just spending time together. Several of our stops during the day included beautiful handcrafted-custom jewelry stores, because I just couldn’t resist the chance to oh-and-ah over the sparkly necklaces, earings, and rings. I have a definite weakness for jewelry of all kinds, but was able to resist purchasing anything new to add to my collection.
|Oh the irony!|
Lunch that afternoon was found at Central Market the home of the Muffuletta (1906). The Muffuletta is a lovely sandwich consists of olive salad, capicola, salami , pepperoni, ham, and provolone on a round Muffuletta loaf of bread. It’s truly delicious and distinctly New Orleans.
Now originally Chris had planned to take me to a Cajun cooking class, but at the last minute the class was cancelled. He also planned to take me to the New Orleans Insectarium because they had a butterfly exhibit and I’m partial to butterflies (the real kind), having recently found an interest in photographing them. After we spent sometime walking off lunch, we made a quick bathroom stop and then headed over to the Insectarium.
Here are several photos from throughout the day...
The Audobon Insectarium shares a building with US Customs, therefore once you walk in the entrance door you are forced to go through metal detectors (just like at the airport) before you can even get to the desk to buy tickets for the museum. I walked blithely through the metal detectors, with only Kleenex in my pockets, and headed towards the ticket counter to grab our tickets. While I was standing at the counter making small talk with the employee behind the desk I was surprised to realize that Chris wasn’t right behind me. I turned around and see that he hasn’t even made it through the metal detectors yet and appeared to be talking with one of the security guards. I figured he was asking the guard about the butterfly exhibit, finding out hours it was open or something. I picked up our tickets and headed to the entrance, and Chris quickly caught up to me.
Now the insectarium was super interesting. I kept wishing that I could have shared it with my nephews because they would have LOVED all the bugs – huge giant ones, ones with horns and wings, bright color ones, and millions of tiny little ones. According to the museum diagram the butterfly exhibit was the last exhibit in the museum so we had to go through everything else to get there, and that was just fine with me.
As I stopped to read the plaques and take pictures through the plexiglass, I did notice that Chris seemed extremely distracted and almost bored. I knew that he had chosen this museum just for me, and he was probably not interested in it at all, but was putting on a good face just to be thoughtful…it’s just the kind of boyfriend he is. Our trek through the museum included a stop in the bug kitchen where they demonstrate how bugs are used in cuisine, and yes we ate a few bugs – not bad.
Eventually we did finally make it into the butterfly exhibit room. Now, the butterfly room has an air seal that you have to pass through to ensure that no butterflies escape. Inside the enclosure is a tropical environment perfectly suited for butterflies. Banks of flowers line the room and run through its center with small oasis of sugar water baths that attract the butterflies. In the back center of the room is a Japanese pagoda that is access via a small bridge over a coy fish pond.
Upon entering I immediately began snapping pictures and temporarily lost track of Chris. After a few minutes I looked up and noticed that he wasn’t around. I wandered towards the pagoda in the middle of the room and found him sitting at a bench on the other side of the bridge. Sitting down next to him I remarked on the amazing butterflies, beautiful flowers, and told him how much I appreciated his patience with me that day as I snapped picture after picture. By this point I figured he was just overly board and ready to get back on the road to Houston, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. I figured I could grab a few more pictures and then I’d have my fill and be ready to go.
I told Chris that he could wait on the bench while I took a few more pictures.
With that Chris reached into his pocket while in one smooth move he dropped to one knee next to me and took my left-hand. I can honestly say, I was in utter and complete shock. My brain went blank. And I just sat there on the bench and the only thought running through my head was, “He’s…He’s….He’s…” I couldn’t form a complete thought.
And then I looked into his eyes.
“Megan I can’t imagine a day in my life without you. I love you so much and would like to ask, Will you marry me?”
In his hand he was holding a small ring box made of wood and in the shape of a heart. The lid swivled to the side and the inside was lined in red fabric. There in the center of the box was the most beautiful sparkly ring I had every seen in my life. I reached in and picked up the ring. Through the tears falling from my eyes I could see the intricate details of the gorgeous ring. While sniffling I laid the ring back in the box.
I heard Chris’s anxious voice my ears saying, “Is that your answer???” Bringing my head up, I smiled through my tears into the eyes of the man that I loved with all my heart. “No, but I’m not going to put on my own engagement ring,” I choked out. He smiled and then took the ring out of the box and slipped it on to the ring finger of the hand he was holding on to.
Needless to say there was some hugging and kissing, and if I remember correctly, several “I love you’s.”
It was a moment I wasn’t expecting in my wildest dreams. It was utterly perfect, not because of the butterflies, and not because of the sparkly gorgeous diamond ring. It was utterly perfect because the man who asked me to marry him was Christopher Marohn. The man whom I loved with all my heart.
Fortunately Chris was in a slightly more coherent state of mind than I was…I was still pretty much shocked down to my toes. Chris says to me, while my eyes are still glued to my ring and tears are still rolling down my cheeks, “We need to get someone to take our picture.” There just happened to be a Japanese tourist on the other side of the bridge who happily captured the most momentous occasion of my life.
We also stopped to have a celebratory dinner at MickyD's in Louisiana...It's how we roll. :)
So on December 20, 2012, Chris asked me to marry him for time and all eternity. And I said yes!