Category Archives: Dreams

On a Rock, In a Bay, On an Island, In Jamaica: The Perfect Proposal

When I was in college there was this show, I think it was on TLC, called The Perfect Proposal. The premise of the show was helping someone, usually a man, plan an elaborate marriage proposal for the person he loved. Sure, it was a little over the top, but it was fun to watch. There were hot air balloons and sky writers, surprise visits from far away family members, and I even recall a marching band or two. But beyond all of the cute animals and spa days and bespoke productions, beyond the scenic locations and giant diamond rings, there was always this moment. This moment of fear and hope, of expectation. In that beautiful, vulnerable moment, one person asked a question full of hope and promises, a question that imagined a future and nervously took the first steps toward it. And then the next moment when another person joyfully said yes to a life full of unknowns, to both the sorrow and happiness of all the years to come. That moment is the magic of life. It’s terrifying and brilliant to have so much wrapped up into one tiny, humongous question and an even tinier, momentous answer to that question. It was that moment that would be the sweetest, most wonderful memory I would take from Jamaica.

I’ll be honest, the morning before the proposal I was kind of pouting. I suspected and hoped that Brandon was going to propose sometime during the trip because, really, how could there be a better place to propose than Jamaica? But we were nearing the end of our weeklong trip and it had not happened. So, like I said, I may have spent portions of Thursday pouting and pretending not to. However, like an adult I reminded myself that I was in a gorgeous place having a fantastic time with my favorite person. I was not going to let the lack of a piece of jewelry take away from that. We had a fun day snorkeling, relaxing at our hotel, and swimming in the pool. We had decided that we would go out that night for a fancy dinner at Ivan’s, which was just down the road from our hotel. We got dressed up, which meant that Brandon actually put on pants instead of the shorts he had been wearing the rest of the week. He suggested that before going to dinner we stop by the bar and get a couple drinks and then find a spot to watch the sunset. He did not exactly have to twist my arm.

There was this little cabana right on the edge of the cliff that was just the spot. We sat and I sipped my drink, choosing to simply enjoy the moment. I did notice that Brandon seemed a little nervous and distracted. Despite this, we soaked in the moment and savored the beauty and the company. We took a few pictures and then right at sunset (6:15 on Thursday September 14 to be exact), he suggested we get up and take some pictures together. He maneuvered us to the edge of the cabana and then dropped down on one knee. He had something in his hand, but I could only look at his face as he asked “Will you be my Mrs. Hart?” I could not speak. I could not even say yes, so I just nodded my head and leaned over to kiss him. I eventually looked at the ring. He had even found a ring box that was shaped like a shell. After a few blissful moments of cherishing the newness of being engaged, of privately celebrating suddenly being more than boyfriend and girlfriend, Brandon set off to find a random person to come take pictures. We recreated the sweet moments of our engagement for the patient man behind the camera.

I feel like this accurately captures how we look at each other in real life – I look (and was probably being) bossy and Brandon just looks like he wants to kiss me.

It was sincere. It was joyful. It was perfect.

That evening, we had a celebratory dinner at Ivan’s.

Yes, there was champagne

The restaurant is known for their jerk chicken pasta – a unique and quite delicious take on the classic dish

The food may have been delicious, but even more amazing was sharing my first meal with my fiancé.

This man. I love him beyond words and cannot imagine someone loving me better than he does. This sunset proposal in Jamaica will be a memory I will treasure for the rest of my life. On the days when life is hard or when love is hard, I will recall the love that came easily and the happy tears shed in one of life’s perfect moments and remind myself of the all the many reasons I said yes to the unknowns of forever.

And, if you are wondering, I spent the rest of our vacation telling every.single.person. who we met that we had just gotten engaged.

Travel Dreams: Summer 2014

I have frequently discussed dreams and goals on the blog recently, mostly related to moving to Oregon. I am incredibly grateful to see that dream becoming a reality. As much as I am enjoying the process, even the packing part (I have gotten rid of so much stuff!), it has come at the temporary expense of another important part of my life – travel. And that is okay. Sometimes one area of your life takes precedence over another. That does not mean I have not been thinking about travel, however. If I cannot actually go somewhere, the next best thing is planning to go somewhere. So, today I am thinking, and thus writing, about the top places “on my list.” In no particular order, they are:

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1. Peru: If you have been reading my blog at all, you know this is one of the next big trips I would love to experience. In fact, I have a tentative date set for the fall of 2015. Of course, that will partly depend on finances and available time off, both of which I will have a better sense of once I begin my new job (in Oregon!!). Because this will likely be my first solo trip outside of the US, I plan to join a small group tour such as those offered by G Adventures and Wilderness Travel.  I am so excited to see how this particular trip comes together over the next few months.

Louvre

Eiffel Tower

2. France: And by France, I mostly mean Paris, although I would also love to spend some time in Provence. This may seem like an odd choice as a place to travel alone. Paris is, after all, the city of love. However, I cannot help but get excited about perusing the Louvre and the Musée d’Orsay at my leisure, which is inevitably longer than anyone else I would travel with could possibly enjoy. I think about having a quiet picnic next to the Seine or in one of Paris’s many parks. I dream about strolling the streets of Paris or sitting in a cafe alternately reading a book and people watching. All of that sounds pretty amazing to me with no travel partner needed.

Cruise ship

3. Caribbean Cruise: This dream gets at my current desire to have a low stress, beachy vacation. Cruising is great when you do not feel like doing much planning and between a trip to Peru and a trip to France, I might be a bit tired of planning (if that’s even possible). Considering that this could be another solo trip, I will probably look at cruises with Norwegian or Royal Caribbean, both of whom offer cabins for singles on certain ships. Norwegian even has a lounge solely for people booked in single cabins. I have cruised in Alaska and the Mediterranean, but not the Caribbean, so this sounds like the perfect balance of relaxation, fun, and something new.

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4. China: Sometimes travel is about taking advantage of opportunities. In this case, two of my best friends are currently living in China. It only makes sense for me to make a trip there sometime in the near future. Although I will hopefully get to see some of the iconic sites of China, like the Great Wall and the Forbidden City, I will also have the less typical experience of seeing firsthand what it’s like to live in China as I spend time with my friends. It is also the perfect opportunity to make not-funny-at-the-time memories. Given my propensity for getting lost, China seems like quite a likely place for that to happen. I promise to share the details.

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5. Arkansas: Obviously, Arkansas is “home,” so there is nothing particularly new or adventurous about going there. But that’s where my family is and with the move to Oregon, I am sure that many future trips will be to this place. And I am more than okay with that. A chance to see the people I love and the beauty of “The Natural State” is a hard to beat combination.

These are just a few of the travel goals I have floating around in my head at the moment, although I feel like this list is always changing. Who knows when each of these trips will actually happen, but it never hurts to consider the possibilities! What about you – any particular travel plans or dreams?