We got engaged in April of 2009, but the story of the proposal starts in January when Brian took me out to dinner and told me that in three months he was taking me on a two-week vacation, but he would not tell me where we were going until the day we left. Needless to say I was extremely excited and hoping that this would be the trip where he proposed.
Over the next three months, Brian fed me clues here and there and had my friends, family and co-workers taking bets on the destinations. All I knew until the day we left was that we were visitng four major destinations in three countries besides the US, and we would be visiting three continents.
Our first destination was Washington, D.C., where we went on romantic dates and spent many weekends when we were in college. On our first day in DC we woke up and Brian told me we were going for a walk. I quickly realized we were heading towards the tidal basin where my favorite picture of us - floating around in a paddle boat on the tidal basin- was taken. We had flown into Washington on the weekend of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival and the tidal basin is surrounded by hundreds of cherry trees in full bloom. Brian's original (and absolutely perfect) plan to rent a paddle boat was foiled by the strong winds so we walked around the tidal basin for a while to find a nice, quiet place to sit and enjoy the view. Given how many people were attending the Cherry Blossom Festival, this was quite a challenge, but we eventually succeeded.
Soon after we sat down, he pulled out a small black box, opened it and said "I've always been able to get you to do things outside of your comfort zone, like following me around the world on a secret trip, because you trust me so much. Now I'm asking you trust me again, take an even bigger leap of faith and be my wife. Will you marry me?" I was crying before he even had two words out of his mouth and said yes through the tears of joy.
The rest of the trip was full of even more surprises. When we arrived at an Ethiopian (my favorite!) restaurant the night of the engagement, I was shocked to see two of my best friends from college and their husbands who had driven down to DC just to celebrate the engagement with us. The next day we drove to Maryland to see another friend, her husband and her new baby, who I thought I wasn't going to get to see for another year. At this point, I was incredibly touched and amazed Brian had been able to pull this off and we were only on day two of our trip!
That evening we flew to Rome, where Brian and I had traveled back in 1999 on our first romantic getaway. We spent four days stuffing our faces with delicious food, walking across the city and visiting the medeival town of Sienna. Yet another surprise, Brian arranged for us to visit a cousin who lives in Rome.
After four gelato filled days, Brian told me we were going to spend a week in Istanbul where I've been wanting to visit since college. BUT, our flight to Istanbul took us through Budapest, where Brian had arranged for us to spend a day with my cousins. We took a cruise on the Danube, explored Budapest had a gigantic plate of chicken paprikas for dinner.
In Istanbul where we spent a relaxing week visiting the awe inspiring mosques, enjoying beautiful views of the Bosporus from it's many hills and of course more great food. It was truly amazing!