How We Met
David and I met in July of 2015 on a camping trip on the Big Island. I was home visiting for the summer, and an old friend of mine had invited me to spend a weekend with her and her boyfriend’s family for their annual camping trip at Spencer Beach Park. I would later find out that her boyfriend and David were stepbrothers. Needless to say, David and I were like magnets drawn to each other, even though we didn’t intend to be. We ended up spending the entire 3 days at Mau’umae and Spencer Beach getting to know one another, and instantly felt a connection that later turned into what it is today…unconditional love.
How They Asked
It was New Year’s Eve morning, and David had asked me if I would go on a “living room date” with him later that evening. I laughed and said, “Ummm, okay. I guess I can’t think of a better or safer way to end this utterly surreal and insane year that is 2020!” When I asked him what he had in mind for this “fancy” date of his, he said it was a surprise and not to worry about it. All I had to do was relax, pamper myself for the day in whatever way I saw fit, and get dolled up if I wanted to. “Nothing too fancy, but enough to where you feel like we’re going out on a real date.” He instructed me. I had almost forgotten what it was like to get dressed up for a date since we hadn’t gone out on one since before the pandemic began. I asked him what he thought I should wear, and he said one of my rompers. I figured okay, perfect. Those are usually my go-to date night outfits anyway.
At first, I felt silly getting ready to go on a date in our cozy little apartment, but as the day progressed, I started to become more excited to see what he had planned. On strict orders, I was not allowed to leave the bedroom until he got back from the store & finished preparing and setting everything up. So as I finished getting ready and sang along to The Greatest Showman soundtrack, I sat on our bed and started to play with our dog Hachi to kill some time until David got back. I then heard my phone vibrate, and saw it was a text message from one of my sisters.
I had spoken to Breea earlier in the day and mentioned what our New Year’s Eve plans were. Her text read, “What if David wants to do a fancy living room dinner cause he’s gonna propose.” Even though we’ve been together for a little over 5 years, I thought to myself, Ha! Yeah right. There’s no way. I’m what you would call a hopeless romantic, and had always talked about how I dreamed of a romantic destination proposal, and a living room proposal would have been the total opposite of that. So there’s no way David would go about it like that. Right? But as the minutes ticked by and I read my sister’s text over and over again, my mind kicked into overdrive and I slowly started to spiral as pure nervousness overcame my thoughts and body. Is tonight really what this was? Was this really happening? So in true dramalani fashion, I began to hyperventilate.
As David walked into the bedroom to change his clothes, he could instantly tell something was up. I’ve always been one to wear my heart on my sleeve, so attempting to play it cool and keep a straight poker face has never been a strong suit of mine. When I told David what was going on, I made him promise to me that what my sister was suggesting was crazy and that wasn’t what the plans were for tonight. He chuckled, hugged me, and said to calm down and chill out, assuring me I had nothing to worry about because that’s not what was going on. Now, David isn’t the best liars. Actually, he’s quite horrible! Which is just another quality I love about him. So needless to say, deep down, I knew he was lying. But my ridiculous nervousness buried those thoughts quickly, and I convinced myself to believe him.
As he walked back out to finish setting the last few things up, my breathing slowly came back down to a more normal pace, as I continued to tell myself, “See? There’s no reason for you to be freaking out for. This is just going to be a nice little dinner to end an insane freaking year, and start a new one.” A few minutes later, David bellowed for me to hide in the bathroom and close my eyes. I smiled and did as I was told. “Are they closed?” he asked me, as I heard him slowly turn the doorknob. “Yes!” I then felt him put his hands over my eyes and as he instructed me to keep them closed, he slowly walked me out of the room. “Okay, you can open them.”
I opened my eyes and saw a wonderful spread on the dining room table. Three different types of sushi, edamame, tempura, and Japanese style salad with Nijiya’s ‘ono sesame seed dressing. Then I looked up and saw a handwritten sign taped to David’s ulu drawing he made while getting his bachelor’s degree in engineering. “Sansei” it read. “Wait…” I said, smiling as I turned around to face him. “Our first date?” I asked as he pulled out my chair for me. “Yup! Care for a drink?” I looked down at the table to see he had mixed together with the infamous long island iced tea from that very night! I really couldn’t help but giggle like a giddy little school girl, as memories from our first date 5 years ago flashed through my mind.
I was living back home on Big Island at the time, with David living back and forth between Oahu and Guam for work. He had booked a hotel room at the Hilton Waikoloa Village for the weekend. He took us out to Sansei, a fancy seafood restaurant and sushi bar. I had first date jitters so just my luck, after our waiter had just delivered our drinks, my clumsy ass dropped my long island iced tea for the whole restaurant to witness. It was like one of those scenes out of a movie where someone drops something and it shatters on the floor, then the whole room goes silent and stares. Even though it couldn’t have been more than a few seconds, I was utterly mortified, and I’m pretty sure my face was as bright as a cherry tomato. But as I looked over at David and he just smiled and laughed and grabbed a napkin to help me dry off what had spilled on me, I instantly felt better and laughed along with him, even though I was still hella shame.
“After we’re pau with dinner, our suite will be waiting for us,” David told me, pointing towards our bedroom and instantly yanking me back to the present. I turned around to see another sign on the door that read: “Ocean Suite, Rm. 308”. The same hotel room we stayed in after our date at Sansei’s, and where I was greeted with a beautiful bouquet of flowers & a card asking me if I would be his girlfriend. I laughed again and kissed him, saying I loved it. As we started to eat, we began to reminisce together about how far we’ve come since that weekend so many years ago.
After our delicious dinner, he told me there was one more surprise waiting for me in the bedroom. So as I went to change into my pajamas and get comfy for the night, I was greeted with a gorgeous bouquet of pink roses, along with a blank metallic grey card. “I love them, babe! They’re so pretty! Thank you!” I yelled out. David knows how much my sentimental side adores flowers, but especially cards. I have a special box I keep with all of the cards, heartfelt letters, and notes I’ve collected from family, friends, and students over the years. I cherish each and everyone, especially those I no longer have in my life, like my dad and grandpa.
As I walked into the living room, card in hand, I sat down on our couch and looked up at David as he finished washing up the dinner dishes. “So, are you going to open it, babe?” “Um, yeah,” I responded. “Okay.” He said. He then instantly stopped what he was doing, grabbed his truck keys, and proceeded to walk outside without saying another word. Uhhh…okay. That was weird, I thought to myself, while slowly opening the card.
“There’s a lot going on for us right now, but here’s what I know…We have each other. We love each other. And no matter what, we’ll be okay.” I said, reading the front of the card out loud to myself. “You’re the best thing that ever happened to me. And remember, I love you-very much.” I continued, as I read the inside message. That’s so sweet, I thought. But he didn’t write anything himself or even sign his name, what the heck? But as I flipped the flap open, I then noticed a hidden message waiting for me in the back. Shaking, I started to tear up as I read the next words…
I was waiting for the perfect moment, but then I realized that perfect is you and I. Alanna, will you be mine, now, and for all time? Yes/No ❤️, David
As if on cue, he came back into the house and all I could say was, “For real?” as I started to cry. Walking toward me, he got down on one knee, grabbed my hand, and starting to tear up himself said, “Yes, for real. I know this isn’t what you had envisioned and how I had initially planned to do this. But I didn’t want to wait any longer, because I want to spend the rest of my life with you. So Alanna, will you marry me and be my wife?” He then opened up the ring box he had been holding to reveal a stunning solitaire Oval Diamond ring. Grabbing the card, I wrote the date, time, and my answer.
12.31.20 7:35 pm It’s always been yes.
I then handed it to him and repeated what I wrote. “It’s always been yes David.” He smiled, grabbed the pen, and circled yes with several exclamation points. After he placed my beautiful engagement ring on my finger, we both cried, laughed, hugged, and kissed each other. The next hour was spent telling me how David had the ring hiding in his truck since March. So I had been driving around with it for almost a year and had no clue! His original plan was to propose to me in June when we were supposed to go to Italy. He was going to propose at a castle in Florence, but due to COVID and the pandemic, that plan quickly fell through and left him unable to complete my dream destination proposal.
Although Italy definitely would have been amazing, I truly couldn’t have asked for a better proposal. It was thoughtful, sentimental, intimate, romantic, and very us. The following day, we drove out toward the North Shore and hiked to a secluded and breathtaking spot at Kualoa Ranch where neither of us had been before. There, we took pictures and looked forward to what new adventures this next chapter in our lives held in store for us.