How We Met
Chris and I met during our freshman year of high school working on a group project together. Before that project, we had never really interacted, and we were very much opposites: I was very hyper and outgoing while he preferred to fly under the radar and not attract any attention whatsoever. My friends and I were very much nerdy and dorky, while his friends were brooding and lamenting their high school existence. Needless to say, it was definitely not love at first sight for either of us.
When we were working on our group project, I kept asking him who he liked to an annoying to a degree, and he didn’t really budge. I quickly realized that I knew a lot about most people in our freshmen class (a class of about 35 other freshmen), but I didn’t know much about him. Chris quickly became a man of mystery and intrigue, and I was into it. By the end of the school year, I had developed an unreasonably huge crush on Chris…but he wasn’t interested…yet.
About two years, a few different love interests, and many AIM and MySpace conversations later, we finally started dating during our junior year. As we got to know each other and grow, we always talked about the future and what we thought it would entail: college, moving in, marriage, etc. The only thing we agreed on was that marriage would happen after college because of how young we were.
So we went to community college together, and then we transferred to university and got our bachelor’s degrees, and then he started a business while I worked on getting my master’s degree…then he started studying computer programming…and after 11 years of dating (yes, ELEVEN), I realized we weren’t 16 anymore, and I wanted us to take the next step.
As my frustration started growing, little did I know that he had been planning something for us.
How They Asked
In December 2018, Chris and I decided to take our first international trip together. We originally planned a trip to Paris, Rome, Venice, and Florence (which was awesome!), but he ended up surprising me by changing our trip to include stops only in Germany, Venice, and Rome. Chris, who is really great at surprises, knew that visiting my friend, Delia, was important to me because I had promised her back in 2006 that I would visit her someday, and now that it was 2018 and we were planning this trip, he made it happen for me! I was so excited I cried, and Delia FaceTimed me to try and plan out things that we could do together.
Flash forward to our time in Munich. Chris and I spent the first night with Delia and Timo at a Christmas Market where we tried gluhwein and gerbrante mandeln. Delia and Timo told us they had planned out the next two days so that we could spend time outside of the city. They planned for us to visit Neushwanstein Castle (the castle that Disney used to draw out Sleeping Beauty’s castle – romantic!) and then we would drive to Austria where Delia’s family has a cabin where we would stay for the night. At first, I thought the plan seemed a little strange, but I thought it was also exciting either way so I didn’t think much about it.
After touring the castle, Timo suggested we take a small hike to get a scenic view of the castle from a distance. Delia said it was a beautiful view and that we would both love it, so I agreed not realizing that Chris was planning to propose!
After we got out of the gift shop, Timo and Delia asked an employee about the entrance of the hiking trail only to find out that it was closed because of the snow. I told them that it wasn’t a big deal (because I obviously didn’t know what was going on), but Chris, as nervous as he was, felt panicky because his plan was shot. Timo and Delia reassured him not to worry because everything would work out…and his trust in them would pay off.
The next day, we all got up, and Delia told me that we were going to go on a sleigh ride followed by a hike to a beautiful restaurant in the hills, and then we would ride sleds back down and go back to the cabin. It sounded like the perfect winter day.
As we waited outside of the cabin, we all heard literal jingle bells coming around the corner where a beautiful, horse-drawn sleigh emerged in full Christmas effect. It was straight out of a fairytale. Oh, and the sleigh driver? His name was Hans. Could it have been any more perfect?!
Hans drove us around the small town telling us about his horses, his family’s farm in Hinterthal, and showing us beautiful parts of the small village that we were visiting. Every moment of the sleigh ride took us further away from city life and further into fairytale life: pine trees covered in snow, churches covered in icicles, miles of mountains perfect for skiing, and light snow falling on us as we breathed in the Christmas air and took in the holiday spirit. As we passed a few people walking in the snow, they would smile and wave at us as if we’ve lived their our whole lives. It was perfection.
Before I knew it, Hans stopped driving and told us to climb out of the sleigh so that we could see the water curtain of Maria Alm.
Water curtain? I thought. According to Timo and Delia, it wasn’t quite a waterfall, and it wasn’t quite frozen, and the water curtain was unique to the area.
Chris and I thought it sounded intriguing, so we went along with it, and walked a little ways from the sleigh to see this water curtain…but I felt skeptical. As we got closer, the water curtain was lovely. As freezing as it was outside, water was still dripping down, leaving icicles in its wake, and a shallow pool of water underneath it. It was beautiful and the location secluded from other tourists and people in general…the kind of place perfect for a proposal. I tried not to get my hopes up, but the day had been going so perfect that it was hard NOT to get excited.
I noticed that Timo had stopped to chat with Hans, and he was trying to quickly catch up to us. Meanwhile, Delia suggested that Chris and I take a picture together in front of the waterfall, to which I suspiciously agreed.
I felt my heart racing as Chris and I walked to the water curtain. We both took a moment to look at it together, and it was both a beautiful and agonizing moment. We looked at each other, and I smiled at him.
Chris looked at me, and I couldn’t read his expression. I can’t imagine how nervous he was as he tried to nonchalantly take something out of his pocket. Then he looked at me and said, “Are you ready?”
HEART DEFINITELY POUNDING NOW. I tried to play it cool, but I felt my smile growing bigger and cheesier by the second.
I hesitated, “…Ready for what?” Then, he handed me a small, white box, and I couldn’t play it cool anymore. “What is this? WHAT IS HAPPENING?”
He smiled at me. And before I could open the box, Chris quickly took it back from me. We were both so nervous, I don’t think neither of us really knew what we were doing, so we started laughing. I brought my hand to my face, something I do when I’m hella nervous, and I just kept smiling at him.
Before I knew it, he started to go down on one knee. And very true to the goofy nature of our relationship, he almost slipped right into the water curtain because he was wearing the wrong type of shoes (and I had been giving him a hard time in the morning before we left for not packing the right shoes!). I grabbed onto his arm, and he opened the box to reveal the most beautiful emerald ring I have ever seen.
Then Chris asked me the question that I had been waiting eleven years and eleven months — to the day — to hear:
“Will you marry me?”
And of all the things I imagined myself saying during this most important moment of our relationship, nothing prepared me for what came out of my mouth.
I squeezed his arm tighter, leaned in close to his face, looked deeply into his green eyes, and mumbled, “Are you serious? Is all of this real? Am I imagining this?”
He nervously laughed a little, and said, “No, I’m obviously joking. OF COURSE, IT’S REAL!” Then we both laughed. I kissed him again and again and again in the snow, hanging by the moment as long as possible.
Then I finally looked at him again, still holding him, face to face, wearing the cheesiest smile of my whole life (and trust me, he’s seen some pretty terrible cheesy smiles on my face), and I finally whispered as excitedly and lovingly as I could muster, “Yes! Yes, I’ll marry you, Chris Conner.”
He then slid the ring onto my finger, and I got to hold my fiance for the first time completely forgetting that Delia and Timo (and Hans) were all nearby watching this unfold.
Delia and Timo congratulated us, gave us hugs, and undoubtedly, took some of the best pictures that Chris and I have taken during our relationship, which we are both still thankful for. As we walked back to Hans and the sleigh, we noticed he was standing there waiting to congratulate us with shots and gummy bears.
The rest of the ride left me in shock, and all I could do was smile and stare at Chris in disbelief that this had all transpired in what felt like a whirlwind of minor seconds.
Later on in the evening, we explored the village nearby, bought Chris some proper snowshoes, and hiked up a steep mountainside that was lit with lamp posts. The hike was long and arduous for Chris and me, but to see the snow-covered mountains at night and the stars in the sky, it was hard to be distracted by the cold and altitude. Everything about this place that we were in was magical.
To keep the celebration going, we to a beautiful cabin where we had a wonderful dinner celebrating our engagement with our friends. The cabin was secluded because the only way up to it was to hike, and we didn’t encounter other people along the way. Once we got up there to this beautiful, snow-covered cabin, we celebrated with a warm meal, drinks, and expressing our gratitude for a beautiful day and a wonderful trip together. And to end the night, the only way back down the mountain was to ride sleds back to the beginning!
Delia and Timo navigated quickly and easily, while Chris and I endured a learning curve. I crashed into piles of snow numerous times, and he would stop to help me crawl out. To end the night, we drove back to Delia’s family’s cabin, and made snow angels under a pine tree outside, and had a snowball fight.
Looking back on this day, it was full of beautiful moments that we will cherish for the rest of our lives. Moments that encompassed love, friendship, the holiday spirit, and anticipation for the unknown. Chris and I will always be able to look back on this day as one moment in our relationship where we decided to get married, but more importantly, we can always look back on this moment as a day where love grew stronger as we embarked on the next big chapter in our lives.