Caitlin and Andrew
How We Met
It was 8am on a Saturday morning when my two sisters thought it would be an appropriate time to coax me into taking them to brunch. I tried to refuse.. even tried to bribe them.. yet they were so intent on going to this café we had never heard of before in search of the infamous acai bowl which according to Instagram, was incredible. My first distinct memory of that day was sitting down at the table inside this industrial look cafe, being greeted instantly by an incredibly keen waiter (some might say too keen), and hearing my youngest sister ask me “Did you really leave the house looking like that?”. Obviously such uplifting words left me feeling full of confidence and poise that I proceeded to engage in conversation with this keen bean and proceeded to order based on his recommendations of course. This particular waiter cracked a few jokes here and there (for some reason, he was always there). Some jokes sparked real laughter, some sparked sympathy giggles and some even warranted the dirty looks my sister was giving this hovering stranger.. But nonetheless, the breakfast was satisfying and we all proceeded to thank the waiter for his food, hospitality and humour (okay – maybe I only thanked him). Shortly after, in true 21st Century male form, I received a “friend request” via social media from a guy who looked strikingly similar to our waiter.. I thought it was strange, maybe even a little weird that he found me. I was full of questions – how? Did he look at my licence? Did he steal my wallet? Did my sisters reveal our last name? or Is he just really good at this guessing game? Continuing to question just how he was this talented to find and add me so quickly, I let the request stew for a few hours (maybe 12 to 16, maybe 24) and timed my acceptance so that he wouldn’t be able to instantly message me (sometimes – you just need a few hours to prepare and over exaggerate how this interaction will go!). As the days went on we began chatting and discussing different aspects of our life, you know, like our names etc. Turns out that not only was Andrew the owner of the café we visited (which got me thinking – maybe we all should’ve been nicer to this successful entrepreneur?), he also had no idea how to spell my name, meaning he began approaching strangers in his café for assistance with spelling. Nonetheless, fast forward three days (a lifetime in social media hours) and we were ready for our first date – a surprise to me of course. Given that Andrew’s strong suit in life is spilling secrets, he cracked under the pressure and revealed we were going to “Indu” on Valentine’s day for lunch (yep – spending valentine’s day with a stranger who was my waiter 72 hours before, and going to a restaurant which is located in an alleyway in the city – totally safe). Being Australian, the prospect of spices and foreign flavours gave me the sweats and a slight anxiety attack (and I hadn’t even tried the food yet). I spent the next few hours scrutinising every single inch of the menu to make sure I could walk in, eat some food, and not have to leave in a hurry and in search of milk or an additional meal. I somehow convinced myself that I could do it (even though nobody else shared the same opinion). Andrew and I spent a beautiful 2 hours at Indu on my supposed 1 hour lunch break from work (shhh!) which is where we learnt a lot about each other, a lot about what we want out of life and a lot about the type of food we can tolerate (watermelon salad for the win!). One would say that the date was successful, I even considered talking to him afterwards, you know – within the 5 minutes since the date had ended when he had messaged me asking how I thought it went…. (he stewed for a few more hours, but only 4 this time). Fast forward 7 months and Andrew was down on one knee (with the help of my proposal co) promising me that he will be “indu” me for this rest of his life…
how they asked
It was a gloomy, Friday morning (Friday the 15th to be exact – but it’s okay, there isn’t too much bad luck in this story) with only the prospect of it being the weekend in 10 short hours lifting me from my slumber. Andrew had left for what I thought was work as normal at about 5:30am. I decided to get up, get ready for work and brace myself for the Friday ahead. As I opened my bedroom door, lay a huge bunch of flowers with a card “open me” – and it read “I thought you deserved a day to unwind & chill, but don’t get too comfortable, its going to be a thrill. I know how much you love a latte, so here’s the way you’ll start your day. I have organised breakfast with a little gem, to be sure not to miss out, be them by 8:30am”. I did what any normal person would do in this situation (no, I didn’t put it on Instagram gushing next to the flowers), I immediately called every person I knew to find out what was going on.
All my family members, Andrew and even work “friends” avoided my call, I received a confirmation text that I was not meant to be in the office today (unluckily I wasn’t fired, I still had to return on Monday – there’s the bad luck!) and that was all. Nervously, I decided to follow my instructions and I made my way to the café, unsure who I was even looking out for. Naturally, in true female form, I was late, and I don’t mean a nice fashionable 5 minutes, I was at least 30 minutes past my arrival time – but I guess the geniuses who concocted this whole scheme should’ve accounted for my irresponsibility – right? When I arrived at the café, I was greeted by Andrew’s sister (who is not overly talented in keeping a straight face). We continued to have breakfast with a side of probing questions – yet she managed (to this day, I still don’t know how) to not give away too much detail. Once we were done, the waiter handed me Clue #2 and I had people filming on their phones whilst I opened it (#celebritygoals).
The clue read, “I hope you enjoyed your relaxing morning, but time is running out, this is your warning. Your next surprise is a massage at TEN, I will try my best to see you then.” Trying to meet these deadlines was ridiculous, but the massage was definitely not! (AMAZING!). After my massage, I was handed clue #3 “Sorry I did not make it there to meet you, but Caitlin here is your next clue. For the next appointment, you’ll want to be clean, after all, I want nothing less for my queen. Go home & shower, it is there you’ll find your next clue and flower”. (To be perfectly honest, by this stage I should’ve been angry right? I mean the guy was baiting me and just never turning up – quite the opposite to when we first met, I couldn’t get him away from our table!) At home was waiting another rose with my next clue, along with a note to pack an overnight bag and leave it by the door (I guess we now have people who collect our things for us?!). “Now you’ve made it home & are nice & clean, I would like to thank you for not creating a scene. Thank you for going along with my plan, please keep playing for as long as you can.
Your next appointment is for your hair, please be on time, don’t give me a scare”. Since he asked so politely for me to arrive in a timely manner (he even went out of his way to request how my hair should be done – so masculine, Andy!), I decided to throw a spanner in the works – maybe I’ll turn up early? Maybe I’ll catch everyone who has been planning this? Alas, I saw nobody, no little elves planning the day, no additional clues, nothing… (will probably never turn up early for anything ever again). Once my hair was done, a sense of excitement mixed with confusion mixed with a hint of uncertainty came over the hairdresser as she slyly passed me clue #4: “Now that your hair is done and out of the way, it is time for your second last clue of the day. Make your way over to the next place, it is time for a bit of pampering for the face. You’re nearly there done give in, ending the game now would just be a sin”. Okay, I now thought to myself – this isn’t Jumanji – if I didn’t continue, “playing the game”, what would honestly come after me? But you know what, it wasn’t worth the risk, I will just get my face done, maybe then I can take a photo for Insta with my flowers? I got to MAC (this boy has some taste!) and the ladies doing my makeup played their part so well.
Asking all the right questions which of course they already had answers. What are you wearing? Where are you going? What’s the occasion? (All I could think was – Woman, please! I have no answers for you; do my face per your instruction!!) It was now time for clue #5 “Sorry to drag you around the south-west, but for you Caitlin I wanted to provide only the best. Thank you for going along with the flow, There’s one last gift so off home you go.” I know what you are all thinking – NOW! Now is the time Andy would be at home, down on one knee with the placed decked out with romance? BUT nope. I just walked back into a dark, empty home with one slight difference, I now had a gift box with a new outfit (obviously it was chosen by my sisters), some new shoes (again, no credit to Andy here) and some snacks (I guess snacks are better than a boy – right? YES!!). On top of the gift was, you guessed it, another card which read “SURPRISE” saying “Presents are exciting, but your timeline is tight, I need to see you before the day becomes night. At 4:40 look outside your ride will be here, You’re on your way to me, no need to fear”. Fear? Fear? For all I know, this hasn’t been Andy all along. I haven’t seen him, heard his voice, caught a glimpse of him – all I could match was the handwriting of my sister to the clues so I knew I was semi-safe, but then again, who knows what will turn up at 4:40 pm? Anxiously I watch the clock as it ticks past each second, I think I was more excited to see what 4:40 brought than I thought I would be. Finally, a driver pulls up in an immaculate car, opens up the door and I am handed my final envelope for the day – “You’re in the car and its time to rest, from the moment I met you I knew I was blessed. Sit back & let the driver take you for a ride, don’t be nervous, just take it in your stride.
You’ll be seeing me soon and the hunt will be done, I hope you’re happy & I hope you’ve had fun.” I guess you could say the mystery had been fun, but at this point, I just wanted certainty it was Andy and not my sisters playing a joke on me – they’d do that, siblings are cruel but girl siblings are worse! My driver did a few laps of the city, pretending to be lost, making me look out for signs on the side of the road as an indication as to where he was meant to stop, all a decoy as he was apparently too early (second time I was early that day – it had to end special now that I’d accomplished so much, right?)… We finally arrived at Observatory Hill, where a sign was waiting and a candlelit path I had to follow. Walking down had to be the most nerve wrecking walk I’ve experienced to date (I was like a baby calf trying to make it across the dirt) but as I came around the corner, Andrew was waiting under a tree lit up with fairy lights and a candles scattered all over the grass, the words “Marry Me” was spelt out in big light up letters.
I met him next to the sign, he took a moment and collected his thoughts, he got down on one knee and popped the question. Obviously – I said YES! The moment couldn’t have been more perfect (let’s ignore the tourists photographing us like we were reality stars). There was nothing he missed, and not a detail out of places, he never got caught and I never suspected this destination at all. A photographer captured every moment & our photos will be cherished forever. Family surprised me jumping out after I had said yes, & I couldn’t have pictured a more perfect moment to share with those that mean the most to us. Andrew had dinner planned at Aria Restaurant & we spent the night at the Shangri La. The following day brunch had already been organised with both our immediate families to celebrate. There hasn’t been a day where Andrew has made me feel any less special then I did on this amazing day. He truly is one of kind & to say I am blessed is an understatement.