how they asked: I am a high school teacher. In the spring of 2014, I had coordinated a week-long trip to France with a small group of close friends, a group of my students and their parents, and Jimmy (my boyfriend of six years).
Jimmy and I each have three children from our previous marriages. About three months before we were scheduled to depart for France, Jimmy learned that his middle child’s First Holy Communion would be taking place at our home church on the last day of our trip. Our faith is very important to us and, after discussing it at length, we agreed that it was more important for Jimmy to be there for his son since the Communion service could not be rescheduled (several children were involved).
Although we were very disappointed that we couldn’t travel together, we decided to transfer Jimmy’s non-refundable ticket to my oldest son as a surprise early birthday gift.
What I didn’t know is that, about a month and a half after discovering he couldn’t go with us, Jimmy decided to arrange the surprise of my life and devise a plan to meet up with me once our group arrived in Paris the first day of the trip!
He did some research and managed to find a professional acoustic guitarist living in Paris who he hired to come to the “love lock bridge” overlooking the Seine and the Notre Dame Cathedral. Jimmy had also secretly arranged with my friends (who were traveling with me) to get me to that specific spot at a designated time in order to “stumble upon” the guitarist playing my favorite song (“Blackbird” by the Beatles), so that my attention would be upon the guitarist and so that I wouldn’t notice Jimmy walking to meet me from the other side of the bridge.
So, there I was, standing on the bridge, taking in the beautiful scenery and listening to this amazing guitarist. The night couldn’t get more perfect (or, so I thought!) My friend and her husband insisted on taking a picture to capture the moment. As my friend and I were posing for a picture next to the performing guitarist, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a man stoop down in front of the guitarist.
I assumed he was bending down to drop a few coins in his guitar case in acknowledgment of his musical ability. However, the guy seemed to linger too long for that and, for a split second, I was annoyed that this stranger was in the way of the nice picture my friend and I were trying to take!
After a few moments, I finally looked down at this “stranger” to determine exactly what he was doing, only to discover that it was Jimmy! He had sneaked up beside me and was down on one knee! Once I glanced at him and realized who it was, I jumped back in surprise and shock! (Hence, the blurry picture my friend’s husband captured!)
After a moment, once the blood rushed back to my brain and I could take it all in, Jimmy proposed and the guitarist whipped some champagne and glasses from his bag so we could have a toast.
After the proposal, Jimmy told me he had made arrangements to join me in France for the week after all, and that he had scheduled a return flight one day early so that he could also participate in his son’s First Communion. We had a magical week traveling around the French countryside, celebrating our engagement. It was the trip – and proposal – of a lifetime!