how we met
On December 7th, 2013, Dean was at a birthday party with Daniella, my best friend and partner in crime. Daniella and I had plans to go to a friend’s Christmas party later that evening. Dean graciously offered to give her a ride into DC and pick me up on the way. The entire way there, I tried to convince Dean to stay for the party. Serendipitously, there was a parking spot a block away and he decided to stay. In true “Dean” fashion, he spent some time googling me at the party and reciting facts to me. Lucky for him, I found this quite hilarious and charming. So charming that I even let him drive me home. After we dropped Daniella back off at home, the two of us had such a good conversation that he even contemplated “getting lost” to spend more time with me. We got to know each other slowly over the next couple of months while talking online at work. We finally started hanging out after he promised to make me shrimp and grits one weekend, and the rest is history.
how they asked
Unbeknownst to me, Dean’s father gave him his grandmother’s ring before he moved up to DC in 2012 just in case he met someone special. When the time came, Dean took the ring to a jeweler (who happened to be the brother of classmates from Virginia Tech) to reset the center stone into a ring that seemed more fitting. He chose the classic three stone setting since he loved the idea of two individual stones coming together to meet a larger one. Dean also decided he wanted to propose at a place that meant a lot to me. Conveniently, we had planned on a trip to Taipei, Taiwan for late October to visit my extended family. As we prepared for the trip, I had no idea what was about to happen. And again, unbeknownst to me (a theme in our relationship), he had the ring on a chain around his neck the entire 14 hour flight about 2 inches from my face. Dean had decided to propose on 11/1 because he also liked the idea of two ones becoming something more. It just so happened that 1/11 was the date that he first made me his delicious shrimp and grits as well. Unfortunately, he had little insight regarding the itinerary, but it just so happened that we would be hiking on 11/1… with her mother. Dean debated pushing the pace to lose her or to accept her as a photographer.
He went with the latter, but when we reached the peak of the hike and Dean suggested to “play a game of cribbage,” she wouldn’t stop talking about bananas. Finally, Dean handed me a deck of cards and asked me to shuffle. Well, this was no ordinary deck of cards. It was printed with a picture of the ring, wine cork from their first date, and had “Em, will you marry me?” on it, which I did not notice since I grabbed it upside down. Dean had cut an inset out of 42 of the cards and glued them together to make a box. He kept two sets of five cards (10-Ace of diamonds and hearts!) for the top and bottom to represent their anniversary 2/5/14. When I tried to shuffle, I noticed it was stuck. I slipped open the box and saw the ring and the wine cork from our first date!
The tears came down and Dean got on one knee and asked me to marry him to which I replied, “Yes!” All while my mother asked what was going on and why I was crying… Meanwhile, Dean had a friend sneak into our home and place a bottle of champagne with the two jokers from the deck in the fridge. When we got home, Dean asked me to check the fridge for food. I found the champagne was personalized with an acrostic poem Dean wrote, where the first letter of each line spelled out TAIWAN E & D. I cried (again!) and we popped the champagne to celebrate! Phew. That was long and full of symbolism, but it wouldn’t be a Dean proposal if it weren’t intricate and symbolic!