Janille and Sourena

Janille and Sourena at Christmas

How We Met

Sourena and I met in January 2014, in what I believe is the most romantic, felicitous and Fateful way. I was in the second semester of my Master’s in English degree at the University of Toronto, and Sourena was working on his Undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and Psychology. Our paths, therefore, were never meant to cross – I’m a literature lover, with my head constantly in the clouds, and he is much more logical and scientific, so needless to say, we never had any classes together or any mutual friends.

It was complete chance (Or was it Fate?), then, when I decided to head to the café at one of the most beautiful buildings at UofT, Hart House, after my Thursday evening Medieval Literature class. The café was packed, but all I needed was a place to sit and finish up some readings before heading home. I debated going home and reading there, but I knew my brother and parents might bug me, so I thought it best to finish my reading on campus.

I looked around at the long tables – not a single one was completely free, but most of the people had their heads buried in books, so I figured I could sit in an empty seat and no one would notice. I made my way to a table in the middle of the room, and saw a guy reading a textbook, an empty chair opposite him. “Hi!” I said to this guy, making him look up from his book. “Do you mind if I sit across from you?” For whatever reason, I was in a great mood that day, so I must’ve had a huge smile on my face because the guy seemed excited for me to sit down. About 5 minutes into my reading, I glanced up and noticed that he was staring at me. I smiled politely and then continued with my reading – I could feel his eyes on me though, so I nervously played with my hair and looked up as subtly as I could. In my quick assessment, I noticed how cute he was (He had really nice arms, which is something that I’m superficial enough to admit I really liked! haha) and briefly thought how nice it would be for him to start a conversation. Another 5 minutes went by and I was beginning to give up hope, especially after a female friend (who I desperately hoped wasn’t his girlfriend) stopped by our table and asked if he was ready to head to the gym. I’d met enough guys in random places before to know how this story would end – I’d be able to tell my friends that I met a super good-looking guy in a café…and we exchanged about four words. Just great!

He must’ve been thinking the same thing though, because within moments of his friend leaving our table (he later told me that he shooed her away as fast as he could), he worked up the courage to ask me what book I was reading. We started a conversation about Medieval Literature and then, seemingly out of nowhere, he asked for my phone number. I was stunned but ecstatic, and I of course gave it to him. He texted me on the spot so I would have his number too…and the very next day, we arranged to have our first date.

Obviously, that random guy I had never seen before in my life was none other than Sourena, my future boyfriend and fiancé. He later told me that the smile on my face and the way I asked him to sit down with such enthusiasm was what drew him to me and gave him a feeling he had never felt before. I had felt it too – I knew from the moment I sat down that it was the start of something special!

how they asked

On May 7, 2016, Sourena made me the happiest woman in the world and asked me to marry him. Despite some minor hiccups – such as one of his coworkers congratulating us in March without realizing we weren’t engaged yet – Sourena pulled off the proposal like a pro, and I can truly say that I have never been more surprised by anything in my whole life! Sourena had me so convinced that we were waiting until the Fall to get engaged – he even explained away his coworker’s blunder by booking us a hotel room in the city and saying that was the surprise he was congratulating us on. He thought of absolutely everything…and here’s how he did it…

Sourena knew how desperately I wanted to be engaged, how I wanted a beautiful ring to commemorate our relationship and our commitment, something to proclaim our love to the world. He also knows how completely obsessed I am with schedules and calendars, and so he had his work cut out for him planning a proposal that I wouldn’t see coming. He needed to get my parents and brother involved, and about 2 months ago, he sat down with all three of them (when I was upstairs showering, no less!) to ask their permission and enlist their assistance. He had my mom construct an elaborate story about having a meeting downtown that my dad had to drive her to so that the three of them could start working on my ring – he knew he needed to have it custom made so that it would be exactly what I’d always dreamed of, so the three of them went to the jewelry store and set the process in motion. We then had the run-in with his coworker, who nearly blew the whole thing, so Sourena decided to book a hotel room for us in Toronto for the night of May 7th. This gave him a firmer idea of how the proposal would go – it would happen in Toronto and the obvious place for him to do it was the café at Hart House where we first met.

The week before our hotel stay, which was allegedly meant to celebrate Sourena’s completion of his last full year of school, Sourena told me that we needed to meet one of his friends on the University of Toronto campus so that he could sell her a textbook. I thought nothing of it, and I actually thought it might be sweet to walk around the campus together since we hadn’t been in awhile.

We began our walk through downtown Toronto to the university, and somewhere along the way, weddings and marriage came up. We started talking about where we might want to get married, whether or not we’d want to send a Save the Date, etc. I was a little frustrated though because I didn’t see why we should be talking about all this when we weren’t yet engaged (even though we seem to talk about weddings constantly), so I jokingly said to him, “Stop! I refuse to talk about this now – I don’t have a ring on this finger!” He just laughed at me, which makes sense in hindsight – he had my ring with him the entire time!

Once we got to the outside of Hart House, Sourena led me inside and we stood in the hall right outside the café where we met. He pretended to search in his bag for his phone, to text his friend, and I looked around. I then noticed that he was pulling a book out of his bag – it was a copy of my favourite Victorian novel Jane Eyre, and I immediately thought that he had bought me another copy (I have about 10) as a surprise. I saw that he wasn’t getting up though – he was still firmly down on one knee. He opened the book and I read an inscription inside: “Reader, Will you marry him?” This line mirrors the first line of the last chapter of Jane Eyre (“Reader, I married him.”), and nestled inside the pages was a gorgeous emerald, rose gold ring. I have my own literary/lifestyle blog where I write book reviews and lifestyle posts, and the alias I use on the blog is The Girl with a Green Heart. Sourena knew how significant the colour green was to me, and how attached I am to emeralds and rose gold, so he had the ring made to suit my personality exactly.

Reader, Wil You Marry Him

I was in shock though, so I had an entirely inappropriate reaction to the love of my life down on one knee. “No!” I shouted at him. “You are a liar! That ring isn’t even real! This is a sick joke to play!” Sourena immediately got up and showed me the ring, putting it on my finger, and he started to explain everything to me, telling me how much he loved me and how excited he was to surprise me. After a few minutes of looking at such a sparkling ring, I started to believe him…and I of course said Yes!

We’re planning a Christmas wedding in Winter 2017 – because of course, a girl with a green heart should be surrounded by green Christmas trees on her wedding day!

Janille and Sourena
Engaged Janille