How We Met
I met Bianca right after I graduated Ballard High School and what ensued was a 14-year long relationship that resulted in the proposal below.
how they asked
I toiled for a long time in regards to exactly how I’d propose. All I knew was that it had to be a complete surprise, but more importantly, I wanted to do something truly unique. I felt that I needed to do it in a fashion that incorporated who we are now as a couple, as much as who we were when we first started dating 14 years ago. Above all else, I really wanted to create something that would last.
Having been born and raised in Seattle, I’ve always been drawn to and enamored by the Pike Place Market. The smells, the history, the character and the characters that it draws into its folds daily – making it a constantly changing organism, all the while maintaining a distinct familiarity. The market is in essence, the heart of Seattle. It’s always called to me, so much so, I would often skip my 4th-period class at Ballard High just to drive down to Pike Place to grab a freshly squeezed juice, a hum bao, and my usual fist full of honey sticks. I’d relish my bounty while soaking in the melodies, taking in the views of the mountains, Elliot Bay and then race back just before the 5th period started. I always felt like I had a mini reprieve to a far-off land none of my peers could truly appreciate, or relate to, after their lunch at Taco Bell.
I met Bianca right after I graduated Ballard High School and the market was one of the first places we went after Kerry Park. We would walk around soaking everything in, eating a daily dozen, honey sticks, drinking a local color latte and I would muse about how awesome the tiles with the names of the donors were on the floor. I told her that if the market ever did something like that again, I would be the first in line! Well, 13 years later and now working in the market at Cafe Champagne, I heard of the planned expansion and the fundraising drive by the Pike Place Market Foundation in the form of personalized Market Charms.
For the past three decades, the Pike Place Market Foundation has offered social services and housing for those in our community who are the most vulnerable – low-income seniors, the disabled and homeless. Knowing that the Market Charms would directly support these initiatives, made things even sweeter.
I immediately bought 2, without even asking Bianca. One with a family credo, one with an homage to us, containing sweet sayings only we knew about. When I told her, she was elated, who wouldn’t be! To have a little piece of us in one of our favorite places in the city, and the world, all while giving back, epitomized a win-win. We marked on the calendar a date in early July when the expansion was set to be completed and looked forward to making a night of seeing our charms for the first time.
Fast forward 9 months or so and I’m pouring over ideas and scenarios for a unique and long overdue proposal, when I receive an email from the Market Foundation about a last call of sorts, in regards to amending any market charm inscriptions before they go into production. It hits me. She already knows we have the two charms coming, what if I bought a third with the proposal on it! My only caveat was, I wouldn’t do it if somebody else already had. I was hell-bent on proposing in a truly one unique way. When I learned that no one had proposed via a charm, the rest felt downhill. I had the Market and all of its enchantment, nostalgia, the view of Elliot Bay, the element of surprise, coupled with the timelessness of the charm itself! With all of that on my side, it felt beyond perfect. I figured the only thing left was setting the special charm apart. So I took the liberty of painting it red one evening when no one was around so it would stand out.
The proposal went off without a hitch. It happened extremely fast, however, because, in her excitement, Bianca raced to where I told her our charms were located, so I had little time for waxing poetic. The weather was perfect, the photographers were in place, the moment she recognized the red charm, I wrestled the ring out of my pocket and dropped to my knee. I expected tears but was rather met with astonishment. That look of sheer and unadulterated surprise in that setting is something I’ll cherish forever.
Words were difficult to come by, tender embrace and kisses were not. After a few pictures I told her I had a dinner planned for us but before we could go, the sweet ladies I worked with at Cafe Champagne wanted to see the ring. Another twist on the truth, as when we arrived I had rented out the back room and with her fathers, and the help of my coworkers and her family, we had it decorated and set up for a reception we’ll never forget. When we pulled back the curtain partition for her to see her entire family gathered, the tears and the champagne started flowing, as well as an inescapable sense of relief and joy.
Simply put – in life and love, you get out what you put in and I’m a firm believer luck is merely when preparation meets opportunity. The Market allowed me an opportunity and all I did was a little preparation. Now cliches aside, I’m the luckiest man in town.