Shawn and May's Out of This World Proposal
How We Met
I met May when I was 8 and she was 6. My family used to babysit her. We grew up apart, but when she heard I was cycling across Canada she reconnected with me on Facebook. I spent every night of my 6500km journey on the side of the highway alone and with my cell. I would update her every night, and as I biked across, my trip became about getting to know her. We have now been dating for 6 years!
how they asked
When I initially proposed, it was in 2014 Barcelona, Spain. We went skydiving in the morning, and I rented a yacht for the night. Turns out the “yacht” was a letdown because of where they parked us… Next to a dumpster and a casino. Not really romantic. I panicked that I wouldn’t be able to propose.
We ended up bailing and just wandered the beach, ate amazing food, and smoked hookah until 2 am. I spent most of the night trying to hide the ring box in my pocket.
I proposed on quiet beach on the Mediterranean with a full moon above us and slow calm waves hitting the shore. I was standing behind her holding her. Watching the ocean sparkle with the moon light. She whispered to me, “This is so perfect.” That was my cue!
I got down on one knee and opened the ring box, and she was speechless. By definition this was perfect…
However, I used a prototype ring. A complete replica. I spent the whole year saving up for the real ring and planning how to make giving it to her in a unique way, so….
how they asked again
I came up with this plan to send the ring up to the edge of space. My sister was the only person who knew I was going to do this. She actually helped me study for my Radio license exam! I told May I had a business meeting on the Sunday before the launch. In reality, I was taking a three-hour exam. I passed it with honors, which gives me special privileges to use the Very High and Ultra High frequencies.
When it came to launch day, the most important moment of all, my planning and studying came to a halt, and it was go time. I mounted the real ring and turned on my flight computer, GoPro, and GPS. My father, who was left in the dark about this, only knew about 30 minutes before launch. I told him my plan, and he light up like a kid. He never questioned it, just said, “Let’s do this, May’s going to love it!”
We sat in his car and waited in a large field south of Calgary, Alberta, waiting there until the sun came up just enough so I knew I could capture it rising with the ring. I loaded the balloon with my helium and it took flight. Slowly rising, first the balloon pulled up. I let out the line, 20 feet of string went by, then the parachute pulled higher, and another 15 ft went by.
Holding onto the frame, I remember that I was a little lightheaded.. the reality of it not being found was on my mind. I took a deep breath and confirmed we were good for launch… The ring was tugging at sky like it wanted to so badly just fly away. I gave it a push and let out my breath. It flew to 300 ft within seconds. My father and I spent the day following the balloon from the ground with my GPS app on my phone.
No one really knows this, but when a GPS unit reaches 30000ft-ish it turns off. The military doesn’t want us to be able to create guided missiles.. makes sense. For 2 hours Mays ring went dark. I couldn’t communicate with it. This was part of my plan, I expected this. When the next ping came to my phone I don’t think I can truly describe how I felt knowing it made it up to the stratosphere. The parachute deployed and wasn’t tangled from the waste of the balloon, and it was coming down fast. My father and I chased it down, and we were only minutes behind it.
It landed in a farmer’s field… About 10 feet from a pond. If it had landed in the pond, it would have killed my flight computer and memory card inside the GoPro. The GPS only last for 30 minutes if under water. When I loaded the memory stick onto my computer, the thumbnails started to load… First the ones on the ground, then over a few minutes (64gb of HD footage) the thumbnails gave the story. The footage was way way better then I hoped for. You can actually see the sun turn from yellow to white as May’s ring climbed higher. The next day, when we stopped at our storage locker to “grab something,” she saw the locker full of our items. I pulled the car forward and stopped. “I forgot something,” I told her. I asked her to put on a blind fold and join me in our locker I had told her I had a surprise. I closed the locker door behind us. I asked her to take off the blindfold…
What she saw was 30 Mason jars wrapped in colored tissue paper with glitter glue painted on them. Each jar full of the liquid that’s inside of glows sticks. Each jar bright, glowing like a star placed about the locker. I rented the storage locker next to mine as a base of operations. I even wrapped the inside of the locker with black fabric to completely black it out, so the jars would be super bright. She had no idea that she was in this mystery locker. Almost like a foreign world, with glowing jars everywhere.
In the center of the room I made her a wooden chest, and inside were her anniversary gifts. She thought that was all of it. Then I showed her a hidden drawer… When she slid it out, she saw our laptop. We stood there in the pitch black locker surrounded by glowing jars, and we watched the ring take flight in the video.
At first she didn’t understand what she was looking at… It took her about 30 seconds, and then she looked at me. “Is that my ring?” she asked with a smile. I mounted it to our kitchen spatula, and over the next few minutes she saw it rise, and rise, and rise until the whole crest of the earth was in the shot.
I got on one knee for the second time, opened the black leather ring box. The LED inside the box turned on and lit up her diamonds. She said yes for the second time!
Mission successfully accomplished! The prototype ring she wore for a year was worn, the silver paint rubbed off over the year and was an ugly orange where it rubbed her other fingers. It was a few sizes to big, it never sat right on her hand. She never complained, since she knew I was trying to save up. Her new ring never leaves her finger, unless she is making Kimchi! Knowing the diamonds are created in the depths of the earth and then sent up to 110,000 ft makes the ring feel enchanted and truly unique.