How We Met
Tom and I had met in the summer of 2018 at a Christian conference called Equip. The camp ran for 5 days and was held in a remote part of the Waikato region in New Zealand. We happened to be in the same small group at the camp, and we got the chance to get to know each other through our daily group discussions of God’s Word.
Our first meeting wasn’t like a scene from a chick flick movie at all. When he first joined the group, Tom greeted all the blokes and ignored me, so my first impression of him was that he was a snob. As childish as it was, I reciprocated by not speaking to him much, also. However, things took a drastic turn in the opposite direction, when around the third night of the camp, around 250 campers gathered in the gym for the main talk of the evening. The emcee (our pastor), was doing this thing called Hershey’s Highlights to warm the audience up. He had gathered some nominations from people hours before and was about to mention some noteworthy deeds and reward the doers with Hershey’s chocolate.
To my surprise, I had been nominated (by Tom) but for a reason, I wasn’t entirely proud of, (i.e. for not swimming at the beach for more than 10 years – apparently, I had mentioned this at one of our group conversations). I was so embarrassed, but also perplexed, as he hasn’t even talked to me before this nomination. Later on, I found out that this was his way of breaking the ice between us, and it worked because we quickly got chatting after that. After 3 months of intentionally getting to know each other, we started to officially date! :-)
How They Asked
On the 14th of October in 2018, I received a text message from Tom saying, “Darling, just dive right in, and follow Tom’s lead. :-)”. This was a reference to Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect”, which we got to watch live on one of our first dates together. Because he had been hinting that month that his proposal was going to be soon, I was quick to pick up on the clues. The word “dive” made me feel scared, yet giddy at the same time. The moment I saw him that day, he was grinning from ear to ear, I could sense his excitement when he said we were gonna go on a surprise date.
We got in his car and off we went. We stopped at what seemed to me like a random shop, and Tom got out of the car. He returned with a massive bouquet of flowers. This was not normal behavior, I thought, which heightened my excitement all the more. We had brunch at a quaint little cafe. Tom was starting to seem quite nervous at this point. We went to a beautiful beach and walked around for a bit at a reserve close to it.
He started to make some phone calls and look quite anxious. At around 1 in the afternoon, we drove to a stunning location northwest of Auckland. I saw lots of people in parachutes just above where we were. I finally asked him if we were gonna go sky diving. Tom said yes and asked me if I were willing to do it. Of course, I agreed. It was going to be a new experience, and probably a once-in-a-lifetime one (for me! :P).
We went into the building, suited up and got briefed about safety. I was getting too excited at this point that I zoned out at the briefing (such a mistake!). We got into a small plane along with a group of around 8 to 10 people. I wasn’t scared at all at this point. However, when I saw Tom jump with his guide, from a height of about 13,000 ft and free fell for about 45 seconds before his parachute opened, I was utterly terrified. But soon after him, I followed and jumped with my guide, so there wasn’t much time to take the fear in. I was already out of the plane and tumbling in the air when it all sunk in.
The views of the east and west coasts of New Zealand were absolutely stunning, and the thrill of the dive was something I had never experienced before. As I landed on the ground, Tom was making his way to me. He gave me a hug and told me he loved me so much and that he wanted to be with me forever. He got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Despite the dizzying effects of the jump, I knew that when I said “yes”, it was not due to disorientation, but with a clear mind and a peaceful heart. Looking back at our time together so far, the adventures we had and the memories we shared, and as we deepened our commitment to each other, time did decelerate at times, sparks did fly and my heart pounded from time to time. Without a doubt, I had “fallen” head over heels in love with this man for whom I have so much admiration, respect, and trust.
I asked him why he chose skydiving for his proposal, and he said it was because skydiving for him, was like a metaphor for marriage – because, in a way, marriage is a leap of faith. Lots of things could go wrong, but in our quest for adventure and joy, we still give it a go. It is scary but we know it is worth it.