Raissa and Thibaut

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How We Met

Thibaut and I first met in early January 2020 in Shenzhen, a 12 million people city in the south of China. He is from France and I am from Brazil. After our first date in January, we both traveled abroad for a few weeks between January-March and figured it would be best to talk again once we were both back in Shenzhen. I knew after our first date that there was something special about him. Fast forward to April, we were unexpectedly in the same group of friends to go to the beach for a weekend. We were super-shy around each other during the weekend and once we came back from the beach, we decided to meet again. And since then, I have always felt that the universe aligned for our paths to cross at the perfect time and place.

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After 2 years without seeing our families due to the global pandemic, we decided to take a leap of faith and come to see our loved ones in France and then in the US, where my mom and brother live. There is a lot of uncertainty about leaving China these days and I was very hesitant about whether or not we should. In the end, I realized that no matter what happens, we would be together. We had been talking about marriage for a little while, but meeting other’s families before moving to the next step has always been important to me.

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For 2021 Christmas, we decided to give each other an ‘experience’ gift while traveling. For me it was an easy one: tickets to go watch the Knicks vs Nets at the Madison Square Garden on February 16. I printed fake tickets and gave them to him on December 23, when I got the green light from my boss to go home for a few weeks. To Thibaut, this was the confirmation he needed to start working on the engagement ring to get it on time to bring it with him during our trip. Meanwhile, he kept telling me that he wasn’t sure and was still looking for something fun for us to do. I was just really excited about the trip and doing things that I had been missing, so I didn’t really think too much about it.

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For me, this trip would be about meeting each other’s families and getting to know each other’s world, and upbringings, and digging into old pictures from our childhood. For Thibaut, it would be the perfect opportunity to propose; and it could not have been more perfect. Thibaut is a planner and as one, he had a few different ideas and plans that he kept pulling out of his sleeve. The actual day of the proposal was his 4th plan; previous ones were canceled because of reasons out of our control.

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We arrived in the US on Saturday, February 12, and spent the next few days between my mom’s and brother’s places. On Sunday night, Thibaut told me that he had planned for my ‘Christmas’ gift experience and that we needed to leave at 4 pm on Tuesday, February 15. It had been very cold days so I tried to fish for info and he just told me that the experience would be ‘indoors’. Not thinking much of it, I went along.

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How They Asked

Fast forward to Tuesday, February 15, we got in the car and began driving from NYC towards Whiteplains. It was Thibaut’s first time in NYC and as we were driving further from the city, I figured that he had purchased something from Groupon and could not even try to guess what it would be. The further we drove, the more skeptical I became that it would not be a cool experience. Once we arrived at the heliport, he told me he got us a tour over NYC.

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He always gives the most thoughtful gifts and I was excited to experience NYC from a new perspective with him. While in the helicopter, the communication between the passengers, co-pilot, and pilot is very direct and hard to understand. We had the most beautiful sunset hour and the Snow-White full moon was at its peak, so I was looking out of the window and enjoying the tour.

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I could tell that Thibaut was nervous, but I thought it was because of the altitude–so I took some pictures and videos of the incredible view, hand-painted sunset, and full moon, to make the experience lighter and more fun. We did the helicopter tour and as we were landing, the pilot told us to look outside of the window and there it was: the ‘marry me’ sign. I immediately began to cry and was in shock to know that ‘it was happening’. Once the helicopter landed, we walked outside and closer to the ‘marry me’ sign where Thibaut got down to his knee and I of, course, said oui!

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Once we got back in the car, we were both ecstatic and high on love. We drove back to my brother’s where we celebrated our love. I am a firm believer that everything always happens for a reason and at the right time. All the unforeseen events which forced Thibaut to replan the proposal, the final one being the fourth one, led us to one of the most perfect nights. Thibaut is the most thoughtful person I know. And I am so happy we did it in NYC and could come back to celebrate with family; making what had been so memorable even more special.

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