Zahnri and Johan
How We Met
Johan and I met during our first year at Varsity in Stellenbosch when a mutual friend of ours (his best friend) asked me to be his date to a dance. At that time I didn’t think too much of him and crossed paths maybe once or twice afterward.
Two years later we ran into each other on our way to class not knowing that we live no more than 200 meters from one another. We started chatting. Sidewalk chats turned into weekly coffee dates with him and his flatmate at their place and got to know each other a whole lot better over a period of a couple of months. We quickly became very good friends.
After our mid-year exams I needed a lift to the airport and decided to ask Johan. He couldn’t have been more eager to take me. I was quite nervous for the 30-minute drive alone with him to the airport, since we have never actually spent time alone together before and always mingled together in a group. Somehow we ended up chatting for 2 hours straight and only realized we ran out of time as Johan was seeing me off at the departures gate.
For three weeks thereafter we spoke over text each day until my arrival back in Stellenbosch for the new semester. Things kept up for two weeks after my arrival back for the new semester, but both of us were too scared to make a move until I cornered him at a party one night and asked him straight what his intentions were. It quickly became clear that our feelings were mutual.
As they would say, the rest after that was history.
How They Asked
I only had three requirements for what our future engagement might possibly entail:
1. I am a very private person so I didn’t want to be asked in a public place such as a restaurant or the mall.
2. I didn’t want to find my ring at the bottom of a champagne glass.
3. Although I didn’t want my family to be present at the time of him asking, I really wanted to be able to celebrate with them afterward (since we live really far from each other).
We were at a family get together in George for the weekend for my aunts 50th.
Two days before we left on our trip I got an out of the blue text from my cousin asking if she could snap a couple of shots of us on the beach for her art project since she doesn’t know any other couples in the area.
I briefly mentioned it to Johan that evening when he got home. He mumbled something under his breath quite irritated, not being in the mood for having his picture taken once again (I knew quite well that his not too fond of the camera or photoshoots). He asked me what to wear, I gave him some advice and we didn’t speak about it again until the Friday afternoon when he asked me if we could postpone the shoot until the following day because he wasn’t in the mood for it, knowing very well how agitated I would become with his request.
We left for the beach just before 4 pm since my mom got nervous that we might be late for our dinner reservation. (Meanwhile, she was planning a small bubbly celebration at home).
When we got to the beach we walk for what felt like kilometers until we found the right spot with the right lighting. My cousin didn’t give too much direction as to how we should pose and let us move around freely to how we felt comfortable. One thing I noticed during this shoot, was that one was a lot more relaxed and comfortable in front of the camera than the previous two shoots we have been on. I didn’t think too much of it since I thought that he might be more comfortable with the fact that he knows my cousin and it’s not a stranger directing us in front of the camera.
At one point he ran over to the camera bag telling me he wanted to check something on his phone whilst Juané and I were going through the pictures taken. When he came back she said she wanted to take a couple more. We continued posing in front of the camera, me in front of him until he grabbed my hand and turned me around. He was down on one knee and I was stunned.
He arranged the perfect engagement according to my standards. There were no crowds, pictures were taken, we were both dressed decently, we were on a magnificent beach under a railway and we got to celebrate the most exciting day of our lives with our families.