Monday, March 19, 2007

Our Europe Trip - Part VI (the MAIN event)

It’s official! We’re engaged!!!

Today was a day I've waited for all my life, but with special anticipation over the last few months. I asked Jen to marry me and she said YES! :-D

I can’t say that my secret was kept particularly well. Especially since we have already confirmed the following:
• The date (July 29, 2007)
• The time (1:30pm--thanks, mom)
• The place (Lakeside Banquet Center in Navarre, OH—thanks, Colemans)
• Jen tells me there is dress that is white and pretty. I believe her.
• Bridesmaids and Groomsmen and Ushers…oh my!
• The photographer (No, not my dad)
• The guest hotels
• The wedding night hotel (No, not for public disclosure)
• The honeymoon (in Curacao)
• I have a ring (actually, Jen has it)
• And as of this evening, Jen has an engagement ring on her finger!

For those who would appreciate a non-bullet description, this is for you:

We woke up this morning filled with anticipation of this day. Jen knew I was planning to propose, but she didn’t know the details. I enjoyed keeping a least a little bit to myself as she is thoroughly enjoying taunting me by showing everyone around me her “white and pretty” dress.

She was a bit hard to rouse, as she often is after a big day, but I knew she’d get up for this day. We quickly got ready and loaded the car for our five hour trip to Paris. The trip was fairly uneventful, short of a little freak hail and we were grateful to be on the other end of a major accident that closed two of the three lanes in the other direction.

I had planned for my Dad to drive so that I could work on my speech—I am proposing to a writer, after all. But Dad had a headache, so I took the wheel. We arrived in Paris around 5 and Dad and I went to check in while Mom and Jen stayed in the car. I got a slight scare when the front desk said I only had one room at the great rate we found on Priceline. Dad fetched the confirmation from the car and we quickly had both rooms, at an even better price! Kinda nice chance of pace with all the money we’ve had to spend on wedding and house stuff lately.

We got settled into our rooms and I told Jen she could finally put on her dressy clothes. While Jen was getting even more beautiful, my mom was causing a ruckus. Dad and I joked that we would have to tell Jen not to get into the mini-bar because the hotel has an auto bill system where if you pick anything up, you get charged. (Jen likes to touch things). Apparently we should have been more concerned about Mom because she lifted up the entire mini bar, looking for the prices on each item. The hotel must be used to these kinds of things because they were kind enough to take off the 80 Euros worth of charges Mom racked up in less than two minutes.

Our bill back to normal, we headed out toward the Eiffel Tower. Paris in spring time is a bit overrated since it was cold, windy and rainy…with occasional hail. (American Mom, you still wanna go???) Fortunately Jen had a great attitude and just smiled and said she always wanted a picture of Paris in the rain. What a great girl!!

The original plan was to go up to the top of the Eiffel Tower at sunset, but the before-mentioned less-than-great weather situation caused me to change my plans on the spot. The great thing about Paris is that it is Paris, so the next opportunity was just a few yards (sorry, meters) away in the form of a beautiful flower garden with – surprise, surprise - purple flowers. I decided that that would work just fine. Especially with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

I looked at her, she looked at me and I spoke some kind words (sorry, private for now) and got down on my knee (more about that on some future post) and got out the ring. Oh, yeah… I know Jen is the one with the head-injury, but I almost forgot the ring in the States and again this morning. Thanks to Jen and dad for remembering. Sometimes I can be such a nutty professor!

I think you know the next part… she said YES! Yay! I finally landed my dreamgirl.

When I first had the idea of going to Paris, Jen asked if my parents could be there. That turned out the be the best idea of the day since we now have both excellent video and picture coverage of our most important day so far.

Speaking of which… my mom has fallen asleep while we were typing this up. I think that’s my cue to head back to my room – where dad is probably cutting down a forest – and call it a day. And what a day it was!!

Lord, please continue to bless this union as we are preparing for the next big step. Only 131 days to go…


jens mom said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! What a beautifully written narrative...I almost felt I was there. What a wonderful romantic you are, Niels. I am so happy for both of you!

Sara said...

Dear Niels and Jen,
AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. The sigh heard round the world (literally). Lots of love and hugs and happiness from Tianjin, China to Paris, France. So happy you have found each other - at just the right time - in just the right way - for all the right reasons. Jen - time for a "dreams do come true" postscript to your book!
we love you both,
Dan and Sara
Zach, Noah, Mia and Hannah

Hannah said...

Dear Godmother,
Thank you for finding me such a cool godfather. Tell him I like the color pink, chocolates and tickles (just in case he wants to spoil me).
Love your goddaughter,

Jared Coleman said...

Congratulations! I'm so happy for you two!

Trevor and Angie said...

What a beautiful day, which you will all remember for years to come. Congratulations from The Trevors'!!!!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Jen & Niels! Jen - one of my oldest and dearest friends, I can't wait to meet your future husband and give you a great big hug! I'm so very happy for both of you. May God bless you both and may these days of planning bring you great joy.


Jeff said...

Engaged?!? Wow! I never saw this one coming (do I sound convincing?).

Congratulations! I know you two will have many, many, many years of happiness ahead of you.

jesusrocksus said...

I laughed out loud at the Mom in the wet bar detail... and continued grinning ear-to-ear as I read the sweet narrative of a man I've yet to meet speak adoringly about one of the best women on the face of the planet. She IS a treasure and you are both blessed to enjoy each other for a lifetime! (I'm currently looking at Jen's "The Man I'm Praying For" list given to me in the early-mid 90's and looking forward to meeting you, Niels--in a non-scrutinizing way of course, :) because no one has higher standards than Jen! Love, Steph (Your thrilled Matron-of-Honor)

Anonymous said...

Congrats to both of you, still unsure why everybody needs to go to Paris though to pop the question..I'm sure its the place though where many couples start their long married lives together. Good luck to both of you


Andy B

Anonymous said...

Congrats, kids. Proposing in Paris - that's some quality stuff right there. More points for going to a honeymoon in a place that's also a liqueur.
Lemme know when you're swinging by the NY/CT area and we'll sip some of that wonderful stuff.

jennafermi said...

Jen and Niels,
It's amazing to see God answering such long sought after prayers. Can't wait to celebrate with you both!
Jen VV

saron said...

Niels and Jen,
We are so absolutely delighted for you both! God is good. Yabadabadoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That's what Jabin and Tianna say about their "uncle" Niels. Niels, all those discussions about marriage and relationships in the sunny nights of the Yukon will now come in handy. We are thinking about you all the way over here in the Martimes and will have a toast tonight on your behalf. Blessings as you prepare for this special day and a lifetime together.

We miss you,
Sarah, Aron, Jabin and Tianna

vrienduinen said...

Brother Niels -
Your sis over here in Holland, MI is so excited for you! Congrats. Thanks for the wonderful write up. You and Jen might need to co-author a book together in the future!
Jen - welcome to Niels' adopted Vriend family. Claire and David are exited about a new aunt.
Grace and peace,
Deb (and Jon and Claire and David)

Anonymous said...

CONGRATULATIONS!!!! and well done... it's a story that your children will appreciate, too!!! it will inspire many!

and hopefully your happy marriage will be an example and inspiration to many, too. We look forward to getting together when you're back in OH (where the snow is gone... at least for now). :) love, jmv4 (joey, jill, joseph and jenevieve viselli

Carla Barnhill said...

Jen and Niels,

Congratulations! Jen, I know we barely know each other, but when we met, you were at such a low point. It's amazing that less than a year later, you are loved and in love with a guy who sounds fantastic. Jilly bean is right--it's an inspiration! (Hi Geo!)

Anonymous said...

Oh my.....Jen and Niels..... I can't tell you how happy I am for you both!! I miss seeing your faces and that silly little Bailey dog. Lucky you Jen.... Paris>>>> I can't begin to think of a better place or way to begin a life together!!! Come back to GR soon so Beth, Caleb, Maddie, Brutus and I can all say congrats to you in person... Love always, Sandy