Travel

2016 Santorini Day 2: 9th Anniversary | Surprise Proposal

November 30, 2016

Continue on with Part II of Day 2 in Santorini.

7th July 2016
– Day 2 in Santorini
– Our 9th year anniversary
– The day I got engaged

When I told people it was a surprise proposal, no one believes me. The first thing they say to me was “Didn’t you see it coming?” or “Oh, it’s so obvious”. To that, I don’t know how I was supposed to answer.

Yes, (prior to this trip) I knew all along that he will be proposing to me soon (most likely before the end of 2016) because our house is coming next year and we’ll need to register our marriage by then in order to collect our keys. #asamatteroffact

We have been together for nine years. NINE. I think I mentioned it before – My parents dated for seven years before they got married. And when I was young, I always thought seven years was a very long time and I never once thought that I will be dating someone for more than seven years before tieing the knot.

But somehow, I (we) did. It happened.

We didn’t get engaged or married earlier not because we didn’t think he / she is the one. It just that we didn’t see the rush. The past nine years has been a roller coaster ride. I started working after graduating from polytechnic (switched a number of jobs in-between). He went for his national service (for two years) after graduating from polytechnic (*squeeze in a major heart operation in-between) > spent three years getting his degree > we spent a good whole year doing flea market > he started working full-time in an agency / start-up > took additional night courses / diploma > started his own business.

A lot had happened in the past nine years. If the Boyfriend didn’t suggest applying for a flat back in 2014, I think we may not even be here today (engaged, getting married next year, etc).

So do I see a proposal coming? Yes, I know a proposal will be coming soon.

Do I know when he’ll be proposing? Base on my understanding of him, I knew he will pick a significant date for the proposal. Coming into July, the only significant dates to us is either our 9th anniversary (7th July) or my birthday (9th November).

Do I know that he had already bought a ring? No. I didn’t know when he bought it, what brand it was, what is the price range, etc, prior to the proposal. I don’t think he dropped me any direct hint, apart from the occasional conversation surrounding what kind of ring I like, how many prongs, etc. I think he was afraid that he might get a ring that I dislike, so occasionally when we walked past a jewellery shop, we will stop outside the window display and he will ask me if there’s any design that I like.

So is it a surprise? I wasn’t surprised that he proposed, but I was surprised that he chose to propose in Santorini. I would never have imagined him proposing to me in Santorini! It still felt so surreal to me that it happened.

With all that being said, by now you must be wondering that I should have at least guessed that the proposal is coming the moment I knew I was going to Santorini. But the truth is, I didn’t think much of it.

It was a complete shock to me when I knew we’ll be going overseas and a major shock when I knew that we’ll be going to Europe. We took almost a day just to travel from Singapore to Santorini and by the time we settled down, we were so exhausted that we just slept, woke up for dinner, and slept until the next morning. After we woke up, we went for breakfast and spent the entire afternoon roaming around Fira town.

Fira is such a beautiful place that for the majority of the time we were there, I was trying to take in everything. We walked a lot and took tonnes of pictures. A proposal was the last thing that was on my mind.

I only start thinking about the possibility of it happening after we returned from Fira to the hotel that afternoon.

(I digress. This is where the actual story start:)

Continue from where I left off… After returning to the hotel at 15:30, I decided to freshen up and took a shower. This is the first thing I saw when I came out of the shower:

A card addressed to me, was left nicely in the middle of the bed. Next to the bed stand a sheepishly looking Boyfriend.

I opened up the envelope to find a huge card filled with words. (Can’t remember if I cried while reading it, but I did cry while I was reading it prior to writing this blog post. Have to re-read to make sure I got all the facts right before writing.) Apart from words, he also filled up the page with pictures that we took in the past (all grabbed from my Instagram).

He mentioned about how he had kept this trip as a secret for the past few months, how he hate keeping secrets from me. Promise that he will never keep secrets from me. Then he mentioned about how much we have been through in the past nine years… Etc! Overall, it was a very touching message.

So after I’ve read through the card, he asked me to get ready because he had booked us a dinner for the night to celebrate our ninth year anniversary. He told me that we’ll be going out (of the hotel) to have our dinner and I even remember telling him that it’s not necessary to splurge and we can just have a simple dinner somewhere. In which he said he had already had everything arranged and booked.

Fast forward, by 19:30, I had already changed into a nice dress and had my makeup done. (Fortunately, he remembered to ask me to pack a nice dress into my suitcase.) Ready to head out for our dinner. The telephone rang and he picked it up, spoke to whoever that was on the line and subsequently told me that there was some hiccups with the transportation so he had to go up to the lobby to clarify with the staff. And before I knew it, he was out of the door.

He was back after ten / twenty minutes and told me we were good to go. I saw him carrying the camera bag and I remember asking him if he need help with it. And as predicted, he said no.

(Inside, I was thinking that if he’s really going to propose to me on our anniversary, he must be carrying the ring with him and it’s unlikely that the ring box will go unnoticed in his pocket. A camera bag seems like a good place to hide the bulky ring box.) Since he said no, I decided not to insist on carrying the camera bag.

The view outside of our room

So we left the room and took the lift up. I think it was after we step out of the lift that he told me that we were, in fact, be having our dinner inside the hotel. A staff came up to us and led us to the table. Meanwhile, I was thinking how stupid I must have look to carry my handbag. If I knew we were be dining in, I would have brought nothing out.

Anyway, the staff led us to this single table, that was just next to the swimming pool. While walking past the swimming pool, I clearly remembered that I saw a lot of camera equipment on the lounge chair and a couple at the pool. I took note of that but I kept quiet.

It’s very clear by now that the proposal is really happening.

On the table was a bouquet of flowers and the Boyfriend passed it to me with a “happy anniversary”. The view was amazing up there. It was only just slightly passed 20:00 so it was still bright, but from afar we can see that the sun was setting soon. We sat there, have our drinks and I remember the Boyfriend was holding on to my right hand. He began to start on his speech, which to be honest, I can hardly recall anything now. Seeing that the proposal is happening, I suppose I was too busy feeling nervous / excited that I didn’t really pay attention to what he was saying. I sat there listening, but I can barely tell you what are the exact words that he said.

I vaguely remember he mentioned something like we have been together for nine years and a lot of things had happened during this period of time. He told me he loves me and he wanted to bring me around to as many places as possible. Places that were as beautiful as Santorini.

(While that was happening, I began to realise that the couple that was originally near the pool was coming closer and closer towards us. The guy was taking pictures of the girl, with us in the background. In real life, I don’t think this will happen. Sure you wouldn’t want to take a picture of the scenery that was photobombed by a couple having a conversation in the background?)

Everything was perfect (the location was beautiful, the sun was setting…) except that I didn’t cry. I always imagine that I will be so touched by his speech that I will start tearing up when he finally asked me to marry him. But I guess I was too nervous to properly process his words.

And then before I knew it, he pulled aside the chair, I was standing and he pulled out the little blue box from the camera bag and presented it to me. The box came with a beautiful white ribbon and he told me that according to the sale assistant from Tiffany & Co, the ribbon was supposed to be removed by the receiver.

So I pulled off the ribbon, open up the little blue box and inside sit a velvet black ring box. He took that out and the next moment, he kneeled on one knee and asked if I would marry him.

I remember I paused for a second (on purpose) before I said yes. I don’t know why, perhaps because the photographer was aiming his camera at us or maybe he was too nervous, but he actually stands up and kissed me before he even put the ring on my hand.

So what happened after was he had to kneel again so as to properly wear the ring on my finger.

We then proceed to take a handful more pictures, until the sunset. The wind was so strong that my hair was mostly in a total mess!

(The couple that I initially saw at the pool was, in fact, the photographer and the manager of the hotel. The manager subsequently came to congratulate us and told me that the Boyfriend had been making the arrangement with her through emails for a past couple of months.)

Shortly after we were done with the photo shoot, one of the hotel staff came to us and asked if we would like to shift indoor to have our dinner. Initially, the Boyfriend (erhmm, now ‘Fiance’) didn’t want to. The strong wind was the reason behind why he received the phone call in our hotel room. The staff called to tell him that the wind was too strong and suggest that he shift the proposal to indoor, at the restaurant. However, he refused because he wanted me to have the sunset view when he proposes to me. (I suppose we can still view the sunset from inside of the restaurant, but it will be behind the window glasses and it will definitely be less romantic.)

So now that the proposal is officially done, and we were personally up there feeling the cold, we decided that we’ll shift indoor to have our dinner.

Dinner was a five-course meal prepared by the kitchen. We had the same dishes except for our main course where we ordered a fish (sea bass) and a beef so that we could share.

Sadly, I (we) didn’t really enjoy the meal. I wasn’t sure if it was because I was too excited or the food wasn’t that great, I found it so difficult to stomach the food. Not to mention, it was a five-course meal and the staff was approaching us every other second with the serving of dishes, removing of plates and refilling of drinks, etc. I lost count of the number of times our conversation got interrupted due to that.

We had a fairly long dinner because we just kept talking non-stop. He shared with me almost all the details, like how the trip was planned many months ago, how he decided on which ring to give me, how he asked my parents for permission and blessing before he brought me here, etc.

And that’s exactly why I said I almost ruined his plan.

Remember I said on the day when he came to tell me about going overseas, he told me he had a meeting in the afternoon that he needed to attend? Turns out there wasn’t any meeting. He actually spent his afternoon picking up a gift for my parents and I almost ruined his plan when I decided to go downstairs to meet my dad.

He was actually planning to go down to meet my parents, but stopped in his tracks once I told him I was at my dad’s stall. In the end, he had to wait until I came back home before he went down to visit my parents. He told them that he’ll be bringing me to Santorini and will be proposing to me on our 9th anniversary, and asked for their blessing.

So in a way, my parents already knew about the proposal before I do!

I wanted to call them right after the proposal but because Santorini was 6 hours behind Singapore, it was almost 03:00 in Singapore. I decided to wait until the next morning before I call home.

Once we were done with our meal, we decided to retreat back to our room. We were right outside the door, but the Boyfriend refuse to let me enter. I was told to wait outside before I finally get to go in a few minutes later. Turns out, he had asked the staff to set up the room for us with rose petals scattered all over the floor from the entrance to the bathroom. There were also various lighted candles found in the bathroom.

Fairy lights that were set up and arranged by the Boyfriend.

Since we have to wait awhile before getting the photographs from the photographer, we decided to set up the tripod and took a few pictures on our own. It was too dark outside, or else we might have took our pictures outside.

And that’s how the proposal happened!

I’m not sure if I have listed down all the details, but I think you get the gist.

The Boyfriend got the photographer with the help of the hotel. I heard hiring a photographer in Santorini can be relatively quite expensive and the one we got actually quoted far lower than the other photographer that the Boyfriend found online. However, I didn’t think the photos turn out that great. So maybe do some research if you’re looking for a local photographer in Santorini!

Now that the proposal is over, it’s time to start planning for the actual wedding and house renovations! #sayonly It has been nearly five months since the proposal but we have done nothing yet, aside from getting my ring resized. I guess we’re still pretty chilled and will only get worried when the dates get closer.

P/S: I didn’t know what to share about the proposal aside from narrating the whole event from start to end. I didn’t share any of my deeper thoughts because I’ve no idea how to turn them into proper words. I’m extremely touched and blessed that the Boyfriend planned this surprise trip for us and I’m certain it will be left as a very memorable memory for us for a very long time.

Now that we’ve both been to Santorini, we find that we really love this place a lot and can’t wait to be back again. The Boyfriend suggest going back again next year but I told him we should start saving up for our house and wedding.

I’m immensely lucky that the Boyfriend chose to propose to me here and this place will thus be forever special to me.

Will be back to continue the rest of my travelogue soon.

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