Otherwise engaged

Five years ago, on this day, on a deserted beach on Oahu’s north shore, M asked me to marry him.

Believe me when I say that I didn’t have the faintest clue that he was going to propose.

I mean, we had been together for four years, so it was inevitable that the topic would come up in conversation from time to time, and I knew that there was no one else in the world that I wanted to be with – I was just never one to think much about it.

Growing up, I never day dreamed about weddings, sketched dresses, or play acted happily ever after.

I just hoped to heck that one day I would actually have a boyfriend, and all that practice kissing the back of my hand in the shower would amount to something.

So when this beautiful, kind, brilliant man, kneeled in front of me, and told me “I want to spend the rest of my life with you,” I briefly stood there shocked, a befuddled statue.

My mouth opening and closing like that of a stunned trout.

And then I burst into tears.

I cried so hard and for so long that M actually had to ask me (quite nervously at that) if my tears were a good or bad thing.

“Good…thing…” I managed to croak, before the next wave of sobs took over.

M began to laugh, and eventually I did too (although it was through my tears), and then he took my hand and placed a ring on my finger.

My engagement band has three stones – one larger diamond, framed by two smaller ones. When he gave it to me he explained that he choose this ring because the two stones on the outside are meant to signify us, and the middle stone is our life that we have built – that we continue to build – together.

You can imagine how quickly my tears dried up after hearing that.


(For real, I’m pretty sure that I severely dehydrated myself standing there on the beach that night.)

But it was magical.

The sun slowly setting, melting into the rich greens and blues of the sea; giant turtles sunning themselves in the warmth of the white sand; a young fisherman walking by with his multicoloured catch of the day.

When we arrived back at the house where we were staying, we surprised all of our friends by revealing the good news.

We phoned family back in Canada (waking up every single last person) before doing the thing that every good 21st century couple does – updated our profiles on facebook.

Good grief.

And then for the rest of the trip, we swan, sunned, explored, adventured, ate, drank, laughed, lived, and loved.

Here are some photos of our all too brief sojourn in paradise:



Ninja surfer.


King and queen of the world.


So we may always return.

So there you have it friends.

A memory for the month of May.

If you have stories to share, I’m all ears (and probably all tears.)

Published by

Vanessa Woznow

Writer, runner, ranter, reader. I write about all things.

36 thoughts on “Otherwise engaged”

  1. “Good…thing…” I managed to croak, before the next wave of sobs took over.
    LMAO Why am I not surprised that this is how it went down? Great memory, funny as always coming from you, and very touching. Beautiful photos, too – turtles! Palm trees! Beach! And hey, that ninja surfer looks hawt ;P
    Um, stories, stories… well. there’s always the time my other half almost drove off the road when our youngest child, then only months old, under tutelage from her big sisters, pointed proudly at her pedal appendage and squealed, “Fook!” Oh, the different a letter makes… She’s still making a splash now, and she’s fifteen (oh my gosh, where did that decade and a half go?). Ta-dah!

    1. Oh my goodness…choking out those words nearly destroyed me! I totally laugh about it now, but at the time, phew, I couldn’t even tell the story with a straight face for a good couple of months. Those tears were non-stop!

      LOVE your story about your littlest one. Nothing more hilarious than young kids dropping the old f-bomb, especially totally unknowingly and nonchalant about the whole thing. I probably would have driven off the road too. My mom tells this story about the time she she got into the car and I (at three and a half) was sitting in the passenger seat. Just as she put on her seat belt I turned to her and said “Jesus Christ my brains are going to be fried.” According to her she nearly fell out of the car laughing.

  2. Omgoodness that is totally adorable!
    I now have a checklist to give to the boyfriend a wee bit in the future.
    My boyfriend asked me out by putting a little note in my bedside draw before he went away and when it was Christmas morning he called me and asked if I wanted my Christmas present and told me to look in my draw.
    I didn’t cry, I wasn’t quite as emotional back then, but I didn’t say anything for a while which isn’t great on the phone..
    Here I am a year and a half later, hopefully only a few more years before a similar story to yours can happen :) x

  3. The Wife and I are both quite fond of what others might consider gloomy weather and thus I proposed at the beginning of a snowstorm in the falling snow. Then I had to drive her home… at the time she lived about 35 minutes away; but I wound up not getting home until about four hours later (people in Jersey can’t handle snow, though it ended up being about two feet the next day). Then due to work schedules and her strict parents not letting her out because the (now plowed) snow was unsafe; I didn’t see my betrothed for about five days, perhaps the longest five days in history.

    1. That sounds utterly romantic (getting engaged in the snow) and utterly heart stopping (the five days of no contact post-engagement). Had you planned on asking her that day, or was it more of a serendipitous event?

      1. I had been holding on the ring for about a month and was dying to give it to her. I’m not so good at planning because I’m very forgetful, so I had a few ideas in mind including this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grounds_for_Sculpture but we were having a good winter (which for me means lots of snow, but is probably equivalent to your summers up there in Winterfell). We walked outside my house (and I had been carrying this ruby ring around with me everywhere for a month) and everything was blanketed with a few inches of snow. It just felt right (just like in Serendipity, I imagine, as I haven’t actually seen the film) so I asked her to clean the snow off the windshield whilst I tied my shoes (I never tie my shoes). Since I was down there…

  4. Awwww, what a beautiful post! Thanks for sharing :) I have been feeling a little under the weather today (sad, but true) but your post put a smile on my face and feeling of genuine happiness for the love that you and Mr. M share. Memories are our minds wonderful gift of the past and I’m glad the two of you share such a wonderful one.

    Have a fantabulous day my friend :)

    1. WHERE on God’s green earth did my picture while commenting go?!?! This is obviously not your fault, but I felt the need to share. This is ‘Belinda Laurie’ btw – in case you were wondering, but apparently, I am no longer that person. C’est la vie!

    2. Hey Ms. B! I’m very sorry to hear that you aren’t feeling 100%. I really hope you feel better soon, and keep flashing that beautiful mega-watt smile of yours.

      Have you used that wok yet? Let me know if you need a T&T care package and I’ll get on that STAT.

      Hope your evening is cozy and carefree :)

      1. Thank you for reminding me about T&T!! Honestly, I have the worst memory sometimes but stirfry will be in my near future! It was my birthday yesterday so I’ve been enjoying the attention and offers for free lunch that have come my way. Why can’t it be my birthday everyday? It sure helped my mood! Now, I must catch up on your posts that I’ve missed in the last few days!

        1. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Waaaah, I hope you had a marvelous day! I am very glad to hear people have been inundating you with lunch offers :) All my very best wishes for the coming year!!

  5. This is beautiful! You guys are an amazing couple, hands down. The photos are stunning and I love reading your heart in this post. My own heart is happy for you. :)

  6. I love this! My husband and I just celebrated our one year anniversary last month…we were in Alaska, packing up our car to move back to Vermont when we decided to get married, and we spent two wonderful weeks traveling home with the secret that we eloped–it was such a fun honeymoon, and we definitely surprised everyone at home, too!

    1. That sounds amazing!! What an adventure. I can only imagine what a surprise that was for the people back home. Very, very cool story :)

      What were you both doing in Alaska?

      1. We were working on an education/non-profit farm. I was supervising a school garden, and my husband was one of the field managers for the main farm. It was just outside Fairbanks. We miss it but are starting a farm here in VT. Have you been to Alaska?

        1. No, but I would love to go. Actually, I would love to do a road trip up through BC, into the Yukon and then into Alaska.

          What you were doing sounds absolutely brilliant!

  7. I am confused by your second photo. Why would one wear camouflage into the ocean? I mean, obviously it worked on at least two fish. I’m just saying.

    On a more serious note, congrats on your pre-anniversary! And re: your last post – what *did* you get him, you left us hanging!

      1. To be quite honest, the only reason I noticed was because he has gone to the trouble of camouflaging just his left hand (assuming he hasn’t tucked the other glove away somewhere, but as he’s carrying everything else that seems odd in itself) – he is the Michael Jackson of the camouflaged fish spearing world. Anyway, noticing the hand led me to noticing that everything he’s wearing is a different kind of camouflage. He is a tree! He is some mud! He is a completely different kind of tree! His hand is a tree!

        Okay, I just got it, he confuses them to death!

  8. I love engagement stories! Such a lovely one that you have! It’s always nice to revisit those memories.

    Mine also takes place in Hawaii! We went to Maui in 2005 for about ten days – during which time our 5 year dating anniversary would be occurring. On about the third day we woke up at the crazy hour of about 3:30am to drive up Haleakala for the sunrise. We had big plans to hike around the crater and explore the volcano.

    Alongside a few busloads of tourists we watched the sun come up over the hazy fog. A cheer erupted when the sun broke through the clouds – which we found quite amusing. Now, I also had no clue that a proposal was imminent so I kept pushing for us to walk back down to the visitor centre so that I could use the washroom. My poor husband, wracked with nerves and trying to start into what he wanted to say, kept suggesting we stay there admiring the view for a bit longer. Eventually, he just got down on one knee and with a quivering lip, asked me to marry him. I did what you did – promptly burst into tears. Which, apparently is a really confusing thing for a guy at that moment haha. I thought I had clearly said “yes” but it must have gotten lost in the blubbering.

    After the fact he pointed out that the whole drive up each song on the radio was about love or something and it was making him so nervous. We were a bit too excited to just continue with our hiking plans but it was so early in the morning that there wasn’t a whole lot else to do. We went exploring on another area of the island and basked in the fun of that day. The friends we were staying with were completely behind an impromptu beach wedding which we declined at the time – reasoning that our family would want to be there. (Like you, I didn’t have this “dream wedding” all plotted out.) We got married about six months later and still we talk about how cool that beach wedding would have been! Hello tenth anniversary ideas!

  9. That was so romantic! I bet you nearly gave him some heart palpitations, when you burst out crying, ha ha! So you’ve known each other four years before you guys tied the knot and that was five years so that’s nine years? (please correct me if I’m wrong) Woza, Ethel, I wish you love birds many more happy years to come! Cheers :D

    1. You are completely on the money Ms. Devina. It will be nine years this August – so crazy to think that we`ve been together for a third of my life! (!!!) 18 years old doesn`t seem that very far away either!

      And yes, I`m pretty sure I put undue stress on his poor heart. Good thing I mended it right away as soon as I said yes :)

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