I wanted to surprise Amber for her birthday. We’d both been lamenting how quickly the summer had passed us by so I wanted to surprise her with a weekend getaway to somewhere warm. After much deliberation, I finally settled on California, specifically Coronado Island. We’d planned to go to California earlier this summer but had to postpone and we had a lot of fun on our last California adventure for her high school reunion last summer, so I thought we would really enjoy it. So I asked Amber if she could do a three-day weekend over her birthday (10/16) and went ahead and booked it. All I told her was that she should pack for someplace warm.
It wasn’t until we were parking at the airport Friday evening that I revealed our destination. I actually managed to surprise Amber, and we were both excited for the weekend. Of course, I had another surprise for her, but she didn’t know that quite yet.
We arrived in San Diego late Friday evening, picked up a rental car, headed to Lowe’s Coronado Bay Resort, and finally settled in for the evening. The next morning, we got up and after breakfast at the hotel, we headed out to do some exploring, starting with the beach.
The only downside in my clever plan to whisk us away to somewhere warm and sunny was that it turned out that San Diego wasn’t warm and sunny. It wasn’t too cold, so it wasn’t too bad, but it was still overcast. Unfortunately, I was hoping for a nice sunny beach for Amber’s next surprise. So I decided I would wait and hope for things to clear up.
We wandered around Coronado for a while, getting sand in our shoes and checking out the houses near the beach, then decided to head to Old Town and maybe do a trolley tour.
It turned out that our visit coincided with an art fair there, so we wandered around the shops and the historic structures and checked out the art for some time. Long enough to get pretty hungry. But still no sun…
After looking around for a snack and not finding anything to our liking, we finally gave in and headed to El Cajon for the legendary carne asada burritos and fish rolled tacos. We arrived at Guadalahara, but to our surprise, it was renamed and no longer served the fish rolled tacos. At least they still had carne asada burritos. And the person working there was a sister of a classmate of Amber’s that we had seen there last year. As she did last summer, she asked if we were married yet. Of course, the answer was no, but I got the feeling that the universe was trying to interject a little foreshadowing into our dining experience.
We checked out what was playing at a nearby drive in theater for possible entertainment options later, then headed back to the hotel to chill out in the pool. Still no sun though…
When we got back to the hotel, Amber started getting ready to head to the pool, but I couldn’t wait for my other surprise any longer, so I told her that I had a surprise for her, but I wanted to give it to her by the water. So we walked out around the backside of the complex to a view of the Coronado Bay and Bridge. That’s where I took Amber in my arms and time kind of stood still. I told her how much I loved her and how I wanted to share my love and our commitment with our family and friends. I pulled out the box that had the wedding ring I’d been carrying with me all day and asked Amber if she would marry me.
Amber has been telling everyone how cool I was all day long and how I didn’t let on like anything was up right up until I told her about the surprise and took her to the view of the bay. My only explanation is that I didn’t have any reservations at all, that I know without a doubt that I love her and that she feels the same. It was an easy question to ask.
Amber’s answer was yes.
The rest of the weekend was great. We hung around the pool (not for long because the sun never really came out). We went to Mission Beach and rode the rollercoaster. We went to Sea World and out for a great dinner at Prado at Balboa Park. We went to the beach again. But for me, the rest of the weekend was us basking in happiness. And looking at the ring on Amber’s finger and being happy and in love.
A few weeks before my birthday, my sweetie told me we were going somewhere for my birthday! I was stoked, I figured Leavenworth or Victoria or somewhere nearby.
Then he asked which day I could take off, Friday or Monday. I said Monday and was even more excited.
About a week before he said we were flying and to pack for warm weather. I was totally blown away and curious where we were headed. I couldn’t wait to soak up some sun after the dreary summer we’d had. But where were we going?
We headed for the airport and pulled into the parking garage. Before letting a parking attendant steal his surprise he told me where we were going. Coronado Island!
I was really blown away. It was just too sweet. We’d been to San Diego together on what was one of my favorite trips to CA ever (thanks to having him as company). On that trip we’d driven over to Coronado because I had told him that as a kid it was one of the late night adventures my mom and aunts would take the kids on. We’d all pile in the car at midnight on a Saturday and drive over the bridge until the turn around point (so as not to pay the toll). When he and I were in SD in 2009 we’d driven over and gone to dinner and late night beach strolling down there. So it held a special place for me and for us together. In hindsight, maybe that should have been a clue J
Friday evening went so ridiculously smoothly. Made our flight- no prob, got our car- no prob and got into our hotel (one that I have LOVED since HS)- no prob. It was looking to be a seriously great weekend.
Saturday was my birthday. Sadly, it was kind of cold and dreary out. But no matter! We wandered around the beach for a bit, actually walking quite a while down the coast (potential clue #2?). Then, since the weather wasn’t clearing, we headed over to Old Town San Diego for touristy stuff. By this time we were just too close to my hometown to not stop by and have some carne asada burrito.
The woman at the taco shop had helped us when we were there last year and asked if we were married yet. We chuckled and said no. The Cap looked calm and cool.
We headed back to our hotel and had planned to go to the pool (it was 65 and cloudy but damn it, we were on vacation!). This is when his cool exterior cracked a bit. He said we should go for a walk out to the beach because he had a “surprise” for me. I did not see a software sized package in his hands.
My heart started to speed up.
We walked out to the terrace of the hotel which overlooks the bridge and the bay. Some of the most wonderful and loving words I’ve ever heard were spoken to me. Then he asked me to marry him and without a pause I said “yes!” I was totally stunned though. I didn’t expect it at all…until the walk for the surprise. I wanted to hear how he’d planned all this and how he had gotten a ring and HOW HE HAD ACTED SO COOL all day! I was in a bit of a daze over the fact that we’d just officially decided to join our lives. I was overjoyed by the fact that we’d just officially decided to join our lives.
I did manage to pull myself together a few minutes later and had a stranger take our pic.
We then went back to the room and held each other. And goofily stared at each other. Every once in awhile saying “forever!” or “we’re going to be married!” He was less goofy than me but he did have the advantage of having known it was coming!
Then we went and rode a rollercoaster by the beach. I called my Mom.
Seeing as it was still my birthday and there had yet to be cake, we went to Claim Jumper and got our favorite tiny toffee cake. And acted goofy there…taking pictures of us holding hands and such.
The rest of the weekend was spent being San Diego tourists and hanging out with my sweetie and happily wrapping our heads around the idea that we’d just made a sizable commitment to each other. There were a few mentions of what kind of wedding we’d have and more than a few mentions of what kind of marriage and life we wanted to have.
It was seriously one of the best weekends ever for me and I feel so loved and special. I am going to hold on to that feeling and work hard to make him feel loved and special every day.
**Note to my blog readers: Without shame I am going to talk about wedding planning. Running and biking and swimming too (well, hopefully …not that pre-wedding planning I have been the best at that) but also wedding stuff. And marriage stuff. Maybe work stuff too in the abstract. But the blog title “tri-ing to figure it out” will be renewed as figuring out how to get my booty in gear and maybe meet some new challenges (or revisit old ones), plan a wedding, prepare for a marriage and not get fired J I hope my 4 readers will understand.