A Proposal in the Himalayas

Trip Start Jun 06, 2007
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
The Peaceful Cottage

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Saturday, January 17, 2009

The First Step
            I've never been so nervous to call a woman in my life.  My heart was pumping like I'd just biked up a mountain, my mind wandering 40 years to the future, my feet were pacing in and out of cell phone service, and my breath came as easily as a lid on an old pickle jar.  Then I shut it all down, laid my finger on the green telephone button and connected.  I knew it was what I wanted to do, so I did it.  I called my girlfriend's mother, Mrs. Visco. 
I asked Mrs. Visco if we could get together to "talk about some things" before I left for India to visit Abigail.  A couple days later Mr. and Mrs. Visco and I gathered for breakfast, I spilled coffee all over their kitchen table (and my leg), and I asked for their blessing to propose to their daughter.  They said yes, and I said, "YESSSS!!!!!"  One month later I was flying with big plans for my visit to Abigail in New Delhi, India.
The Engagement
            Abigail's beautiful and smiling face greeted me at the airport in Delhi.  We cruised back to her apartment where I was warmly received with a sign and welcome from Abigail's roommate, Amy.  It was well after midnight when we got in so I found my sleeping quarters quickly- a cozy, cave-like, utility closet in the hallway outside of Abigail and Amy's room.   Sleep came easily that night and went away just as fast.  Early the next morning, Abigail and I packed our bag and headed out for a five-day trip to Nepal.  The engagement ring, in its velvet navy blue box, in another little white box, in another oversized jewelry box surrounded by socks, a tie, and some bandanas to keep it from rattling around, came with us.    
16 January 2009
Our destination was the Peaceful Cottage in the Katmandu Valley.  The owner, Alex, a smiley, young Nepali man, greeted us at the top of the hill on which the cottage was built.  Our surroundings were absolutely breathtaking.  The air was so cool and clean with the softness of the mountain mist.  The horizon was filled with the white-capped Himalayas on one side and the rolling, green foothills on the other.   The refrain we rehearsed, was, "Isn't it a great thing to be young, in love, in Nepal, and (soon to be engaged- well, that was a part of my refrain anyway).  Thousands of miles above the sea and even further from our own country, Abigail and I were settled at home in one another's arms. 
17 January 2009
            The sun was about to rise over the Himalayas, I was about to propose to Abigail, the woman of my dreams, and little did she know she was about to say yes to a blonde, bearded man from Minnesota. 
            The day began with spirits high.  Abigail repeated, "This is so romantic," and I reassured myself, "Yes!  Now is the time!"  The sunrise was spectacular- though it was not at the forefront of my mind.  I was confident and eager; distracted and disciplined.  With a ring in my pocket, Abigail snuggled beside me, and the perfect setting for an engagement, the only thing that remained was timing.  I waited for the families and other lovebirds on the roof to clear out from the top of the Peaceful Cottage.  With everyone gone, I kissed Abigail once more as one last bit of encouragement- it was encouragement enough!  I backed away and Abigail looked at me and said with a spark, "So passionate..."  Sometimes communicating feelings is easier than I thought- especially when I'm not opening my mouth to speak!
            I smiled and said, "I want to take one more picture."  And the plan was in motion.  One thing Abigail and I always do when we say goodbye on an email or a letter is, "I love you more than..." and then we fill in the blank with something we love a lot- I might say "more than listening to Prairie Home Companion" or Abigail has said, "more than a hairdryer" or "more than clear blue sky" (things especially appropriate for Abigail in Delhi).  That was my approach- sentimental with room for creativity and romance.  I started out silly and got progressively more cheesy and romantic.  I set up the camera, pressed record (rather than taking a picture, I videotaped it!), and there, on the roof of the Peaceful Cottage, in the foothills of the Himalayas, I proposed.
ME: Abigail, did you know I love you more than pretzels?" 
ABIGAIL: Well that's a funny thing to say-
ME: And I love you more than riding my bike through the hills, and more than singing hymns. 
(I begin to walk toward her)
ME: I love you more than a tiny stream loves to trickle down a great mountain...
(I crouch beside her)
ME: ...and more than the sun loves to rise after a long night of rest.
(I grab the ring in my pocket)
ME: I love you more than traveling the world and more than everything all the countries can offer.
(I bring out the ring and look into Abigail's eyes)
ME: I love you so much that I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  Abigail, will you marry me?
ABIGAIL: AHH!!  (a joyful shout that seemed like forever before she said...) YES!
We embraced, we kissed, we prayed, and just like that, Abigail and Thomas became engaged.  The day continued wonderfully as we toasted with travel friends, celebrated over lunch with a Nepali family, and hiked around the foothills.  Oh, and as for the video, well, I ended up kissing Abigail so much (partly because I was a bit nervous!) that we're going to do some editing to spare our friends and family before we show it. 
Thank you all for taking time to enter in to Abigail and my story- here at its very beginning!  I pray you are all well and that Abigail and I will be able to sit and enjoy your company sometime soon.
With gratitude and hope for all that is to come.
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