Saturday, December 5, 2009

Paris Engagement (Paris Update Part 1)

Sorry for the delay in my updates! It’s been a busy week! After Eddie arrived in Paris we were on the go just about every minute the entire week.

His flight came in around noon last Friday and he was supposed to meet me at the hotel. After about two hours of waiting I got anxious and decided to meet him at the metro station that I knew he would have to come out of to get to the hotel. What I didn’t know was that he had decided not to take the metro but to walk from the main train station instead. So, I stood at the metro for about 10 minutes before I gave up and opted to go back to the warmth of the hotel. When I arrived he was there waiting for me (though he’d only been there about 5 minutes) and I was greeted with a “it’s about time you showed up” response.

We didn’t have much time to catch up as we rushed out the door to catch the 4pm free Paris walking tour. There is a company called New Europe that does walking tours in several cities around Europe and they are quite informative. The guides work on a tips only basis so you can contribute what you can afford and based on how well you think they did. I really enjoy them and definitely recommend them. The tour lasted about three hours and ended near the Champs Elysees. The Eiffel Tower was in the distance and we got to see it “sparkle” which was fun.

We were both pretty hungry by that point and decided to find something to eat on our way back to the hotel. Unfortunately Paris is much more expensive than either of us expected and we made it all the way back to the hotel without finding anything in our price range. We ended up walking around a bit longer and found a seedy (but delicious) little kabob shop and each had a doner plate. The staff at the restaurant were super friendly and had fun with us. After we ordered the guy told us to sit down and Eddie asked if he needed to pay then and the guy pulled a knife out and gestured that Eddie needed to sit down, “or else.” It was quite funny.

Saturday morning we set out to see the sights and did a good job (if you ask me). We went to the D’Orsay, the Rodin Museum, Napoleon’s tomb, climbed the Eiffel Tower, and the Arch de Triumph. We also walked by a few other areas to take pictures, managed to stop and eat some delicious baguettes and cheese as well as make a pretty big dent in the large bag of Peanut MMs that Eddie had brought with him (on my request). The Museums were incredible and we both really enjoyed seeing The Thinker at the Rodin Museum as well as several other incredible pieces of artwork there and at the D’Orsay.

Climbing the Eiffel Tower was fun as well, but we both felt a little ripped off by it – maybe because we weren’t very well informed. The signs at the bottom said it was 4.50 Euro to climb the stairs (instead of take the elevator) so we wanted to save money and were up for the challenge. Well, you get about 2/3 of the way up and then you have to pay another 5 Euro to ride the elevator to the very top. We figured we had come that far and it was the Eiffel Tower so we had to do it, but we were both annoyed. We did have a fun time on top though.

Eddie had been telling me for awhile that he was not going to propose to me in Paris despite how everyone had been suggesting that he should. I fully believed him and even made a bet with a close friend that he was not going to do it there (sadly I now owe her a dinner). While we were on top of the tower we took a few “pretend” engagement pictures just to be funny. The weather wasn’t ideal and it was rainy and pretty windy – the tower was even swaying the majority of the time we were up there. The best part however was when you would walk to one side of the platform and the wind would rush around the corner and literally blow you over. It was so intense. We took some video and had fun fighting the massive wind.

By the time we got back down to the ground it was dusk and so we decided just to climb the Arc de Triumph and walk back down the Champs Elysees before heading back to the hotel and trying to find dinner en route again. When we arrived at the Arc there was a formal procession going on. There were police and French military as well as American military (or at least people dressed up like American soldiers) as well as someone carrying an American flag. We never quite figured out what they were doing but obviously it was some sort of memorial or tribute to one of the wars both countries were involved in.

We climbed to the top of the structure and because we hadn’t eaten a lot that day I was not feeling so great when we reached the top. I was a bit light headed and dizzy. We sat for a few minutes and ate some peanut mms (the only thing of substance we had with us) and hoped it would help, which it did. We then climbed the rest of the way up to the roof and maneuvered our way to the edge of the building so that we could take some night shots of the Eiffel Tower that we had just climbed.

I was busy taking pictures when Eddie said that the battery on his camera had died and he needed to change it. I thought it was weird that his battery had already died since he had changed it earlier in the day already, but let him do his thing. I did ask if he needed any assistance but he said he did not so I continued to try and take a non-blurry picture of the tower (not an easy task). He then asked me to “hold this for a second” and as I turned toward him, he put a white Bible in my hands that had the name Ann Plana embossed on the front cover. As soon as I saw the Bible I knew what was going on, which was funny because a split second before he handed it to me I thought, “I wonder if he’s going to propose right here?”

Before he could ask me anything, I said “Really? You’re doing this here?!?” and then Eddie, on his knee, asked me to marry him. I was in shock because he had been so adamant that he was not going to propose in Paris and I had told him not to do it there, so it was completely unexpected, but eventually I regained my voice and said that I would of course marry him.

It was funny to me that we were in such a public place and there were so many people around but no one seemed to notice our little romantic moment. We had to search for someone to take our picture and even then, the best one we have is one that we took ourselves. It was quite the experience to say the least! We took a few more pictures on top of the Arch before climbing down the stairs and taking our stroll down the Champs Elysees.

The ring is incredible and absolutely perfect. Eddie had it custom made for me and though it is cliché to say, it is more beautiful than anything I could have imagined or picked out for myself. I think it fits me perfectly and is everything that I wanted in a ring and more. He did a great job and worked very hard (with the help of some very good friends) to design the perfect ring for me. I love it as well as the fact that it is one of a kind and no one will ever have my ring.

As you can imagine we were a bit distracted walking down the Champs Elysees but we did manage to take in a few sights. We stopped and bought some warm Christmas wine and enjoyed the atmosphere of the long and very well lit street. We bought ourselves some good French cheeses, fresh bread, and fruit for the next day as we walked back to our hotel. We also stopped and had Panini’s at a little Italian place where we told the cashier that we had just gotten engaged. It was very memorable and delicious! Even though it was a little “cliché” I wouldn’t trade it for the world and it is a night I will never forget.


Elizabeth Joy said...

This makes me smile :-) But I still can't believe you're engaged to someone I've never even met!

Linnea said...

I love your engagement story! I don't think it was cliche at all and yours was, in fact, a lot more personable than most. You definitely did a lot better with your reaction than I did when Rick proposed. I literally couldn't talk for 5 minutes. I babbled incoherently while struggling for breath so that poor Rick eventually just got off his knee and said, "I guess I'll just take that as a yes," and put the ring on my finger. :) And now you have your own wonderful story! Enjoy the rest of your adventures and fully soak in this time! How exciting for you and Eddie (tell him "good job" for me!).

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