To Propose or to not Propose
After a picture taking session, I lingered around a bit as everyone else made a move on. It was more than sprinkling now, and I still had my little companion saying to me every 10 seconds, “mister, you buy?” The Israelis were moving around a bend and soon to be out of sight. I felt that this would probably be my best opportunity. Christine turned around to me and gave me a quizzical face, demanding to know why I was going so slow and that we needed to keep up with everyone, especially as it was raining. I replied that I just wanted to enjoy the scene. She shrugged, unaware of any previous soft spot I had for waterfalls, and turned her back to meander forward a bit, in an attempt to keep me moving. I felt like this must be it.
My heart was pounding rather heavily and my hands shaking as I reached into my side pocket. The Israelis and Co. were now out of sight. I had to do it! But I was still questioning if it was right, if I should do this right here, right now. I had a serious five second debate where I decided against the move, only to overrule myself. The little girl was still chattering away. I really had hoped to lose her somehow, but she was persistent and clearly not going anywhere. I just had to ignore her and go ahead.
I grabbed the ring out of my pocket. Christine was about 10 feet in front of me, the falls to my left. I called out “Christine!” and got down on one knee. She turned around, saw me, and gave me the most confused, boggled look. I put out my hand and said “Christine, I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you, will you marry me?” I couldn’t believe it, I had actually done it! The little girl, to her credit, must’ve sensed something special was happening as she stopped talking and just stared at us. Christine also was just staring. Not exactly the reaction I had expected. I think her mind was literally blown.
I didn’t really want to be down on my knee on the rocks in the rain anymore, so I got up. All Christine could mutter as a response was “oh my goodness” over and over. I gave her the ring and said, “Well, you can think about it.” At that point she realized she had not given me an answer, and said something to the effect of “yes, of course!” She put the ring on her finger, we embraced, and took some self photos by the waterfall. The little girl stared at us dumbfounded the entire time.
Christine was still in shock, but it was starting to rain a bit more, so we felt we needed to catch up. As soon as we started moving again I heard a “mister, you buy?” She had resumed her selling stance (in retrospect I think I should’ve bought her recorder after all, it would’ve been a nice keepsake of the moment). I continued to ignore her though, pulling Christine’s hand as I was ready to go faster now, while she was nearly paralyzed with her mind still in a state of semi-shock.
We caught up to the Israeli girls and had them take some pictures of us, but decided not to tell them the news (we didn’t really know them, and felt it would be an awkward thing – though it was perhaps even more awkward for us to try to pretend to be normal and like nothing happened, when all Christine could mutter for the next hour in the car ride home was “oh my goodness,” over and over). Anyways, we continued, it rained harder, and the little girl pleaded harder. We made it back to our car a bit wet and recorder-less, but having finished the Blue Nile Falls in manner not to be forgotten.
Now We Live Happily Ever After . . . Right?
We had a wonderful time during the rest of our stay in Ethiopia (unfortunately that night we had made prior dinner plans with an older Israeli couple – we didn’t want to tell them either so we did not really celebrate that evening – Israelis were cramping our style all over Ethiopia!). I kept thinking about the moment, how nervous I was, and how literally close I was to not even doing it. In the end, it was weird, not quite the way I drew it up, but it all worked out (sounds like our lives). The Israelis never knew (it has become my personal goal to ensure the nation never finds out), the little recorder salesgirl had a memory that maybe she will piece together later on in life, and I started the process of making it legally difficult for my beloved Christine to leave my side. Everybody wins (or really just me)!