how he popped the question.
Before I give the details, let me say even I was impressed by Elias's level of mastery when pulling off this proposal!
Mid-October a close friend of mine from Canada gave me a call with some awesome news. As a fellow Latin dancer, she had won dance tickets for two to a festival in Toronto, Canada. She laid it all out perfectly: free tickets and a free place to stay at her place. Elias had agreed to go AND there was a deal on airfare to Canada where we could use our miles and make it just about a free trip.
Needless to say, I was stoked.
For the next two weeks I raved about how we could go find Drake's house (I wasn't serious, I mean...not entirely) or go to Niagara Falls, among a list of other things. I went on the festival's website and got all the details of what to expect for the weekend. The night before, as I began to pack for the trip I checked Toronto's weather one last time. They were calling for snow and low 30 degrees.
The following morning after dropping our puppy off at her puppy hotel, we checked our bags and boarded our first leg of the trip, a flight from Atlanta to Charlotte. As we landed and taxi'd in, Elias told me, "Babe, we only have 20 minutes to get to our next gate. We need to get to gate B4."
I hurried to gate B4 and looked for Toronto on the boards. It was no where to be seen. "Umm, babe...I don't see Toronto. Are you sure we have the right gate?" And as I began to scramble in my purse for the flight ticket Elias pulled me around and said,
"that's because we aren't going to Toronto."
It took me a moment to process this bit of information? "What do you mean?" "Pooneh (my friend) is waiting for us!" "Where are we going!?!"
"It's all fake," he said, "We're going to Aruba!"
In that moment I took in my surroundings; everyone around the gate was wearing shorts and tees, sandals and 100% ready to get to a beach. Elias was even dressed light. Whereas I was in jeans, boots, a sweater, hat and coat. Seriously.
"I have one rule," he continued as I was awe-struck, "no questions this weekend."
And just like that, we were off to Aruba. We spent the weekend exploring literally the entire island and just about everything that these awesomely cool people could offer. Each day and each night Elias had planned an adventure.
From watching Broadway's "Rent" to scuba diving at an old war sight, to riding the island party bus as well as hiking through Aruba's National Park to see a natural lagoon and get completely sunburned. And of course we were hanging out at the beautiful beaches and snacking on local cuisine. As Sunday rolled around, I didn't think it could any better and then it did.
He took me to Aruba's Butterfly Farm.
Butterflies are so special to me; I have one tattooed on my side to remind me to find beauty from any struggle. Turns out, he had secured a private viewing and guide of the Aruba Butterfly Farm. We were able to see and learn about butterflies' lives from all over the world. It was a beautiful sight to see. Hundreds of butterflies flying around this beautifully constructed garden space. I nearly cried.
When he asked if I wanted a photo I was beyond giddy from the awesomeness and gave over my phone to our tour guide. Two snaps later and looked over to Elias to smile just to see him down on his knees.
"Ashlei, you've been giving me butterflies since the day we met..."
And honestly, everything else is blurry AF. All I know is that there was a rose gold beautifully crafted diamond ring staring back at me from the hands of a man who went above and beyond my wildest dreams to ask me that one question I've been low-key itching for him to ask for the past year.
"Will you marry me Ashlei?"
Welp...and as you know it...I said yes.
And that's how my loving boyfriend became my fiance and will soon become my husband. I am so excited about our engagement and about the year ahead worth of planning that we will be doing together.