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The Engagement Story
"So I'm thinking Spanish food for dinner on Saturday." It sounded good to me when he told me in Chicago on Wednesday! I started that Saturday looking forward to the mystery restaurant where Jeff would treat me to a belated birthday/valentine's dinner, and ended the day at an Italian restaurant... in Venice.

The Saturday morning routine was just that...routine. Cereal for breakfast, a 3-mile run, and then it was off to Jeff's to open one of my presents. I opened the shoe-box sized gift (labeled "#1") fully knowing it was a disguise. What I didn't know was that it disguised two tickets to Madrid. All I could manage to say was "When?!?" The answer? "at 4:50 this afternoon, so go home and pack a bag." What about work? Jeff emailed my boss... vacation granted. What should I wear? Fall temperature clothes, but bring a nice coat. I feverishly packed, called my family, and off we were into the wild blue yonder.

Just before departure, Jeff said, "I'm sorry, but Madrid's not exactly where we're going, so we have to catch another short flight after this one." Of course, our final destination was a surprise (all of the airline employees helped to keep it quiet). Seven hours later, we found ourselves in Madrid's customs line, when out of the backpack comes "#2" and the camera. "So I changed my mind...I'm thinking Italian for dinner tonight," said Jeff. Gift #2 was a map of Venice! Jeff mumbled assurance that there were no more surprises, except some information I'd hear on the plane: we were staying on the Grand Canal at Palazzo Sant'Angelo, a palace converted into a small hotel with its own gondola port. Furthermore, we would be in Venezia for the last three days of Carnivale, the traditional masquerade festival preceeding the Lenten season. The hotel was sending us not only on our own private gondola tour, but also to the glassmaking island of Murano and an orchestral concert. At this point, I thought, "What in the world am I going to get him for his birthday?"

After checking into the hotel and stashing our luggage, Jeff and I wandered to Piazza San Marco to join the festivities. I have never seen anything like it: masses of various people crowding narrow cobblestone streets, face painters, street musicians and costumes with more colors than I could count! The atmosphere was so lively and mysterious. My senses were so overloaded that I was rendered speechless. Jeff asked a passerby to take a photo of us by the Grand Canal. After the standard portrait, he turned to me, professed his love, and with shaking hand unveiled a...wallet. Oops, missed. With no further delay, he dropped on one knee, presented me with "the RING" and asked me to marry him. Remember how I said I was speechless? Atmosphere + joyful sobbing = continued speechlessness. I stood there crying and looking at the ring, until Jeff finally said, "So are you going to put it on?!?" I choked out a "Yes!", and thus a new adventure began... :-)

Click here to see photos from our wonderful time in Venice.

Proposing among the Gondolas
"Will you marry me?"

She Said Yes!

Admiring the Ring