Saturday, November 15th was my birthday. Danny and I woke up and he made me pancakes as I prepared to meet with clients. I am a professional wedding photographer, and had been corresponding with a couple named MaryAnne Wu and William Yew for about a month trying to nail down a day to meet. The meeting was set for noon, so I headed down to the Koi Café coffee shop about 15 minutes early. I ordered a tea and set up my computer. Noon rolled around and no couple. 12:15 and still no couple. I was just about to call the number I had for them when the barrista came over with an envelope. Inside was a note from Danny saying "I'm sorry to trick you but I am MaryAnne Wu."
The note also included three Polaroid photos that were clues to what awaited me. I was to use the photos to help me determine where I needed to go next. Since it was my birthday, no red alarms sounded or anything, so I set out to our favorite ice cream shop, which was depicted in the first set of photos. I arrived at the ice cream shop and the woman said, "You must be Josie." Danny had attached a photo of me to each envelope so the employees would know who to give it to. She told me I was able to get three scoops of ice cream. So I got my favorites and enjoyed them while I opened the next envelope. Inside were three photos of a massage place. I finished my ice cream and headed over.
When I arrived, a woman met me at the door and said I was getting an hour-long hot stone massage. I'd never had one before so I was pretty excited. When I got into the room I noticed that the soothing music they were playing was a song typically used by brides at weddings. I laughed out loud but didn't think much more of it. When the massage was done, she handed me another envelope with three more photos. The first was of a black cat, which was no help. The second was of a dog, which I recognized as the pets of our good friends Katie and Skip. I drove to Katie's house and she met me at the door with a bottle of Bailey's. We had a few drinks and chatted about birthdays. After an hour or so I decided I should get going, so she gave me the next envelope. Inside were pictures of flowers and then a photo of the sign of a flower shop downtown.
I headed downtown and picked up a beautiful bouquet of green and purple orchids. Attached to the bouquet was another envelope with photos of the reserved book section at the local library. We reserve our books online and then they hold them for us in a section of the library. When I pulled the books off the reserve shelf I had to laugh. It was a whole stack of children's books about birthdays: "Happy Birthday Cow," "Happy Birthday Monster," "You Have to be Happy on your Birthday," etc. I flipped through a few of them in the car before I pulled the next envelope out of one of the books. In it were photos of our friends Mark and Kathryn. I wasn't sure where they would be, so I had to call Mark. He directed me to a local park. When I pulled in I saw them playing near the slide, so I walked over. He and Kathryn came sliding down the slide and handed me the next envelope. They are also both photographers, so Mark was taking pictures of me opening the envelope. Inside were several pictures of a beautiful stone bridge over a large waterfall in a park that is near our house. I knew immediately where to go.
Mark and Kathryn said they had to get going, so they took off. Driving over to the park, I had a huge suspicion that this was going to be a proposal. It is what I really wanted it to be, but I also wanted to prepare myself in case it wasn't. I half expected to see my family or a whole group of friends on the bridge when I got there. When I pulled into the parking lot, Mark and Kathryn were there with their cameras and then I knew for sure. I walked down to the bridge and Danny came across the other side with another envelope. I opened it, and inside was a plastic film canister. We used to use this exact canister to pass notes back and forth to each other when we were in college.
I opened it to find all of our old notes and a beautiful diamond ring. Danny was on one knee, asking me to marry him above the roar of this amazing waterfall. I said, "Yes! Of course!" We hugged on the bridge for a while. Mark and Kathryn took off and we decided to walk home. On the walk home through the park Danny said he had one more surprise. We were leaving in two days to go to Hawaii for a week! I couldn't believe it - no one goes on an engagement-moon! It was so amazing.
We had a birthday dinner with friends that evening, did laundry and packed the next day and the following day we were in Hawaii. It was such an amazing day that I felt like I was in a movie. Danny is so creative and amazing, and I am so lucky to have him. A quick note about the names of the faux couple Danny made up - their names put together are Will Yew Mary Wu (wu in Mandarin is me). So from the beginning he was asking if I would marry him!