I hadn't seen Jae in a very long two months because he was stationed in North Carolina, preparing to leave for Afghanistan shortly after my visit. The army allowed family and friends to fly in for a farewell ceremony and spend a few days of R&R with the troop before the big farewell. My parents, who live in North Carolina, had asked us to spend a few days with them during the leave time and we were excited to do so. My best childhood friend Michele had also moved to NC, and I was looking forward to seeing her at my parents' house.
Jae had this smoking habit that he was trying to kick, and when Michele picked us up to head out to my parents' house, he made us stop for cigarettes! I was disappointed because he said it had been three weeks since his last cigarette. When he got out to run into the store, Michele looked me dead in the eye and said, "Look you need to give him a break today. " My jaw must have hit the floor! My best friend was supposed to be on my side, and now she was telling me to give my guy a break! He got back in and we headed to my parents' place. They told us we were all going out to dinner and that there was a horse-drawn carriage ride planned for me and Jae.
I thought this was suspicious but quickly put it out of my head and chalked it up to him wanting romantic alone time. We were at the beginning of the ride when he yelled to the driver, "Let me know when you are halfway there. " So then I really started to wonder. As soon as we got halfway, Jae looked at me and started telling me all these great things about how he felt about me. To be honest, I felt like I went deaf because I was overcome with emotions. What I can remember is that he dropped to one knee (in a moving carriage!) to propose with a gorgeous ring. I was so overwhelmed that I cried. We went the rest of the way, and I arrived to see my loved ones and a group of strangers cheering. It was amazing, and it made me happy to know that planning for the wedding would keep me busy for the next ten months.