Basically, it was the most perfect proposal ever.
For about a week, Mario had been saying that he wanted to take me on a fancy date night on Saturday, December 30th because we hadn’t had a fancy date night since I’d been back from furlough in the States and it would be our last date of 2017. So me, having a woman’s intuition, I kinda thought this might be the proposal night. But at that point, everything pointed to “Proposal Night.”
Mario told me that we would have lunch together with his family at his house and then go to the volcano for a coffee and then dinner. (The volcano is really nice and where all the fancy restaurants are). He told me to be ready by 5pm. And I was. The night before, I had used my fancy face mask, in the morning I had shaved my legs (past my knees!) and sugar scrubbed my entire body.
At 5pm, I was ready. Mario…was not. He promised me that he would make the evening “Worth your waiting.” We finally headed up the volcano around 5:30pm. He was on the phone a lot, which really isn’t normal for him. Mario actually complains about how much I am on my phone when we’re together! He told me it was stuff from work and that he was messaging Chris, his sister Monica’s boyfriend, to make sure that we all didn’t end up at the same restaurant for dinner, because they also were going on a fancy date night.
We went to a restaurant called Linda Vista. It’s really beautiful and it has about five different seating areas where you can see a beautiful view of San Salvador. Right when we walked in, we saw Monica leaving! And she was wearing jeans and a t-shirt! I said to Mario, “I thought you said they were doing fancy date night and they were going somewhere else!”
“Yeah, I know. Ugh…Chris. Maybe they just stopped here to take photos and get a coffee.” We didn’t see Monica or Chris after that.
We ordered coffee and cake and admittedly, I was acting weird because I was thinking, THIS IS THE NIGHT!, but at the same time, so many signs were pointing to that it wasn’t “The Night.” Mario questioned my strange behavior. I assured him I was fine, but he kept pushing. So I finally told him, “Look, every time you do something really nice, or out of the ordinary, from now on, I am going to think that you’re going to propose. So I kinda thought tonight was the night.”
“Ohhhh, I understand. I’m sorry baby, but it’s not happening tonight. I just really wanted us to have a nice night together. Please trust me that when it does happen, it will be amazing. I know it’s hard because I haven’t done it yet, but can you trust me? And please stop talking about it because I worked really hard to plan a nice night and you’re kinda ruining it.”
Ugh. Punch to the gut. I didn’t want to ruin the wonderful night he had planned. “Ok ok. Just gimme a few minutes to adjust my perspective here. Thank you so much for planning all this. It really is nice.”
But I of course, was feeling super bummed that it wasn’t going to happen that night. Mid-awkward moment of silence, two photographers approached us and asked if they could take our photos for the restaurant website. I obliged and put on my happy face. I actually probably looked ridiculous, ha! As the night went on, it started to get colder on the volcano because we were up higher, the wind was blowing and I was in a dress. Mario said that he would ask the waitress to move us to a table away from the edge of the volcano for dinner.
The waitress came and told us to follow her to our table for dinner. She led us to a gated area with a sign that said “Authorized Personnel Only.” We walked in and I said to Mario, “ohhh….VIP area! This is nice!” As we continued walking, I saw a small round table with a gold glitter tablecloth, roses on the table, rose petals all on the ground, and photos of us on the wall hanging around the table. There was another smaller table next to it with more roses.
I looked at Mario and started crying and said, “Oh my gosh! I am so sorry I was being jerk! This is beautiful!” Now remember, he told me that he was NOT proposing that night. So I believed him. I was talking myself down in my head, This is not the night, it’s just a really nice dinner, just enjoy it for what it is!
So we sat down, ordered wine and dinner and Mario began a speech about how much he loves me. He told me that 4 important words in his life are friends, family, love and loyalty and with me, he has all of them. It’s very hard for him to give out even one, but he has given me all four. He talked about how much he has seen me grow this year and how much he loves serving God alongside me, and that when he did ask the question, he hoped I would say yes. I responded, “Well, we’ll just have to see because you haven’t asked yet!” His assured me that he was not going to ask that night, he didn’t have a ring with him, but he hoped I would say yes. This is now TWICE that he had said he wasn’t proposing, so during the entire speech, I am telling myself to stop expecting more and that it was a really lovely speech and I was reminding myself how blessed I am to have Mario and I was asking God to help me trust that Mario would ask when the time was right.
Mario’s speech really was amazing. I wish I had it recorded. I tried to reciprocate and probably failed. Dinner came and we ate. It was delicious. I had gnocchi stuffed with three different cheeses and he had pasta alfredo. After we ate, Kristen, one of MY best friends, called Mario! They spent a lot of time together when Mario was with me in Ohio, so it wasn’t TOTALLY weird that she would call him, but still a little weird. I could only hear his side of the conversation…
“Hey girl! Yeah! I am with Ashley! Oh, her phone probably doesn’t have service up here. We’re on the volcano for date night! Oh no, don’t worry, you’re not interrupting! Yeah you can talk to her!” Mario handed me his phone and signaled to me that he was going to the bathroom. Kristen turned on the video chat and I started showing her how beautiful the setting was and lamenting, “Girl! If THIS isn’t proposal night, I don’t know WHAT is! This is absolutely amazing! I don’t know how he could do more than this!” Kristen assured me, “Oh, you know Mario, he’s your romantic Latin boyfriend. I’m sure he has some SUPER romantic thing planned. Just enjoy the night!”
“Yeah yeah yeah…you’re right…” At this point, Mario was walking back towards me, and he now had on a suit jacket. I said to Kristen, “Oh look! Here comes Mario and he’s wearing his jacket…so handsome!” Mario basically ran towards me and filled with assurance and pride, he called out,
“ASHLEY ELAINE AREND -” he got down on one knee and popped open a ring box –
“WILL YOU MARRY ME?!”
And you know my first words?? “KRISTEN MARIE KOLY!” Like, you knew this was happening! I can’t believe you knew! Poor guy. My first response was someone else’s name! Haha! And finally, “YES YES YES! A MILLION TIMES, YES!” And I kissed him and he put the ring on my finger. I later learned that talking with Kristen gave him a chance to literally RUN to the car and get his suit jacket and the ring. So I guess he wasn’t completely lying when he said he didn’t have the ring with him.
Remember those random photographers? Mario hired them to photograph the ENTIRE thing! We even had a little photo session afterwards!
We then went to his house and called as many people as we could before I had to be home (engaged or not, I still have a curfew! But I did get to stay out 45 minutes later, ha!)
It was absolutely perfect. I was genuinely surprised and I’ve never been more sure of anything in my entire life.
Oh, and I am in love with the ring. I’ve been very fortunate to have many nice things in my life, but I have never loved anything more.