Yes, you read that right: he said yes. As many of you know by now, on Thursday December 14th, after over six years of being together I decided to finally pop the question. We had a long day of adventuring around Toronto and I ended it off by asking Matt to marry me. It was a wonderful day that we spent together, one that I’m not bound to forget, but just in case I thought I’d write it all out and share it with you.
The day started with a little set up of chocolate and tea at home which included the first of Matt’s adventure cards. Back in the spring I had custom cards made up by Zazzle that invited Matt to accompany me to different places throughout the city. These were all places we had been to before, and they were mostly places that had a part of Toronto’s history in them. I had each new card stowed away in my bag, ready to lead him to the next place.
To start the day we headed off to Snakes and Lattes Annex to have some snacks and to play some board games. We have been to this board game cafe a handful of times and it is part of the reason we now have hundreds of dollars of games on our tv shelf. We spent quite a bit of time playing games, ending off the first stop with a quick round of Marrying Mr. Darcy (yes, I’m that extra). Still, Matt had no idea what was going on.
The next card brought us to the St. Lawrence Market for lunch. We shared the famous peameal on a bun and brought home a game sausage. The fun part about this stop is that it holds the venue that we want to get married in. I first visited the Market Kitchen with my mom (you can check it out here) and after showing it to Matt we decided it was perfect for us. When we walked in Matt remarked “when should we book the venue?”, I wanted to laugh, knowing he didn’t know what was still coming. Instead, I played dumb.
He guessed the next stop once I told him it was going to be cold and given the time of the year. We were off to the Christmas Market for schnitzel, spiked hot chocolate, and a quick run in with our best friend (thanks Kee for not giving away the surprise). It was even colder than expected so the visit was short and sweet but we got our fill of market eats and Christmas lights. With frozen noses and shivering hands we headed to the next part of the adventure: Benihana’s at the Royal York.
Benihana’s is a Sushi & Japanese steakhouse with hibachi style dining as an option. In a way it’s dinner and a show which made it a unique adventure. There’s a groupon for the restaurant that makes it a little more affordable but with optional add ons it’s still a luxury night out. It’s definitely more than I’m usually willing to pay for dinner but it was a special day and the food was absolutely amazing. Stuffed, and perhaps a bit tipsy from the two person margarita we ordered, I handed Matt the final adventure card.
Our last stop was Union Station, which is my favourite building in the city. Some time ago Matt made a comment about how it would be cool if we could just get married there, and that was what kind of solidified my choice to have the actual proposal there (the original spot was Casa Loma). We walked inside with the pretence that we were just heading home. I declared I wanted to go into the great hall to see the Christmas decorations just so we wouldn’t head right to the subway. We did indeed check out the Christmas decorations (including these holiday windows that Matt insisted on seeing while I was anxiously waiting to deliver the final surprise) and then I pulled him back into the Great Hall. He protested as the signs to the subway pointed in a different direction which is when I finally gave in and told him I had a poem he needed to hear.
Slam poetry has become something that has helped me understand myself. I’ve listened to many artists that somehow capture my experiences in words that I would have never thought it. It’s something I’ve shared with Matt to help him understand too. Despite loving this art form, I’ve never conceived a poem myself. I used to write poetry a lot as a kid, mostly sappy stuff to take home to my mom to tell her I loved her. I decided my first performed slam poem would be a good way to propose. I was going to keep the poem just between the two of us, but I’m actually rather proud of it and it’s something I don’t want to lose. So here it is:
Short months ago,
scaffolding had taken over this space like jungle vines creeping along historic stone.
The building was in need of much restoration and perhaps a little change.
The same could be said about me when we first met.
I was crumbling from the inside out,
a broken foundation and unsteady walls.
What a surprise it was that the boy who had been too afraid to kiss me
became the very scaffold that would hold me up.
Like this building, I took years to fix.
Pain and depression had become cemented in my head
they needed to be taken out with fine tools.
You see, I’d already tried a jackhammer.
I needed something gentler;
an endless phone call in the middle of the night,
a long drive in traffic just to say hello,
you were the chisel that helped carve out the darkness.
Like this building I have been restored.
I have been changed.
And with your help, I did not crumble in on myself.
I am lucky to have fallen in love with a beanstalk who makes me laugh to the point of gasping for air.
Who brings an embarrassed smile to my lips that makes my cheeks ache.
Who sees tomorrow when I cannot.
Every adventure I have set out before us you have come on without question,
taking my hand and letting me drag you from one world into the next.
It is this thought that brought about this day,
a grand adventure through the history of our new home,
but also through our history as well.
It’s hours of board games and a love as sweet as apple cider,
the bustle of the market, and the grandeur of a regal hotel.
But mostly it’s just the girl in Union Station,
no train ticket or place to be,
wide eyes looking to the ceiling as though she was gazing at the stars.
And it’s you, the boy she loves, looking at her like she is starlight herself.
So here I am, the girl in Union station,
with another adventure in mind,
my hand outstretched for you to take once again.
This time, it comes with a question.
At this point I handed Matt his pocket watch, after struggling to pull it out of the plastic bag that sat in my pocket. I was supposed to say the words but instead I let him read the question that was engraved on the front: will you marry me?
He didn’t actually say yes at first, he wrapped me in a hug, and I mumbled the age old is that a yes to which I got a shaky positive response. The next few minutes were spent in laughter as Matt ended up with a nosebleed and we ended up sitting in the station waiting for that to end. It sounds like a disaster but in the end it couldn’t have been more us.
Throughout the day we took little videos of where we were and what we were doing. I lied and told Matt that I wanted to try and make my first vlog to compliment a blog post. I suppose this was kind of true since I’m now using it here but in reality I wanted to put together an announcement video that recapped the whole day. I hope you all like it.
The question I’ve heard the most since announcing that I proposed is “did you just get tired of waiting?” and it makes me laugh. I get where this idea comes from but it’s also another reminder that Matt and I don’t fit those typical expectations. He is most definitely the one who has been waiting. When we started getting serious I put down the rule that I didn’t want to get engaged until after university. Then, when I graduated two years ago I told him not to even think about it. Over the years my opinion on marriage has shifted in and out of favour, there have been many times when I thought we would just go the way of my parents and not bother. I’ve never thought any piece of paper or contract would define our relationship, and I still don’t. But I’ve decided I want the celebration, and that we deserve it after all the ups and downs we’ve been through.
Of course that still doesn’t fully answer the question; why did I end up doing it? It certainly wasn’t because I didn’t think Matt was never going to. In fact, I have had so much anxiety in the last year just worrying that he might beat me to it. I decided I wanted to be the one to propose because it gave me some control over a somewhat stressful situation. It allowed me to decide when exactly I was ready and what I was comfortable with. Along the way I decided I wanted the day to just be the two of us, and who knows what it might’ve been if Matt had proposed. I’m sure he would have come up with something amazing but I also knew my planning talents would be wasted if I didn’t take this chance.
There are lots of studies that suggest most men still aren’t in favour of women taking on this task. The gender roles in proposing and marriage seem to be still very contrasted. This is part of the reason I asked Matt if he’d be comfortable with me proposing almost two years ago. I told him it wasn’t anything immediate (his friends didn’t believe me since we were leaving for Paris a month later) but I just wanted to know his thoughts. He said he wouldn’t mind, and that it would take a lot of pressure off of him. I’m known for my over the top thoughtful gifts (which is why he didn’t suspect anything) so he was worried about living up to that. It was the perfect fit really; he was anxious about doing it, I was anxious about not having control, switching roles worked out better for us. Plus, this is the comment we’ve heard most of all when people find out I did it:
Yeah, that makes sense.
I’ve been overwhelmed by the support and excitement I’ve received from everyone who has found out, whether it’s been the past few days or over the last few months when I shared my plans with friends, family, and my work in the middle of a staff meeting. So many people have told me they think it’s awesome that I did it, and I honestly cannot be happier that I chose to. We had so much fun on our adventure and it’s been so exciting to share it with everyone. If there’s anything I’ve learned from all this, it’s that it doesn’t matter what anyone else expects, as long as it makes you happy.