At the time, I knew some people would question what I was doing there. I was 1300 miles from home, in a restaurant with too much class for me, opposite a girl with too much class for me, and a small piece of jewelry burning a hole in my pocket. Regardless, there I was, and here I am engaged to the girl of my dreams.
For those of you out there keeping score, the exact date and time of was July 2nd, 2006 at 7:00pm. The trip was basically taken on a whim. My friends Theo and Tarra were going to Anime Expo this year, where the Manga artistic Superteam CLAMP would be making their first American appearance, the anime convention equivalent of Bigfoot doing the Tonight Show. I had a look at the airfares on Travelocity and decided, why the hell not? It was a trip I had been meaning to take for a while now, and I had always put it off due to instability in work, school, life, I figured it was either now or never. It also occured to me that I was taking my girlfriend on a trip to California. I got on the phone with my friends and I hatched a plan that would turn out to be the trip of a lifetime.
We were lucky to get the friendliest customs agent on the planet. He asked Sara and I how long we had been going out and scolded us when we said 3 years. He told me that the chapel in Disneyland might be able to help us out. I really wish I could’ve told him about the ring in my checked luggage.
We spent most of Saturday waiting in line for the CLAMP panel. It was amazing that a media empire was perpetrated by 4 women working away in a small office in Tokyo. We retired to the hotel room with our friends Theo, Tarra, Erin and Ben. It was the Sheraton Park hotel with good view of the fireworks over Disneyland. The next day, we headed out to the convention in costume, Sara was in her chii costume and almost got whisked away by a whole group of fellow chobits cosplayers. I was one of the few, proud, brave Firefly cosplayers to grace the concourse as Captain Mal Reynolds. I had slapped my costume together from stuff from my own wardrobe and value village, but it was enough for a few tourists to take some pictures with me and the rest of my “crew”.
That night we got back into plain clothes and the plan went into action. Sara knew that we would be meeting our friends for dinner at a fancy restaurant in town. Tarra phoned me to tell me that they would be “late” and to hold their reservation. When we arrived at the restaurant, Sara noticed that there was a table for two and asked me if the waiter knew that four more people would be showing up. I gave her a look and she suddenly knew what this was all about. I showed her the ring and asked her to marry me. Holding back the tears, she said yes.
We ordered some appetizers and they brought us some complimentary champagne, but we were too excited to eat. When we got back to the hotel, Sara was walking on air. We showed off the ring, and Tarra provided a band-aid so that it would stay on. We rushed down to the convention Masquerade ball and danced to “Eyes on me”. We wandered over to the Hilton Lobby, and Tarra started announcing our engagement to everyone in earshot. Eventually we ran across some buskers in the convention hall, and Theo had them playing “The Wedding March” for us. They thought they were embarassing us, but in truth, it couldn’t have been any sweeter. On Tuesday we went to Disneyland to celebrate.
We told everybody as soon as we got back to Canada, and so far the reaction’s been positive. We’re hoping to get married in March 2008 to give me time to get through my GIS diploma at BCIT and take advantage of Spring Break while Sara’s teaching. It’s been a turbulent year, and I’ve learned that you can either write your own story, or let others write it for you. I think I’ll be doing the former from now on.