Ed and I are creatures of habit, so our morning started like any other. A cup of Nespresso whilst I get ready, whilst Ed reads through his emails and then races off to the gym. Before leaving the house, my director asked me to ‘dress-up’ as we were expecting important visitors at the Kindergarten. I didn’t think much of it and grabbed an outdated animal print cardigan I hadn’t worn for years and was out the door. It wasn’t until later that I realised that Ed had orchestrated this with Connie (my director) and my best friend, Tessa, who is a colleague of mine.
It was while my Kindergarten class was having a Mandarin lesson when Connie rushed me to her office. She was babbling on about visitors, before a colleague of mine burst open the office door saying it was urgent and I needed to get back to the classroom (they were all in on it). As I walked back into the class I realised that the the Mandarin lesson had taken some creative turn and for some reason all my students were holding incredibly large balloons. Not to mention a gathering of other students, parents and teachers! It was only when I paid closer attention did I realise that the balloons spelt out ‘Marry Me?’ It was at that moment that my gorgeous, now fiancé, dressed to a T, got down on one knee and asked the question… YES YES YES!
We hadn’t been living in Hong Kong for long and with Christmas fast approaching I had started to feel a bit homesick. In order to perk me up, Kieran booked for us to have a family night away with our two year old son at the Disneyland hotel in Hong Kong in order for us to get into the “Christmas spirit” – or so I thought.
After a Wonderful night of dinner, character teas, and bedtime stories, we chose a Disney Movie, all got our pyjamas on and snuggled up in bed. Five minutes into the film, Kieran promptly left the room as he said he had an urgent work call to take. Being a lawyer this happened fairly regularly, so I didn’t think twice about it. Moments after he left the room I received a video call in which he apologised for having to run but he had to leave as he had forgotten something. The “video call” then showed him boarding a plane and visiting Thailand, England and Italy all failing to find what he had forgotten. The video then showed him flying into Sydney and running into the bar where we first met. This is where he found “it”. The video then stopped and I heard a knock at the door where I found Kieran down on one knee with the ring.
Ciaran asked me to marry him last July in the wild Norwegian Fjords after about a year of similar adventure holidays where I was convinced he was going to ask. By the time we arrived on a drizzly day to the Trolls Road to do a hike, I really thought it wasn’t going to happen. He kept storming ahead of me to escape my terrible and loud singing (or so I thought). Instead we came to a stunning waterfall. As we were leaving he asked me to wait as he had a ‘rock in his boot’. He would wind me up with stunts like this a lot so imagine my surprise when he actually pulled a ring from his shoe. He then did a beautiful speech asking me to marry him, of which I heard not one word but of course I said yes! We then drove to Juvet, the incredible eco hotel from Ex-Machina where we stayed the night, drinking verve in the hot tub overlooking rapids and, after a lot of Dutch courage, swimming in the freezing water! It was a day I will never forget. We got married in Ireland on 18.08.18, hopefully our marriage will be as lucky as the numbers!
For the longest time it was our dream to go to Santorini, Greece – something about those white houses and blue roofs called to us. After saving for about a year, we got our tickets. For the months leading up to the trip I kept hinting (half joking) at Aileen that Santorini would be the most amazing place for a proposal and every time she found a counterpoint. So, I assumed she wasn’t ready yet. If I had waited for 6 years I could wait a little more. The time for our trip finally arrived and Santorini was everything we dreamt of and more. We rented a car and drove around the island. On the third day, she told me she had a surprise for me. A van came to pick us up and took us to the marina, where a private yacht was waiting for us to sail into the Aegean Sea.
My heart was beating so fast. The whole ride was beyond my wildest dreams. We jumped in for a dip in the thermal waters and had a chef cook us a delectable Greek feast. When the sun was setting, Aileen knelt down with the island of Thirasia as a backdrop asked me to be her wife. I could not even wait for her to finish the proposal before I said: “yes!”
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I awoke on Valentine’s Day, a day unlike any other, with no mention or acknowledgement that it was a day to celebrate love, and we woke up and went about our day as usual. Andrew picked me up from the office that evening and on the passenger seat was a single red rose. Before I could get overexcited he quickly put a stop to it saying, “it was from one of the kids from school, but you can have it.” Talk about effort! So off we went and drove to one of our go-to restaurants, Jaspas in Sai Kung for dinner.
We ate at the restaurant, reflecting on our days and after stuffing our faces, though it was a drizzly evening, Andrew fancied “walking off the food”. We walked down to the pier which was very secluded with one or two young couples sat on the benches, loved up with huge flower bouquets and teddy bears. The lamps were dimly lit, the kayaks were bobbing on the sea front quietly and the walkway was empty. It was a rather romantic setting and I joked as we walked saying “I wonder if any of these couples are going to get engaged tonight, they look so loved up.” As we walked, I saw a dog that resembled our pup, Chance. As the dog came closer, I realised it was Chance. From his collar, Andrew pulled out a little Chinese silk bag and pulled out a shiny object. At that point, I couldn’t see clearly what it was – until he got down on one knee holding the bright solitaire princess-cut diamond and asked me to marry him. In fits of giggles I was still trying to absorb what was happening. It wasn’t until he said “I’ve already asked your parents” that I realised…. this is it!
My husband and I first met while we were both studying abroad in Rome, Italy. We dated on and off for the next ten years living in New York and eventually Hong Kong. For our ten-year anniversary of studying abroad, we decided to go back to Rome. I remember the morning we landed it was approximately 100 degrees and all I wanted was pizza. Nick insisted on putting on a nice shirt and walking the long way to our favourite pizza place. Blame it on the jet lag but I still had no inkling what was about to go down.
So here we are strolling down this cobblestone street and I am sweating and complaining, when he stops me in front of this building. I look up and realise it’s my old apartment and the place we first met. Next thing I know he is down on one knee and asking me to marry him! I think I blacked out a little (and totally made him ask me again later because I forgot what he said) but next thing I know I have this stunning ring on my finger and my best friend and her fiancé (they happened to also be in Italy) are greeting us with champagne! The rest of the trip was just amazing… he flew my sister in from London to surprise me, and our best friends from when we studied in Rome came out as well! Nick thought of everything and made me feel like the luckiest girl in the world. Our engagement week is something neither of us will ever forget.