I had already 'claimed' the right to do the asking - I love planning grand romantic gestures and knew that Ireland would be the perfect place, since we did meet over here and all. I had already hinted to Jennifer to expect it in the spring, but miraculously managed to keep all the details to myself. Seriously, it is a miracle, as I tell Jennifer absolutely everything exciting (and mundane) in my life.
Luckily, the day I had chosen came around and it was glorious out - sunny, warm(ish), dry. I convinced Jennifer it would be a great day for a picnic and we headed out to get supplies. After stocking up on cheese at Sheridans, we headed over to Merrion Square Park, my favorite park in Dublin due to its famous resident, Oscar Wilde. I suggested that we visit the statue of Oscar before eating and Jennifer agreed.
St. Oscar was smiling down on us, because when we got there no other tourists were loitering, so we had the little corner to ourselves. Jennifer started to pull out her camera but I pulled her aside and said I wanted to give her something first. I pulled out Love Poems by Carol Ann Duffy, tied with a ribbon, and gave it to her. I don't really remember everything I said, but there was something about Jennifer being my girl and my partner and that I wanted her to be that forever. Jennifer said 'hi' back, which is what she does when she's not sure what else to say. So cute. Then I told her to open the book, where I had stashed a photo of my favorite neon in Dublin as a bookmark:
The photo marked the spot of my favorite Carol Ann Duffy poem for us, "Words, Wide Night,"* and the spot where I had cut out an opening and tied in her ring. My legs we shaking by this point and I think I was just whispering what I wanted to say. I asked if she would marry me and she said yes! I put her ring on and got out mine (yeah, I bought rings for both of us, I definitely didn't want to be left out!) to put on as well.
We canoodled around Oscar for a bit (another tourist had shown up partway through but I think we were both in out own worlds enough not to be bothered) then finally went to find a cozy spot for our picnic.
My next surprise was a reservation at the Trinity Capital Hotel, this fantastically trippy hotel just a few minutes' walk from Merrion Square. I wouldn't tell Jennifer where we were going, so she got a bit of a surprise when I walked into the lobby and checked us in!
We later had dinner reservations for a lovely wee restaurant above a tiny bookstore, The Winding Stair. It's tight (and noisy!) but the food is amazing. Plus, there are full bookshelves on the walls and huge chalkboards with the day's specials and wine lists.
That's our engagement day (3.24.11) story!
Jennifer wore Heidi braids; I wore a Cecily sweater.
*Words, Wide Night
Somewhere on the other side of this wide night
and the distance between us, I am thinking of you.
The room is turning slowly away from the moon.
This is pleasurable. Or shall I cross that out and say
it is sad? In one of the tenses I singing
an impossible song of desire that you cannot hear.
La lala la. See? I close my eyes and imagine
the dark hills I would have to cross
to reach you. For I am in love with you and this
is what it is like or what it is like in words.