Lianne and Shawn

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Lianne and Shawn

Lianne and Shawn

[three_fifth] [dropcap color=”rosy”]M[/dropcap]y fiance, Shawn, had planned a weekend away to Hogsback last July. We hoped for a real Christmas in July, but unfortunately it didn’t snow that end. We did get the cold though! After a relaxing two days we were on our way to Port Elizabeth (or so I thought) to visit his parents.

We’d only just passed Grahamstown when Shawn turned onto a dirt road. I was confused, but didn’t think much of it as I thought he was just taking a short cut I didn’t know about (my sense of direction is virtually non-existant). But when I asked where he was going, he had such a guilty smirk on his face that my heart started pounding, my stomach went in a big knot and I went blood red! I suspected straight away what was about to happen but I didn’t want to ask. Then Shawn handed me a little jewelry box, looking exactly like the kind an engagement ring would be in! Of course I didn’t want to open it, but afraid to ‘jinx’ the whole thing I didn’t want say why either. . .

Shawn: “Open it!”

Me: “No!”

Eventually Shawn said “It’s not the ring” and though I was still confused as to what would be in there, I started to pull on the little bow on top of the box. I couldn’t get it open so I pulled harder and the whole thing came off! It was just one of those decorative bows with no function but for aesthetics! I was horrified that I’d broken his box and tried to fix the bow back on again but I had just pulled off the glue.

Finally I opened the box (the top simply slides off the bottom – real blond moment there!) and it had a little silver bracelet inside, with ‘S & L’ engraved on it. Shawn said I should turn it around and it read ‘ 22-07-2012′.

Shawn: “What date does it have on there?”

Me: “The 22nd?”

Shawn: “What is today’s date?”

Me: “The 22nd??”

And Shawn carried on driving with an even bigger smirk on his face, while my heart was pounding even faster, the knot in my stomach becoming bigger and my face even more red than before!

I asked him where we were going but he simply said “You will see”. The fences on both sides of the dirt road were becoming higher and had signs on them saying ‘Danger – Lions’ so I was starting to suspect that we were on our way to a game farm, but I didn’t yet know that we were going to Shamwari Game Reserve! Eventually Shawn did tell me because I kept nagging him (like a true future wife haha) and I was extatic!

But at the same time I was still confused because what about the braai with his parents? Shouldn’t we let them know we weren’t coming? I only slowly realized that there was never going to be a braai and I alone had been thinking there was going to be one.

At the gate to Shamwari, the guard needed us to fill out the form and with Shawn’s shaky hands it was up to me to fill it out. Still afraid to say the unsaid, of what was about to happen, I wasn’t sure what to put under ‘reason for visit’ (surely ‘engagement’ would be too presumptious?) so I put down ‘holiday’.

At the reception the very kind ladies welcomed us. I felt a bit awkward as I wasn’t sure how to react – I still couldn’t believe that we were there and what we were there for. We got a welcoming drink in a champagne glass, but the lady at the reception ensured me that it didn’t contain any alcohol (Why not? I thought to myself – I needed it badly to calm my nerves!)

We signed the indemnity forms and they explained everything like which areas were safe to walk at and what time the game drive would be, breakfast in the morning, etcetera (not that I cared) until they finally left us alone.

Shawn took me to the little picnic spot they had set up for us – there were loads of pillows and blankets to sit on and there was already champagne and two glasses! Oh – what are we celebrating? Jokes – of course I knew.

He then gave me a photo book he had made, which was AMAZING. It was like a fastforwarded movie through the two years we have been going out: From the day we first got together at the Fifa World Cup, to the concerts and parties we went to, from little get aways to long summer holidays and especially our travels through Europe. It was so nice to be able to just sit back and relax, take it all in and remember what all we’d done and where all we’d been. It also helped taking both our nerves away and to just enjoy sitting together in the sun, taking a trip down memory lane.

At the end of the book there were a few pages with text.

The first page quoted our favourite Bible verse (1 Corinthians 13:4-8) and some love quotes.

The following pages were filled with promises. After reading each promise, he gave me a present that represented that promise:

Vintage Storage Boxes: A promise to always have a place called home with a place to store all our memories.

(All of the other presents were in these storage boxes).

Bracelet: A promise to replace things that go missing and buy you lots of speciall jewellery.

(This was the bracelet he had already given me. For our 6 months anniversary, he had given me a bracelet as well, which I lost while I was in Cape Town, and found back months later in one of the boxes in which I’d stored my stuff when I moved back to Port Elizabeth. The bracelet was broken, it had obviously slid of my wrist into the box).

Wine & Pasta: A promise to always centre our family around good food and passionate conversations.

Bible: A promise to always guide you and bring you into God’s perfect position for blessing and plan for your life.

Candles: A promise to always bring romance into our lives no matter how old we may be.

Map: A promise to always have exciting travels planned and adventures awaiting.

Engagement Journal: A promise to cherish and record every moment we spend together, never forgetting to make the most of every opportunity that life has to offer.

Love Locks: A promise to always have a future destination for one of our love locks.

(For my blog post on the Getaway website on what love locks are, click here. Shawn and I saw bridges with love locks on for the first time in Italy. But once you pay attention to it, you see them everywhere! We will definitely be taking our love locks on honeymoon, and find a few beautiful destinations to leave our ‘love’ behind – it will be fun to go back years later and see if they are still there!)

Teddy Bear: A promise to always be your source of comfort and love.

At this point, having read through all the promises, with Shawn opening the different vintage boxes to show me the presents that went with the promises, I turned to the final page…

The Ultimate Promise.

A Promise that Will Last a Lifetime

Will You Marry Me?

But I didn’t even have the time to read this page, because Shawn had already opened the last little vintage box, in which an even smaller box (the ring box) was. “Now I have to go on one knee” he said, and he did, and popped the question: “Babes, will you marry me?” I replied: “Of course!” We hugged and kissed and wooooow! There was that beautiful ring.. I was so pleasantly surprised, I didn’t know he had gone for that one and it was just so beautiful and perfect!

We uncorked the champagne (or sparkling juice), had the picnic and took lots of photos.

Next, it was time to get ready for our game drive!

I don’t want to make our Proposal Story too long (*oops* too late!), so to summarize:

After the game drive we had a real romantic supper in the library room of the Game Reserve, Shawn had organized roses all around and they had set a table for two close to the fire and with candles all around. We had a lovely three-course meal!

The next morning we got up early to go for our second game drive and after packing our bags we went off to the next surprises!

Shawn had already told me we were going to stay in accommodation named ‘Addo Palace’ but the GPS got us slightly lost and we ended up taking the ‘scenic route’ over the Zuurberg mountains! Scraping Shawn’s poor little polo over the rocks and splashing through rivers and mud, we eventually made it through this hectic 4×4 track! I can barely believe that we did that, but we have the photos to prove it. It was insane and it took us hours to get to the accommodation, but fortunately we – and the car – were still in one piece, slightly shaken up and with the stress coming out of our ears, it’s a great story to tell the grandkids one day!

Addo Palace was beautiful and we could really relax, have a braai and enjoy the views. We also decided to make our engagement ‘official’ (because it isn’t official until it’s on Facebook) and break the news on the social media. The response was almost overwhelming! It was so nice to read everybody’s well-wishes, read the SMSes and get the phone calls.

The next day we drove to a little airport where a charter-aeroplane took us to the Addo Elephant Back Safari, and that afternoon we finally drove to Port Elizabeth to have supper with his immediate family (my immediate family lives overseas) to celebrate.

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