Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mexico and A Very Decent Proposal

Sometime during my second semester of my sophomore year at ACU (spring of 1998), I made the decision to transfer back home and prepare to go to nursing school.  Brandon and I were dating, and we both knew by this point that someday we would be getting married.  No time soon, we were both 19 years old for crying out loud, but I was so done with being 3 hours away from him.  I was a biology major at ACU, and I knew that if I was going to marry a youth minister, I may need to be able to find a job whether we lived in a big city, or in the middle-of-nowhere South Dakota.  Thus the decision to pursue a nursing degree.  So I transfered and moved back in with my parents.  I still lacked a bunch of prerequisites I needed, so I was officially on the 5 year college plan.

In the summer of 1999, I was getting ready to start nursing school in August and was short a few elective hours.  The school of nursing I had been accepted to was offering 6 hours of elective credit for a "Cross-Cultural Nursing Experience" that summer.  We would go to a couple of classes, then spend 2 weeks in San Miguel, Mexico attending Spanish language and culture classes and completing an independent research project loosely related to the field of nursing.  Actually, my research partner was a pre-dental student, and we did some kind of project related to dentistry in Mexico.  I have no idea what the project was.  I have vague memories of wandering around a dentist office in San Miguel.  But I'm sure I learned a lot about dental practice south of the border.  

This was my first experience of "college culture" since my ACU days (the year of nursing prerequisites at the local community college doesn't really count.)  I knew I wasn't in Kansas anymore when our professors hosted a cocktail party for us students on our first night in Mexico.  I'm pretty sure that never happened at ACU.  At ACU, my organic chemistry study partner got expelled for being seen drinking at a party.  I think he's a doctor now.  

The students stayed in pairs with host families in San Miguel.  Interestingly enough, my roommate was another former ACU student.  We were the same age, and had lived in the same dorm our freshman year before she transferred out and got married.  The family we were staying with had a college-age son, with several college-age friends.  

We went with our host family to Mexico City one weekend for a soccer game.  I didn't understand why they had hired a chauffeur to drive all of us to the game that day, until I watched everyone except for my roommate and I consume vast quantities of beer at 9 am in the suburban.  Apparently, they did not consider breakfast the most important meal of the day.  It never occurred to them to drink, I don't know, MILK with their breakfast that morning.  Or perhaps a "Dane Mimosa", which is made up of OJ and Sprite.  A morning favorite in our house.  

I also watched as my roommate cheated on her husband with a random guy from Mexico, and get herself invited on a beach vacation with him.  She almost didn't get back on the plane to come home.  Seriously.  I am not kidding.

Needless to say, it was a long 2 weeks in Mexico for me.  I could not wait to get home, sleep in my own bed, and eat regular food.  I had to eat an avocado covered with tuna fish one night in Mexico, and with the help of therapy and a lot of chips and salsa, I have almost recovered.  It was very traumatic.  There was also an unfortunate incident related to me going to a "discoteque".  Nothing noteworthy happened at the discoteque, but nerdy white chicks like me who can't hold their liquor and have no rhythm, have no business in a Mexican nightclub.  I also really missed my super-hunky boyfriend, Brandon.  I woke up that final day in Mexico, and put on the last clean clothes I had.

By the way, did you know there are places in Mexico that will do your laundry, ALL of your laundry, for just a couple of bucks?  They even iron and fold everything, and it just takes them a couple of hours or so.  You just drop off your laundry bag in the morning, then pick up your clothes after lunch, and they're all clean and folded for you.  The one thing I miss about that trip.

Anyway, I land in DFW and am greeted by Brandon and my parents.  I am tired, HOT, sweaty, and wearing the last thing I had clean, which was a blue hawaiian-type print shirt (but a little cuter than "hawaiian print") and navy blue shorts with tennis shoes.  I was smokin'.  We all get to my house and I proceed to tell a hundred little stories about Mexico while sitting in the kitchen drinking a coke and dreaming about non-avocado-tuna food, like my mom's calzone (pronounced cal-zoney).   It was SO GOOD to be back home, and have the rest of the summer ahead of me to work and play and hang out with Brandon, with no weird college-in-Mexico classes to attend.

As I'm talking, my mom has interrupted me several times to ask me if I want to go upstairs to see the cat.  Random!  It was weird.  I'm very busy telling you all about my trip, thank you very much!  Brandon was just sitting listening to me ramble on very patiently.  

Finally, I decided to go upstairs.  Brandon followed me.  On the stairs, there was a trail of Hershey kisses, so I followed it.  It led into my bedroom where it formed the shape of a heart, then led through the bedroom to the bathroom.  I thought it was a sweet thing to do for me since I just got back.  What a good boyfriend I have.

In my bathroom, the shower/tub has one of those sliding doors.  The doors are shut, but I can see something in the tub.  So I open the door, and this is what I saw:

Holy smokes, that's way more flowers than usual in my bathtub.  Usually there's just a couple of flowers in there.  I was a bit speechless.  And still had no idea what was coming next.  After all, I was still wearing the sweaty hawaiian print shirt and smelled like a Mexican airport.  Above all the flowers, on the wall of the tub, was a sign, written by Brandon, complete with colored illustrations.  The sign read:

Now that I have kissed the ground you walk on,
And showered you with flowers,
Turn around.

When I turned around, there was Hot Brandon.  On one knee in my bathroom.  With a beautiful ring in his hand.  And me in my sweaty hawaiian shirt.

I always thought that when Brandon proposed, I would probably see it coming.  I figured there would be something "planned", and I would have cute hair and be wearing an outfit I loved with little sandals and freshly painted toenails.  And here was my favorite person in the world on one knee in my bathroom.  And have I mentioned the weird hawaiian print shirt?

I couldn't have planned it better myself.

To say he caught me completely by surprise would be like saying my children are just a little energetic.  Understatement of the century.  Brandon and I had been talking about marriage since our first Christmas together, but he still had a year of college left, and I was about to start 2 years of nursing school.  We had discussed getting married the following year, and I thought maybe we would be getting engaged that summer, but I had no idea he had that in mind.

He later told someone that he had proposed next to the toilet so he would have somewhere to vomit just in case I said no. 

Always prepared, that boy.
After I had taken a much needed shower and changed clothes (I did not shower in the flower-tub), we took a bunch of pictures and went to his house to show his family my BEAUTIFUL RING.  Unfortunately, in all the pictures, I am wearing all the clothes that I didn't like well enough to take to Mexico with me.  But I know it's hard to see what I'm wearing, because all you can see in any of those pictures is a huge smile on my face and my BEAUTIFUL RING.  There's nothing like that look on a girl's face who has just gotten engaged.  That alone makes the ring worth every penny.  

Brandon's changed a lot since that picture, hasn't he?  I think his hair's a little longer.

The roommate?  She's still married.  Her and her hubby worked it out.

And the hand-illustrated sign?  It is framed on my bedroom wall.


BrooksFamily said...

You tell that story so much better! I heard it either from Val or Brandon....they didn't do it justice :)

keri said...

Too sweet!

andy said...

I didn't know you got engaged on January 11, 1994!!

PS I heard something about the bathroom proposal, but didn't know why or what... It TOTALLY makes sense now, nicely done Brandon!

Mandy said...

The date was off on the picture. I have no idea what date we got engaged. I think it was June 1999 (maybe July...)

Brand al Thor said...

I was 16 in 1994!