Apparently yesterday's announcement took many people by surprise, judging by the response from the Sensibility forums and my blog! Since I haven't given away any clues, that's perfectly natural -- but since I've been "in" on the whole thing, "surprising" is not a word I've been using to describe it!
So I suppose I should introduce you to Pablo, my wonderful fiance!
We first met at church about eight years ago, but we didn't really know each other at that point. Every year the church hosted a conference, which concluded with an old-fashioned Southern Ball. Pablo was always very gentlemanly, dancing every dance and rescuing awkward teenage girls from the ignominy of being wallflowers! I danced with him occasionally, but other than that didn't have much contact with him.
Apparently Pablo first "noticed" me when we were both 15. I was extremely clueless, and remained so for the next four years. We transferred our membership to another church when I was about 16 or 17, so Pablo kept an old church directory so that he would still have our contact information. We continued to attend the Southern balls, and Pablo continued to ask me for dances while biding his time as he finished college. In November of 2007, he asked my dad if he could correspond with me, with the intention of moving toward a courtship and eventual marriage if all went well.
My dad spent some time corresponding with Pablo and made several visits, making sure that the major theological and practical issues were all in order. We started corresponding on January 1st, and began the process of getting to know one another. It quickly became apparent that we agreed on just about everything! We have so much in common, it's almost scary -- but at the same time, his strengths lie in the sciences (though he's a wonderful pianist and an avid reader) and mine lie in the arts, so we complement each other well.
During the following months, we began to visit -- we would visit his family, then they would visit with us, and so on. Pablo started visiting on his own, and his visits became more frequent. We've actually had numerous people (even people in my current church) who have asked if we're siblings! Which is very interesting, considering that we have entirely different ethnic backgrounds...
We started officially courting in October of 2008.
Imagine my astonishment when I found this word verification while leaving a comment on a blog:
A sign, perhaps? *smile*
Pablo proposed at a beautiful state park in our area -- my parents and I went out there supposedly because my mom's birthday was in a few days! It was such a wonderful, memorable day -- although neither of us can remember much about the actual proposal! By the time he proposed, all of our letters (which he has been saving in a Word document) amounted to 1,500 pages. We like to write. A lot.
The hands, heart, and crown of the Irish Claddagh ring
symbolize friendship, love, and loyalty
As for my ring -- well, originally I did not want an engagement ring at all! Jewelry is not my thing, and I had heard that the facets/prongs of diamond rings could cut or scratch babies' heads. But it was something that was important to Pablo. Since I have always loved Claddagh rings, I looked for -- and found -- a ring that was absolutely perfect. By the next morning, it had sold out, and there was nothing else like it to be found among the millions of Claddagh rings on the internet! Lo and behold, when Pablo proposed, he had a ring identical to the one I had found -- using a picture of the ring, he had gone to a jeweler and had one custom designed! So I went from not wanting an engagement ring to not being able to imagine anything different!
A lovely striped rose in the gardens
We don't have a date yet, though we're looking at January of 2010. I am enjoying the early stages of wedding preparations! And yes, I will be making my dress -- though not out of my old standby, the infamous Simplicity 4499, as Keri suggested! *smile* I'll probably be posting some details as the preparations progress.
I am so blessed, and so happy! I can see the Lord's hand throughout our relationship, and I look forward to what He has in store for the two of us. And I can't even begin to express my gratitude to my dear parents, who have been so wonderful -- they have protected me throughout my life, and been supportive and encouraging (not to mention highly involved!) during the correspondance and courtship. I am so grateful for their care and the Lord's guidance!