I said I’d write something about our engagement, and here it is!
Flashback to several months ago when I was whining about everyone constantly asking us when we were going to get engaged/married/etc. What I didn’t say in that post is that roughly around the time we moved into our home (October 2014), we discussed marriage at length and decided we would in fact get married. The priorities at the time, though, were a couple renos on the house, followed by the need to save some money for an engagement ring (Josh) as well as for a wedding (both of us). We had known for a while that we would soon be engaged, and the pressure from friends and family was getting old – we were on a path of our own!
So… Fast forward to October 2015, Thanksgiving long weekend, and Josh and I were on a camping/hiking trip in the Cape Breton Highlands. What a beautiful trip! It was my first time in Cape Breton and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Incredible to think that such a place exists in the province we live in – a place that looks so drastically different from the rest of Nova Scotia, with its mountains, valleys, and breathtaking coastal roads and trails.
We camped (okay, fine, ‘glamped’) in an Otentik in the Broad Cove Campground (Otentiks, by the way, are half cabin/half tent accommodations that give you the feeling of camping, but, without having to sleep on the ground or in a legit tent – which, let’s be honest, are the worst parts of camping!). The campground was incredible and we loved staying in the Otentik – it came with a charcoal grill, firepit, picnic table, as well as solar-powered lights and USB chargers for our devices – how cool!
On our second day in CB, on October 11, we set off to hike the Skyline Trail – something I’d been wanting to do for years. I was ecstatic and loving every minute of it. Little did I know, Josh was having a near heart attack – he wrongly assumed the trail would be dead (it was off-season, after all!). But instead, the trail was pretty packed, and we were passing other people every few minutes. Not quite what he was hoping for as a place to propose!
We hit the peak of the trail and enjoyed the incredible views at the look-off decks. I knew at this moment that Josh was stressing about something – he kept looking over his shoulder and was so distracted, I don’t think he heard a word I said! After a few minutes, we decided to pack it in and head back, this time taking a longer, more rugged route back as few people were choosing that option over the nicely paved, flat trail.
We hiked through the woods for a little while before coming up to a bench, where Josh suggested we take a break. He said he wanted to get a snack, and turned to rummage through his backpack. He turned around with a ring, and dropped to one knee before asking me to marry him.
(And of course, given Josh’s luck, a whole family of hikers had come up the trail at this point and were lingering a few feet away, waiting for Josh to finish so they could continue on! They awkwardly muttered “congrats!” and kept going. Awkward. Hilarious. I expected nothing less. Haha.)
We spent the rest of the hike back talking about how excited we were, and Josh filled me in on a few of the little secrets he had gathered during the ring-buying process (like him pretending to go to work one day, waiting for me to leave, and coming back home to accept the ring from the courier, as it was coming from Saint John, NB. And the story of him talking to my dad a few weeks prior and asking for his blessing before proposing. It was so touching to hear about all the things he went through to make his proposal perfect. Which, by the way, we both agree was *imperfectly* perfect).
After we finished our hike, we decided to stop at a pub along the Cabot Trail for a late afternoon bite. It being the Thanksgiving weekend, I was stoked about seeing a full turkey dinner on the restaurant’s menu (hey – we had been hiking for a while, and I’m not one to turn down turkey & cranberries!).
Josh, on the other hand, ordered fish & chips, which proved to be the worst decision of all-time. You’ll see why. Anyway, we enjoyed our meals, warmed up, had some wine, and were ready to head back to the campsite. We had a beautiful drive back, and were preparing to post up for the night. I gave my family in New Brunswick a call to let them know the good news – it was perfect timing, as my brother, sister, parents, and grandmother were all gathering for their Thanksgiving meal. My mom put me on speakerphone so I got to tell everyone our news at once! They cheered and congratulated us and it was truly such a lovely phone call. It was actually the only call I made, given we had little to no cell service. I was dying to tell everyone, but at the same time loved being alone with Josh before sharing our news with the world.
A few hours later, as we cooped up in the Otentik, had a couple drinks flowing, and I think we were playing a game of Scrabble, when Josh’s belly started rumbling. We assumed it was just from the beer, and carried on with our evening.
We went to bed a few hours later, and I was woken abruptly to the sound of Josh, out on the deck of the Otentik, in the rain, completely puking his guts up (I know, disgusting, but trust me – it was actually *worse* than it sounds!). The rest of the night was a constant rotation between running outside, to running the 5 or so minute dash to the washrooms nearby. It was exhausting and terrible and was actually the first time I had seen him sick. He then tells me that at the restaurant he had a brief moment of doubt, wondering if his fish was properly cooked. (I’d say it wasn’t!)
Fast forward a few hours, he finally passed out around 4am. I couldn’t sleep. I let him sleep until about 8:30 before waking him up, as we needed to check out of the park and head back to Dartmouth that morning. The poor guy rallied through and we went on with our day. Needless to say, our first night as an engaged couple was nothing short of romantic!
After telling friends and family about what had happened, we agreed that it was all a life lesson preparing us for marriage – for better, or for worse, after all!