Life is a process. That is what makes it interesting and worth living. It’s got phases, each with its own expectations. Stepping into every phase signifies growth. I want to talk about what is probably the scariest step in a man's life- proposing. I want to share my personal experience, believing that I might help another man out there (Nick and Edward, do you copy?)
The most important and also interesting part is planning the proposal. This is where all your energy goes. The proposal has to be a real surprise (not sure who invented it). Pulling the perfect surprise for your soon to be fiancé (assuming she doesn’t turn you down and crush your heart into a million pieces) calls for a keen eye. I had a rough time. You'll agree with me that travel and proposals are the best baes. When a lady is taken for a getaway, the experience is enough to excite her and by the time you go down on one knee, she’s already in a receptive state.
In my case, it was different. I have tagged my girlfriend along in a lot of travel plans. She is well travelled. Not much in a getaway would thrill her. I always knew that I wanted to travel and propose while away, probably sipping on mojitos by the beach. I did not want to be in a restaurant - table for two- with a few people around and ask her to marry me. That is too main stream. I had to make the experience amazing even to myself. In July, 2016 I came across a trip to Chale Island organized by Stejos Tours and Travel. Mmmmh that seemed perfect.
The Sands at Chale is the only standalone island resort in Kenya. I had not been there before and neither had she. Without much debate I signed up.
The proposal had to happen between 10th and 12th December, 2016. The next step was to come up with an elaborate plan. I knew a lot of people would go on that trip and that was a good thing, for me at least. However, I still wanted her to be around people she knows and friends to share the happy moment with. I convinced a few mutual friends to sign up and 10 of them agreed to come on board. Stellamaris-the company director - had indicated on the itinerary that there would be an all-white session at the beach. This would be after spending the day at Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park. That would be the perfect time for me to propose. I consulted Stellamaris and Mato (the company team building facilitator) and we formulated a plan. We had to alert the group we were travelling with via Whatsapp. My girlfriend was not included in the Whatsapp group. No one was supposed to breath a word of this to her. For this reason I struggled to act normal.
I booked a two nights stay at Amani Tiwi Beach Resort and booked a one way flight (return leg). This would be the reward for saying 'yes'(again, assuming she didn’t say no and crush my soul to smitherins). Months, weeks and days passed, and December was finally here with us. I had to buy a ring (for obvious reasons). Seeing that she is not a fan of rings it was very hard to locate a ring she wears so that I could get the measurements right. The only thing I knew was that she loves Silver. I remembered a time she had worn a ring on her middle finger and as I was playing with it, it fitted on my ring finger. This is what saved me. I knew I could get a ring that fitted her middle finger. I knew she would be comfortable with it and that is the most important thing. The guys at the shop couldn't believe I was risking like that. They even warned me that if the ring does not fit her finger I can’t return for replacement or refund.
The day finally arrived and we arrived at the Sands at Chale Island.
This is simply paradise for lack of a better word. We were all excited and happy.
The first day was calm. We relaxed, went swimming and strolled on the beach.
On the second day, we left for Kisite Mpunguti Marine Park in search for dolphins and maybe do snorkeling.
This was the best experience ever. Interesting enough, guys in the group did not know what time or when the proposal was going to happen. Some actually thought I would propose in the boat enroute Kisite Mpunguti. The good thing is that everyone kept calm and no one leaked information to the Queen of Chale. I was waiting for the sunset. By now it’s no secret that I love sundowner.
Unfortunately, time was not on our side. By the time we got to Chale Island, it was a few minutes past 6pm. We were hungry and exhausted. Everyone was thinking only about food. Stellamaris requested that we freshen up and have an early dinner, but if anyone felt hungry later on in the night then they could order for food then. She also suggested we have an all-white dinner. With the sunset now gone, the beach session was not necessary. As we were preparing ourselves, my girlfriend started complaining of a slight headache and wanted to take a 1 hour nap. Oh no! I couldn’t let her close her eyes even for 2 minutes. She had no idea what was awaiting her. I thought up a plan and convinced her that it was better to go and take a few pictures in white, have dinner then come back to the room. This way, we would relax once and for all. She agreed. Me genius plan had worked. Whoop whoop!
A few minutes to 7pm, we were at the beach. Here, we met a professional photographer by the name of Mo from Pop up Studios. I had requested him to take a few pictures of the occasion, capture the moment. Since the other guys were not there yet, we decided to test out our cameras while searching for the perfect spot. She became the model.
"Move right, move left, come forth, move backwards." We were busy instructing her. Mato Mato arrived. He was the appointed MC. Perfect for the plan, my girlfriend excused herself to go to the little girls’ room. This gave the perfect opportunity to cement the idea and decide how it was going to happen. We had to rush it because people were hungry. When she came back, a good number of people had come. Mato Mato started with a few games to break the ice and get everyone hyped.
A few minutes were enough for him to make everyone forget about dinner and focus on the giant at hand.
The idea was to land the Queen of Chale on a raised platform alone. I would then kneel on a flat ground and do the needful. I started getting nervous. I noticed guys darting their eyes back and forth at me and her.
As we danced to Mato Mato's tunes, she landed on the platform. This is when everything came to a standstill. The ball was passed to me and I had to score.
I could gather my thoughts, Mato Mato suggested we take a group photo. This bought me a few minutes to put myself together and figure out which words to use. After posing for the picture the moment of truth arrived.
I held her hand, moved her closer to the camera, looked into her eyes, declared my undying love for her and went down on one knee.
This happened so fast that she got confused. She started to cry. She couldn't control her tears. I think she forgot that I was kneeling. At this moment, my heart was beating at 200 beats per minute.
Everyone went quiet and was looking at her. 'Yes, I will marry you' she murmured after she finally managed to get it together.
Phew! I felt relieved. Only God knows what I would have done had she said 'No'. I was overwhelmed with happiness. For the first time I got a kiss in public. For a minute there I panicked. Tears couldn't stop flowing down her cheeks. I felt like crying with her. I felt like we were now one.
After a brief photo session, the buffet was waiting. A romantic table for two was set a few meters away from the other tables. This set up was not in the restaurant but by the beach. How much more awesome could this turn into? The table was surrounded with dim lighting giving it a romantic ambience. I could not recall a time when I had been this happy.
Congratulatory messages kept coming and sharing the moment with her friends made her even happier.
On the third day, the caravan was heading back to Nairobi. I told her that I had planned for us to spend one night in a bed and breakfast in Ukunda Town, then head back to Nairobi the next day.
She welcomed the idea and added that it would give her the opportunity to calm her nerves after all the excitement. I ordered a taxi from Ukunda. I convinced the driver to use a different route and before she could figure out where we were going, we were at Amani Tiwi Beach Resort!
She had been there before and she loved it. I thought it would be a good idea to bring her back. She started crying again. She was overwhelmed by surprises. I had to calm her down before we proceeded to the reception. She had me promise that that was the last surprise. I didn’t have a choice. For this reason I had to disclose the rest of the itinerary. We enjoyed our stay at Amani Tiwi Beach Resort for 2 nights and thereafter flew back to Nairobi with new titles.
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