Sunday, April 24, 2016

La Fin

I took a little break to write about wedding details, but now it's time to go back to the story of how we got to where we are today.

In case you missed any of the previous installments-
The "flying to other countries to hang out" stage

Last May, in 2015, David moved to Wisconsin to start a year-long internship. He needed to do an internship in order to graduate from his French university with a master's degree. David always planned on doing the internship in the U.S., but I don't think he planned on doing it in Germantown, WI until he met a certain girl. Luckily for us, my dad is also a computer programmer and was nice enough to arrange an internship!

I was home in May since I had to come back from Israel for a few months to get knee surgery. David stayed at our house for the first month he was here before moving into the apartment that, props to me, I found and worked out splendidly.

At the beginning of June we went on our first road trip together to Mall of America in Minnesota. A few weeks later, it was fun to have David around for Jenna's wedding festivities, the Bishop family reunion, and the 4th of July. On July 5th, I flew back to Israel for another semester of school. Those 2 months we spent together in WI had been the longest we'd ever lived in the same place. 

I flew back home for my 6 week school break at the beginning of September. This was one of the best periods of our dating. By that time, David was totally settled and self-sufficient in America. Also, fall in Wisconsin is amazing. Before I flew back to Israel for my last semester of school, we went on our second road trip: down to Kansas and Missouri. I don't know when it happened exactly for David, but this was the stage of our relationship when I felt things got "serious."

A few months later, we reunited in France during the first week of December. He was home to present his master's thesis. This was not a great trip for various reasons and the way those unfortunate events were handled. It almost made me feel unsure about how well our relationship had been going. Thankfully, everything felt normal again when we reunited in WI for Christmas.

Theme of this post: I flew back to Israel once again for school, this time right after Christmas. That last month we were apart was actually the first time I seriously thought about getting married someday (for David, that happened a lot sooner ;). We talked on the phone for at least an hour every day- usually longer.

At the end of January I moved home for good. Since then, we've actually been able to have a normal-person relationship where you get to see the person you're dating every day without gaps of several months where you live in different countries. That's all it took- after about 2 months of dating like normal people, this happened.

To summarize our "story", we've known each other for just a little over 2 years. During that time, we've lived on the same continent for about 7 of those months. In between, we visited each other on other continents 5 times, David moved here to do an internship in my hometown, and I attended 3 semesters of school in Israel. It's a little unorthodox, but it ended up working out. Personally, I think it would make a decent movie ;)

If anyone's interested in how the wedding planning is progressing- we officially booked a venue, the Waukesha Rotunda, and I went dress shopping for the first time. We also both started applying to jobs in the Paris area. There's a lot of details to still work out, but it's pretty fun "work" to do.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

The when, where, and why: wedding edition

You know what's really, really fun? Wedding planning.

When we got engaged, we didn't have any sort of idea about when to get married. Before we could even think about that, we had to make the big decision about which visa option we wanted to go with. I knew exactly 0 things about the American immigration process before, and I've since learned that it's extremely complicated.

One option we looked into was the K1, or 'fiancé visa.' You apply when you get engaged, and then there's a waiting period of 6-8 months before the foreign fiancé can enter the US to get married. Then they can get a green card and live in the US indefinitely. We ultimately decided not to go with this option because of the long waiting period, having to be apart for months, not being able to plan a wedding because it's at the whim of the government when the visa is approved (and you must be married in 90 days of the foreign fiancé entering the country), and also because David wouldn't be able to work for at least 4 months after he got here.

The downside is that I have to give up my job, but the thing is... I'm still trying to finish my master's. I don't think it was realistic anyways for me to work full-time next fall and also finish my degree.

We decided to get married first before going through the American immigration process. What that means is we can do it whenever we want to, and also that we have to spend the first year of our marriage outside the US. Since David has that handy dandy European Union passport, we basically have the choice of living anywhere in Europe (such a problem to have, am I right?). We considered other places in France, Switzerland, and the UK... but is there any place better than...

No, obviously there is not. It's not official official yet, since David kind of needs to have a job there to facilitate us moving there. But that's the plan!! I can hopefully get some kind of job teaching English. There are SO many European travel plans swirling around in my head already. Shalom and bonjour will live on!!

After we get married, we can apply for David to get an immigrant visa to be able to move to the US. The wait time for that is about a year, so that's the amount of time we'll plan on staying in my favorite city in the world, Paris, before moving back to my favorite state, Wisconsin.

So back to the wedding plans. I'm aware that a lot of Mormons feel like they can plan a wedding in like 2-3 months, but that's not my style. We thought it would be ideal to have about 6 months to plan. After doing some preliminary planning, we decided on the end of September. A fall wedding sounds lovely to me!

The first thing to decide on was the temple. Mormons get married in temples instead of just normal church buildings. 

When you don't live in the West, or the 'Book of Mormon belt' as some jokingly refer to it, temples are few and far between. I definitely didn't want to get married in Utah, although there are beautiful temples there. My parents got married in Washington D.C. because in 1984, that was the closest one to Milwaukee. We considered doing that, but it happens to be closed for maintenance during the time period we were looking at.

The closest one to us now is in Chicago. It was never in the cards to get married there because I'm not a fan at all of the look of it. Yeah, I'm a little high maintenance.

I kind of envisioned for most of my life that I would get married in the Nauvoo temple. It's about 5 hours south of us in Illinois, and is the second closest one after Chicago. I always liked the church history angle, and I like the more old-fashioned classic style of it.

We eventually ruled it out because we liked the idea of being unique and having our "own" temple that no one else we knew got married in. Also, Nauvoo is a town of about 1000 people and there is NOTHING close by. I'm not eating at a crap restaurant in Iowa to celebrate my wedding. Again, hi, I'm a little high maintenance.

The wild card temple we both felt good about right away was Palmyra, New York. Knowing how much we like to travel it makes sense that we would travel for our wedding. Palmyra is also a small town, but it's 8x as big as Nauvoo and much closer to big cities. It looks New England-y to me because everything there is red brick and cute. We are still getting the church history angle that we liked. I've been inside the Palmyra temple, and you can actually see the Sacred Grove from the windows. The other big reason for choosing Palmyra was how beautiful it is in the fall. I went there a few years ago at the beginning of October and WOW.

It won't quite be the height of fall on September 28th (that's the day!), but I'm still anticipating some lovely changing leaves in our wedding pictures. I did my research. This is northern New York and it's where the leaves start changing first.

Another plus of Palmyra is that it's about 1.5 hours away from Niagara Falls. We'll do a mini one night honeymoon there. We're planning on our real honeymoon being in Greece :) :)

I'm a visual person... I need pictures to envision these things because everything seems too good to be true at this point.

The last major planning step is figuring out the reception. We're going to have it at one of 2 places on September 30th here in WI.

For the life of me I can't decide on which venue I want. We toured 2 places that both have their pros and cons. Hopefully sometime this weekend we can nail something down.

The Milwaukee County Historical Society is drop dead gorgeous. It's in downtown Milwaukee. Of course, you have to pay for the beauty. It also seems like a slightly more awkward layout than the other place. I just can't seem to say no to it because hello, it looks like this. This is like who I am created in room form.

The Waukesha Rotunda is the other place we're thinking about. It's also elegant, but not as gorgeous. It looks like the Pantheon in Rome, so that's kind of cool. The layout and size are better and it seems a little easier with less to worry about because more things are included and it's set up as a venue. The Historical Society is actually a museum.

I can see us having a great party at either place. The caterer we like is available at both locations. We found one that will work wonderfully with the David and Marissa picky eater club. Can you say sliders and mac and cheese as wedding entrées?

So, anybody want to choose for us? We almost resorted to "eeny meeny miney moe" last night.

In conclusion, we're so excited and happy. We hope lots of our loved ones can join us to celebrate. Can't wait for September!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

10,000 miles: August 2014-March 2015

This was the stage of our relationship that involved flying back and forth to other continents in order to hang out. I decided to add up all of the miles that we traveled to see each other.

Once I got home to America, I wasn’t entirely sure if I ever wanted to talk to David again. Besides him being weirdly intense that day in Paris, I just didn’t see logistically how we would ever be on the same continent again.

That changed when we started having weekly video chats. It made me remember that he was usually fairly normal and I really enjoyed talking to him ;)  Another game changer was that pretty soon after I moved back home, he decided that he was determined to come visit me in WI. I was slightly skeptical, but mostly excited to play tour guide and to have my family help me decide if he was cool.

Drive Gap, France -> Geneva, Switzerland, Flight Geneva, Switzerland -> Chicago, IL, Drive Chicago -> Germantown: 4610 miles

After talking about once a week and being apart from April-August, we picked him up at O’Hare on August 14th, 2014. We spent a week doing things both with my family and just the two of us... Nauvoo, downtown Milwaukee, Chicago, and Madison, and even a Packer game. It ended up being fun and not awkward.

On one of his last days in WI (August 24th), we decided to officially be in a relationship. We weren’t sure exactly when we would see each other again, but we made tentative plans for him to visit Israel in winter and for me to visit France in spring.

We continued video chatting once a week and texting every day when he went back to France. I eventually moved to Israel in October. One day when I got a little bored in class, I did some research about flight prices between Israel and France. I realized how cheap it was, and that it might actually be doable to go on a trip sooner than expected.

This wasn’t entirely David-related, but it was definitely one of the major factors. I got the idea about going when I heard that he was going to spend the weekend in Strasbourg for the opening of the Christmas markets. I definitely couldn’t let him go to MY city without me, especially during the magical Christmas season.

Besides wanting to see him again, I hadn’t been to France since April. This was the middle of November, and I was starting to suffer from not being there for so long. The struggle was real.

I immediately decided that it would be more fun if I didn't tell him I was coming and instead just showed up in his country and surprised him. I bought my tickets and just 3 days later I flew to France.

Train Haifa, Israel -> Tel Aviv, Flight Tel Aviv-> Paris, France, Train Paris -> Strasbourg: 2361 miles

We had a pre-scheduled video chat, so I did it from my hotel room in Strasbourg. I offered to show him the "view from my dorm in Israel." I showed him the view out of my window, which was clearly France, and he didn't catch on quite yet. His response was "Wow, Israel looks a lot like Europe!" haha  Eventually I convinced him that I was actually in France and then he was excited.

We had an extremely fun weekend wandering through the Strasbourg Christmas markets and decorations. One of the highlights was when we were supposed to be doing a scavenger hunt with the other YSAs, but we got separated from them in the huge crowd so we just did our own thing. That was so unfortunate! Another highlight was walking across the border to Germany together, just because you can do that from Strasbourg.

This mini weekend trip turned out really well! There's nothing more magical than Strasbourg during the Christmas season. It filled the void I was feeling from missing France, and it reaffirmed our decision to be dating despite living on different continents.

Train Grenoble, France -> Strasbourg, France, Flight Strasbourg, France -> Tel Aviv, Israel: 2246 miles

I went home to WI for Christmas. On the day I flew back to Israel, David met up with me in the Tel Aviv airport. There were a few little hiccups during the first few days- trying to get my lost luggage back, needing to book David a different hotel past midnight because it was too late to check into the one he already booked, his credit card getting blocked, me being an idiot at figuring out the Haifa bus system, and me being super jet lagged and then getting a bad cold on top of that.

However, we persevered. We celebrated our first and only New Year's together in my little dorm room. The next day we saw the Bahai Gardens in Haifa, and then headed to Jerusalem for the weekend the day after that. Good memories include (surprisingly) getting lost on the bus in Haifa and getting soaking wet in the rain in Jerusalem and taking refuge in Dormition Abbey. Oh, and hearing him say the 2 Hebrew words he knows, Shalom and Toda, to literally every person he came across. It was really fun to show him some of my favorite places in Israel. 

BYU Jerusalem Center
Jerusalem Dome of the Rock
Haifa Baha'i Gardens
I was proud of David for navigating around by himself on public transportation despite never traveling internationally alone before. I mean, I obviously couldn't date someone who's incapable of getting around in a foreign country where they don't speak the language. That's like my favorite hobby.

David's Israel trip turned out to be another successful international outing for us.

Train Haifa->Tel Aviv, Flight Tel Aviv -> Geneva: 1885 miles

We didn't have too long to wait until the next one. During my break between semesters about 2 months later, I met up with David and his family in Geneva, Switzerland. It was my first time meeting his family. Not only did I meet his parents, but I met multiple aunts and uncles and cousins. They kept asking me why I wasn't talking more, and I was thinking, uh, because I'm meeting a huge group of people for the first time and it's all in a foreign language.

All of his family was very nice, and they took me sightseeing around in Switzerland and France, despite a blizzard in Lausanne. After a few days staying at both his aunt and uncle's house and his parents', me and David took off alone for some more adventures. We made a stop in Strasbourg before heading to Paris for the rest of the week. It was one of the best vacations of my life. The highlight was the day we spent in Versailles. It happens to be both of our favorite place in France. How could it not be? We ended the day taking the train back to Paris, falling asleep, waking up and then 5 seconds later deciding to jump off early and go hang out at the Eiffel Tower to watch it sparkle at night.

Another point for David on this trip was that he successfully carried my 50 pound suitcase all over the country, most notably up and down lots of stairs in the Paris metro. That was another requirement I had for whoever I dated ;)

The next month, we came this close to meeting up in Greece for a pretty epic trip. Unfortunately, I ended up needing to fly home to get knee surgery instead. Good thing David was moving to America in a few months...

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Is Paris always a good idea?

Our fifth date was in Paris. I just wanted to repeat that. Years later, it doesn’t stop being cool. I had to spend the night in Paris the day before my flight home to America since I had an early morning flight. Quel dommage. Not.

David didn’t have class that day, so we met up at the Gare du Nord for a last day of sightseeing together. Once again, it was my job to be the tour guide. David, a real live French person, had never been to Paris. However, me, a real live American person, was in Paris for the 5th time. Go figure.

I stuck to the typical touristy highlights since we only had a few hours. We started out at Notre Dame, then walked over across the Seine to the Centre Pompidou to have lunch in that area. It should be noted that since I had previously joked about David not getting the true Parisian tourist experience since he spoke perfect French and people wouldn’t be rude to him... he decided to speak French with an American accent to the waiter. The waiter was actually quite nice and patient with him haha. I still think his fake American French was still better than 99% of American tourists, though. He tried.

Up until this point, we had taken things slow (that’s about to change... buckle your seat-belts). As we were walking over to the Louvre we held hands for the first time. Then we sat down in the Tuileries Gardens, on a bench in full view of the Louvre, the Place de la Concorde, and even la Tour Eiffel herself. David handed me a note. It said that he was happy that he met me, would miss me, and ... plot twist...

...that he loved me.

Wait? What? In Marissa world, the “l” word is said when you’re in a very serious relationship, when you can see yourself spending your lives together. Not on your fifth date, only three days after it was officially determined that you like each other. Not when you’d never kissed before. Not when you don’t even know if you’ll see each other again because you live in different countries.

But I guess David had other ideas. :)   I found out MUCH later- like months later- that in France saying 'Je t'aime' means more 'I like you more than a friend' than being deeply in LOVE. David explained that to me eventually and then it seemed a lot more appropriate...

I didn’t have a lot of time to process that (definitely didn’t say it back though), because he was already leaning in the FIRST KISS. I thought about not kissing him, because in a way I felt like I was affirming the love thing. However, I also had wanted to kiss him for a while. And I was leaving the country the next day. And not going to lie, I really wanted our first kiss to be in view of the Eiffel Tower. Come on, that is cool.

So it happened. I was still really freaked out about the love thing, but I didn’t know what to say. David didn’t seem to be phased that I didn’t say it back. He seemed pretty darn pleased about how the day was going.

I maturely decided to ignore that elephant in the room and go on with day. We walked down the Champs-Elysées and strolled down the picturesque Pont Alexandre III toward Les Invalides. A quick metro ride later, and we were at Trocadéro, the iconic Eiffel Tower view location (a lot closer than we were before). Our second kiss may or may not have happened there (after I ate a crepe- gotta have priorities).

Someone was still in a very romantic mood, and someone else was feeling conflicted. Spending time with David over the last few weeks had been so fun and I had been in such a good mood. I was upset because I felt freaked out and I really didn’t want it to be messed up. It had for the most part been a good day, but holding hands, kissing, and saying the l word for the first time all in the span of maybe THREE HOURS was a bit much for me.

At my suggestion, we headed back to the Gare du Nord a little early (it was an escape mechanism shhhhh). At that point, we switched places and David started being the one that was freaked out. At the train station, he asked if we could officially be boyfriend and girlfriend. I told him no. He got on his train heading back to Nancy still looking freaked out that we might never see each other again, and I went back to my hotel feeling sort of relieved that we might never see each other again.


Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dating in France: March-April, 2014

The First Date- Nancy, France

Soon after meeting for the first time, I left for a few weeks to do some traveling. I managed to get to (with Olimpia!) Brussels, Amsterdam, Munich, Vienna, and Prague. The trip turned out amazing! I thought I’d mention it in order to explain the gap between meeting for the first time and the first date.

Me and David were in contact a little bit over Facebook messages during my travels. When I got back to France, he invited me to come hang out for a day in Nancy. Actually, before that, he asked me if I was going to the YSA weekend in Switzerland coming up in a few months. I told him that I would already be back in the U.S., which I think encouraged him to get a move on...

I was kind of nervous to spend a whole day alone with someone I didn’t know very well... but I was also excited to get out and see a new city, and maybe even make a French friend. On March 22, 2014, I found myself taking the train up north to Nancy from Strasbourg. David met me at the train station and we set off to walk around the city.

We walked around the pretty parts of  Nancy’s old town for a few hours, including Place Stanislas, a few cathedrals, and a little art museum. I need to mention that at one point it started drizzling and he said it was “dizzling.”  It still makes me happy to remember that.

For lunch we went to Buffalo Grill, an American-themed restaurant. Of course he would be the one to find that. I enjoyed hanging out and being entertained while hearing for the first time about David’s weirdly intense love for America. The next things we did were also fairly American-themed. We went bowling and saw the movie Monuments Men (but en français). It was a pretty long day for a first date, but I would say it was a success. There weren’t awkward moments during the day, and we had lots of things to talk about. 

On the way back to the train station for me to head home, he asked me if he could come to Strasbourg sometime to hang out. J’ai dit oui.


The Second Date- Strasbourg, France

Two weeks later, on April 5, I met David at the Strasbourg train station. This time, I was the tour guide! The only places he had ever been in Strasbourg were the ward building and a test-taking center. So that doesn’t count.

We walked around Petite France, the old part of the city with lots of canals, for a few hours. Of course, a visit to Strasbourg wouldn’t be complete without a stop in my cathedral. 

Then we took the tram to the more modern part of the city for lunch and a movie. This was the only time in my life that I’ve seen a super hero movie- it was the 2nd Captain America one. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I didn’t like super hero movies since he was so excited to see a Captain America movie with a real-live American. It ended up being okay though!

This day ended up being a lot like the one we’d had in Nancy. It was fun to get to know each other more. Before he left, he suggested that we meet up later that week at a castle that was sort of between our cities. Dating in Europe is fun! Why yes, David... yes I will meet you at a castle. 

That was the first moment that I knew he for sure liked me, since he wanted to hang out again just a few days later. Time was running out... I was headed home to America about 2 weeks later!

The Third Date- Château de Lunévile, France

As promised, we met up just a few days later at a castle in the Lorraine region. We started out the afternoon by having lunch together. During that lunch, David was told me about an Irish professor he had. I joked that he should try to do an Irish accent. He laughed, and I thought that was the end of it. Nope. About 15 minutes later, I realized that he’d been trying (and thinking he was successfully doing) an Irish accent the whole time. The “accent” he was doing was literally the EXACT SAME as his normal accent: as in, French. I still laugh thinking about this. In David’s defense, I can’t do an Irish accent either... and English is my native language.

After finishing lunch and finishing speaking in nonexistent Irish accents, it was time to explore the castle. It was a beautiful and quaint little place where the dukes of Lorraine used to live. The inside part that you could tour was small, but there was a big garden outside. Since it was a sunny spring day (and one of the first ones that year!), we sat in the garden for a while.

And by a while, I mean we sat there so long that I almost missed my train. We totally lost track of time and talked for maybe 4-5 hours on the same little bench. We ended up having to rush back to the train station to make it in time, and we did with 2 minutes to spare despite getting a little lost on the way back. This day in Lunéville ended up being both of our favorite dates in France.

The Fourth Date- Strasbourg, France

Just 2 days after the lovely sunny day in Lunéville, yet another YSA activity was scheduled in Strasbourg. David took the train down a few hours before the activity started for some extra Marissa time.

We took a fun tourist boat ride around the old town of Strasbourg. For lunch, we found an Italian restaurant in Petite France. That became the historic location of David telling me that he liked me for the first time. Oh la la. I’m retroactively laughing a little bit at how nervous he was.

We're still not good at taking selfies... being on a boat made it even harder. Don't judge.
After that, we very conspicuously walked in late to the YSA activity. Everyone turned their heads to stare at us with knowing looks in their eyes. The activity consisted of some more dumb games, another CES devotional en français, and then a dance. 

David had unfortunately already made me promise that I would stay for the whole activity. I have hated church dances with a passion ever since I went to my first church dance when I was 14. The awkwardness multiplies when there are only 10 (at the most) other people in the small room and they are ALL gossiping in French about you dating each other. There was so much staring happening. 

We spent the night dans le coin (the corner, my favorite place to sit when I don’t want to talk to other people). Despite the awkward other people, at least we enjoyed talking to each other (not dancing, but that’s okay... preferable, actually). Most of the others were from other cities and were carpooling home, but I had to take the bus. David walked me out to the bus stop. I’m thankful he didn’t kiss me then, because bus stops outside of ward buildings after awkward church dances are so not romantic. Even in France.

To be continued...

Sunday, April 3, 2016

The First Day- February 8th, 2014

(I started writing this and more about our dating story while I was still living in Israel. It's based on some diary entries I wrote at the time)

I was living in Strasbourg, France... doing an internship teaching English in some small towns nearby. It was such a cool opportunity! I LOVED my job, and I LOVED getting to travel all over France and Europe. I got to travel a lot with my good friend Olimpia, who was doing the same internship as me in another city, and also some with Jenna, who was doing a study abroad in Italy.

Unfortunately, in Strasbourg I never really made a group of friends. The other teaching interns mostly just hung out in bars (also, I didn’t put forth any effort to get to know them). Most of the people close to my age at church weren’t interested in being friends with someone who wasn’t French (also, I didn’t make much of an effort either, I was too shy). I wasn’t usually invited to or told about the YSA activities, but one day... after living in France for over 5 months... I got my first invite.

The activity happened to fall on a Saturday when I didn’t have any travel plans, which was rare! I decided to go because (as described before), I had no friends in the city I lived in. There are only so many days you can spend entertaining yourself. I was pretty successful for most of the year (it was a wonderful year, don’t get me wrong!!), but by February I was in need of some human interaction.

I’m not usually a big fan of YSA activities (is anyone?). That’s why I explained that I needed friends... because otherwise I most likely wouldn’t have attended what would most likely be a cheesy activity with a bunch of people who ignored me every week at church. But anyways, on February 8th 2014, I found myself on the bus en route to the Strasbourg ward building.

Of course, when I got there everyone I knew from my ward pretended they didn’t know me and didn’t say hi (can you tell how fun it was to go to church in France?). At least that means I avoided my favorite French custom, kissing on the cheek to greet people. I awkwardly sat down on the chairs they had set up while other people were talking on the opposite side of the room. At this point, I was really regretting not spending the day alone walking around Strasbourg’s old town, window shopping (maybe some real shopping too), and visiting my cathedral... my typical Saturday activities. 

Thankfully, the activity was not only for the unfriendly Strasbourg crew, but for all YSAs in the stake... still a very tiny number, but better than nothing! A group of people who carpooled from Nancy- a city about an hour north of Strasbourg, came in a few minutes later. Right away a few of the Nancy people noticed the awkward person sitting by herself in the corner.

Two guys I hadn’t met before came over and introduced themselves. One said ‘Bonjour,’ and one said ‘Hello! Are you American?’ in English. Guess which one David was?

I don’t know what it was about me... did I have an American aura? Whatever the reason was, he could tell and immediately spoke English to me. It was half annoying and half a really big relief that I didn’t have to speak only French with all of these people I didn’t know (I am capable of doing it, but it can be stressful).

I was happy to have someone to sit next to and talk to during the devotional and the painfully cheesy games that followed. After that. the activity was not over! There was also a dinner, but I decided to leave beforehand. For someone who hadn’t socialized for months, 5-ish hours of an activity was enough. Also, I was 99% sure I wouldn’t like the dinner they were serving... and I wanted to go home and watch Olympic figure-skating. Sorry, David! You were abandoned for better food and figure-skating. However, before the day was done David had already added me on Facebook dun dun dun. The saga was not over.

This is the little pinkish ward building where we met.

To make it seem a little more exotic, you can see the magnificent Strasbourg cathedral from the front door of the ward building. You just have to squint a little ;)

Does that mean I can say that we met under the shadow of the Strasbourg cathedral? Too much of a stretch? I'll just go with it.


I met David more than 2 years ago in France. Don't you worry if you want more details about that... the whole story will be coming up soon. Read about the first day we met here.

Anyways, it's been an interesting road since then. I don't think our relationship would have been possible without a few things- modern technology that allowed texting and video chatting internationally, me living in Israel (only having a 1 hour time difference let us talk a lot more, and the fact that flights from Israel to France are pretty cheap), and lastly, my dad and Uncle John arranging an internship for David here in WI.

For a while, David has kind of been waiting for my go ahead to get engaged. Because of that, and because he is incapable of lying (especially to me), I knew it was coming. That's what I wanted though- I'm weird and I'm not a fan of surprises. I'm the kind of person that reads the end of books first and looks up how movies end before I see them. 

We went earlier this week to look at some rings. I officially chose one the next day and let him know. A few days later, I prepared by getting a manicure and then we went on a little road trip to Madison.

One of the memorable parts of the day was the crazy weather. I mean, it's April in Wisconsin... so of course there was a windchill and it was snowing. We can always say we got engaged during a lovely spring blizzard.

We had been to the capitol building once before- when David first came to WI in 2014, and we were still getting to know each other. For fun, here's this...

We couldn't have predicted then what we would do the next time we came to that building. We weren't even 'officially' dating yet back then.

Even though I chose the ring and sort of when we would do it (haha), David chose the proposal location and he did a good job. It suited us. It was very American for him, and a grand, beautiful building for me. Also, I really love my home state of Wisconsin, so what could be better? We walked around a little when we got inside and looked around, and then found a more secluded spot that had this view:

David got down on one knee and proposed en français. I don't really remember exactly what he said because there was a lot going on in my head, but I said "oui," and then we were engaged. We took a few more pictures and then headed back into the cold, stopped for lunch, and started the drive back to Germantown.

This is my new favorite pose.

Can we talk more about my ring? I love it even more than I thought I would. It was one of my top picks from browsing online, and I tried it on once in the store... but wearing it in my real everyday life it's even more beautiful and sparkly. My mom was laughing at me yesterday because she kept catching me looking at it. MERCI David.

I called Jenna in the car on the way home, and then I was very excited to tell my parents! It was one of my goals to completely surprise them. I guess even if I don't like surprises myself, I like surprising other people. I requested that David not ask my dad beforehand for this reason. I'm not really a fan of that tradition anyway, and I wanted to be there when my parents found out. Also, I was already 100% sure that my parents love David and wanted this to happen.

We were a little sneaky when we got home. I hid the ring in my purse, and we just came in and sat down like normal. Me and my mom went jewelry shopping in Cedarburg yesterday, so I told my parents that I got some new jewelry again today (knowing me, a very plausible story). I pulled out the ring. At first they didn't seem to believe us because they really weren't expecting it, and it was close to April Fool's Day.

When they caught on that it was real, there was lots of happiness and hugs. One of my favorite parts of the day! Even though it was getting really late in France, David was also able to get ahold of his parents and tell them the news. It was fun to hear their reactions too.

After that, there's not much more to tell. I told a few close friends and my grandparents. Then we went out with my parents for a celebratory dinner. They treated us to an amazing dinner at a fancy (French) restaurant, Lake Park Bistro. Yes, we actually got David to go to a French restaurant. He didn't even run away when the cheese came out.

Our waiter was nice and brought us free champagne when he heard the news. We didn't drink it, but there's nothing that says we couldn't pose with it ;)

Before dinner was over, I couldn't wait to share the news on facebook any longer. The rest is history! 

We're all very happy and excited. There are complicated immigration issues we need to work out, so we don't really have a clear idea yet of when the wedding can happen. We'll keep everyone updated when we know more. When it does happen, the tentative plan is to do it in the Nauvoo temple with a reception in WI.