I want to start this series with an open heart. Knowing that many people that come across this blog post series, may not know me personally, my heart, or parts of my story that MAY get left out. During this time in my life that I am about to write about over the next couple weeks, I was told SO much “Man you are so lucky Tonie” or “Gosh I wish I was as lucky as you!” I want to clarify that thing right now. I am NOT Lucky. I am Blessed. Blessed by my Heavenly Father who wrote my love story in a way that I never could have and I sincerely believe He gave it to me to share with young women who maybe feel like it’s not worth waiting to find a wonderful man or who have lost heart in the relationship they are in currently. My “fairytale” is no fairytale at all. It’s a true story of redemption, love and sometimes hardship.
That being said, I am EXCITED to share my story with anyone who chooses to read it. In addition, I also want to share with you my experience in dating9.com where I learned a lot regarding to dating, I learned a lot actually and I applied it to my relationship.
To face the reality and REALLY bring my story to light, I will say that I was between a rock and a hard place in July of 2012. Having just walked away from a 6 year relationship and choosing to allow God to write my love story was one of the hardest decisions I had ever made. But like He tends to do, God waited until I was ready to surrender what I thought my story SHOULD be, in order to reveal His perfect plan. On July 4th 2012, my life changed from everything I knew it to be. Breakup’s are HARD and long relationships are even harder to walk away from. BUT there is life on the other side … and I had NO idea that 4 short weeks later I would go on a blind date with a man who was then in Vietnam dating a Vietnamese woman would literally sweep me off my feet – and that’s exactly what happened and it all happened in 90 days. Dating was FAST, FURIOUS, PASSIONATE and FUN!
So here is “His Version”:
The First Date-
I’ll never forget how gorgeous Tonie looked in her grey dress as she opened the door when picked her up….she was stunning. The date started off with us grabbing some coffee and walking around Greenlake. We never stopped smiling. We talked about how similar our families were, the types of architecture we liked and didn’t like, and all our passions in life. The three mile walk went way too fast so as it came to an end, we both decided we needed to grab a “quick” bite. We ended up closing the place down talking…maybe 3 hrs. I remember thinking as we left I should have kept the receipt and signed the back saying I’m going to marry this girl. I dropped her off said goodnight and drove home. On the way home I got a text from her saying how much fun she had..and we ended up texting a few more hours. I think somehow I had already planned a second date to go to a baseball game via Facebook before we went on our first date, but it wasn’t for a few more days so I told her I don’t think I can wait till that game to see you, so we are going to have to go on another date in between the game….turns out we almost saw each other every day for a month straight after that first date 🙂 I could go on about all of our dates, but well, I’ll just say I’m crazy head over heals in love with Tonie.
(This is literally THE i-phone photo of me in my gray dress that I sent to my sister moments before E knocked at the door!)
And here is “Her Version” (Mine:)
The First Date:
I happened to text my sister 2-3 (ok maybe more like 5-10) pictures of possible outfits for my date around Greenlake. (Mind you, Eric had pitched other ideas such as the zoo or a Mariners game, but I turned them down stating directly to him via chat “Well, honestly, those are a bit of a time commitment, and if we can’t stand each other, than a walk around Greenlake might just be enough time before we bid adieu”) I finally settled on my favorite “causal yet cute” gray dress and red flats. I jogged down the stairs to open the door and much to my delighted surprise my very first thought as he turned his head towards me was “Oh.my.gosh, how did it NOT don on me that this guy would be so good looking?!” We proceeded to joke about the combination of our last names as we got to Greenlake and talked the whole walk about this and that – but I was somewhat preoccupied on if he was wondering the same thing as me – WHY OH WHY had I picked such a short date option?! We are rounding the last corner of the lake and my heart just MIGHT be racing a bit when Eric says “Well, I THINK this date is going well, do you want to grab a bite to eat?” Insert sweet smile and batting eyes- “why gee, I’d love to!” -meanwhile FREAKING out inside! We actually sat for about 3 hours until the place closed!”
Here are a few “early” dating photos just for fun!
Fast forward a bit of “dating” and during that time Eric had learned that in all my travels, living abroad and working for an airline, I had never made it to the ONE place I had dreamed of going my whole life. Hawaii. He actually booked this trip earlier than I realized and called my Dad to ask if it was ok if he took me with two friends and promised I would have my own room and place to stay! My Dad of course said yes… Little did I know that just a couple weeks later E would call my dad back and ask to “meet with him” before he took me to Hawaii. With this meeting between my Dad and Eric taking place just about 70 days after E and I had MET I can imagine E was nervous, but the chat with my dad went off without a hitch and of course my dad gave E his blessing to ask me to marry him in Hawaii, on a trip I had no idea I was about to go on. E woke me up BRIGHT and early at 3am wearing coconuts. a grass skirt and playing hula music in my room. I was startled, confused and thought he was throwing me a party downstairs for some crazy reason. It took a few min, but when I finally woke up enough he rushed me out the door to our very early flight! ( poor quality photos :/, just had my iPhone accessible to document!)
Now, some people asked if at this point I knew he was going to propose… that could have not be FARTHER from my mind at all! I thought to myself “Oh my gosh THIS is why E has been acting so funny lately! He was trying to keep this a secret!” Going to Hawaii was the PERFECT distraction from my desire to speed up our dating process! After all, Eric and I had just a few weeks prior “agreed” that he was not going to rush things, he wanted to get to know me and enjoy dating me and maybe “after the new year we could come back to the discussion of getting engaged” He told me he wanted us to be on the same page from the start so that I knew he wanted to marry me, but that he didn’t want me to feel rushed… so I was TOTALLY and completely NOT thinking of him proposing in Hawaii!
He planned it down to every last detail, he had the friends we were with (pictured above) were totally on board to the point that he had Jenna, the wife of his best friend and now a friend of mine, convince me to get my nails done with her on the second day we were there, just because he knew I would want my hands to look nice if I was about to get engaged that night!
We we scheduled to go out to dinner that night and got all dressed up for Eric’s birthday dinner. With reservations at the most gorgeous resort on the Island, we made our way to the Wailea and we walked around hand in hand and Kamran and Jenna were doing little video filming for us, which was not weird to me as they had been doing it the whole trip and I had been showing Jenna on and off, how to use my camera so that I could take photos of them at fun sights and they could take photos of us! Needless to say I did not know I was about to set up my OWN engagement photos. E wanted the sun to be setting when he proposed in a specific spot so we made our way down there and the boys began to stall to make sure the sun was just right! I was “setting up the photos for Jenna” with the boys in them so that I could get the camera settings right and then I would go over and join E to have her take some shots of us.. here is that series of photos… and see the video at the bottom that my dad created for us with the footage Kamran captured!
In the below video watch closely when E reaches in his pocket… that part ALWAYS makes me nervous! HAHA! ENJOY!! – Stay tuned for our struggle to choose WHERE to get married and how we landed on the idea of a destination wedding. And, if you made it this far, well thanks for reading along and I am super impressed, so leave a comment at the bottom and let me know you made it to the end! 😉