Johana and Joshua's Breathtaking Marriage Proposal in Antelope Canyon
how we met
I have always dreamed of finding the love of my life. Starting my own true love story and finding my happily ever after. I had decided from a young age that I was going to wait for the one and that I would save my heart until I found him. Two years ago I was introduced to Joshua and our amazing story started from the day I met him.
We first met in Bogota, Colombia, my home. Every year in January thousands of people travel to Bogota to attend a Christian conference in my church. Joshua was just one of over 16,000 delegates. Looking back it does seem pretty impossible that we would ever have met. But, somehow, through a friend of a friend we ended up in the same large group of people from all around the world that spent time together during the conference. Our first conversation wasn’t too inspiring! I just said “Hi” with a big nervous smile, because at the time I didn’t speak any english. Nada!
We tried to talk but I couldn’t understand anything he was saying! I pretty much just smiled and laughed every time we were together. But one day I really wanted to talk with him and I stood in silence thinking…and thinking…and after thinking a bit longer I came out with, “I can learn you Spanish and you learn me English!” It has to be one of my most embarrassing memories. After every English class in school that’s all I could think of!? “You learn me.” He just said, “Pardon? It’s teach you!!,” but after he stopped laughing, he said, “ok, it’s a deal.”
The conference finished and he went back home to England, 6000 miles away, but we kept our deal of ‘teaching’ each other! I had so much fun every time I talked to him and he always made me feel so special. He became my best friend even though we had only been in the same country together once. People always say that long distance relationships are so difficult but being away had a way of just drawing us closer to each other.
It wasn’t until 7 months later that I really started to think about Joshua as more than a friend. He travels a lot for his work taking photos of beautiful places around the world and at the end of July he was on another adventure in Europe. He sent me updates of every place he visited and told me so many stories. Two weeks later when he arrived back home he posted a video of his trip.
It was half way through the video, when he was sitting on a rock in the south of France and then decided to jump off, that I screamed out loud! I just saw how different we were. I would never have jumped! But I just knew a life with him would be an amazing adventure.
For the next few months we kept in touch and our friendship kept growing. Neither of us had been in a relationship before and we didn’t want to get too close to each other if we weren’t meant to be together. We both spent a lot of time praying and asking God if being together was the right decision. As Christians we both believe that despite our feelings it is God’s purpose that we follow and not our own. We were still just friends until a whole year later when we actually had the chance to be together again in January 2015. We both started to feel that there was something more to our friendship and wanted to finally be together again to find out what it was. He came on January 18th and I surprised him at the airport! He had planned to be picked up by a friend and as they walked out of the terminal I ran up behind him and put my hands over his eyes. He turned and hugged me, for a bit longer than normal! I just knew in my heart from this moment that I wanted to be with him. That this wasn’t just a feeling but that I was really falling in love.
He spent one month in Bogota, meeting my family and attending the conference together. But every day I knew that it was one day less until he had to fly home and we would be apart again. I didn’t want him to leave. I didn’t want to miss a second with him! We cried a lot when we had to say goodbye. We had no idea when we would see each other again. We didn’t have any plan except that we would make a way to be together again soon.
For 6 months all we had was Skype and with 6 hours time difference even that was limited. But our love only grew. We never gave up and we were always there for each other. He would stay up all night just to have more time to talk and would just go to work tired. By this point we still weren’t even in a relationship, but we knew in our hearts that we were meant for each other and that God was keeping us close together even though we were literally 6000 miles apart. At the end of the 6 months it was my turn to go to him. I flew to England on June 6th and on June 18th we officially (facebook official) started a relationship together. We never stopped laughing together and every day was an adventure. We fell in love! And then again after two months we drove to the airport to say goodbye again.
The goodbyes only get harder! Every day was hard to be so far away from each other. After just starting a relationship all you want to do is be together and get to know each other. All the things that you take for granted in friendships, you are now missing. I wanted to laugh with him, I just wanted to hug him.
Add in another 3 months of Skype and long distance and it’s December 2015. I dreamed every day that he would be able to come for Christmas but it was impossible with work and other commitments. Skip forward to December 14th at 4:30am. I’m fast asleep with an hour until I need to get up to get ready for work and the door creaks open. Someone puts their hand on my shoulder and says, “good morning mi amor” (mi amor = my love). I started to open my eyes and looked up at Joshua with his backpack on and suitcase by the door. I honestly thought I was dreaming. I didn’t even react! But God continued- to show us that even when everything seems impossible, He can make a way. Joshua had secretly been planning for the last two weeks to come and surprise me after some work had changed and allowed him to have time off. And so we spent our first Christmas together! We travelled to the beautiful Cartagena on the coast of Colombia, another surprise, for the week of Christmas and made our first adventure video together!
He had to go home again just after Christmas to finish off work but he would come back to Colombia for the conference later in January. it was the easiest goodbye! And then after two weeks at the conference together he packed his bags again and we journeyed back into the unknown without any idea of what the future held. But we believed and believe that true love trusts, hopes and bears all things. Even though every day is a challenge to keep dreaming and knowing that one day we would be able to meet each other again, we kept believing that one day we wouldn’t have to say anymore goodbyes.
how he asked
We were apart for another 3 months until we finally were able to book a flight for me to go back to England. This time to spend a whole 4 months together! We were so excited! It was the longest time we had been together in the same country! And as if that wasn’t enough, two weeks into the trip we found out that a close friend was getting married in Miami! So, then we booked tickets to Miami! Joshua would be working as the photographer at the wedding so we wouldn’t actually get too much time to explore there but we made a quick plan to travel to Arizona the day after to go on another adventure! It was like a dream. It still feels like a dream!
We spent a beautiful day at the wedding, had a few hours sleep and then jumped on another plane to go to Arizona for 6 days together with Joshua’s brother. Looking back to that first video I saw of Joshua in Europe and thinking how much of an adventure life would be by his side and here I was sitting with him on a plane to Arizona to visit the Grand Canyon! Dreams come true.
We were like little children at christmas! Everything excited us. Everything was new. Going to Walmart, buying s’mores, the huge american car that we were driving! We couldn’t believe it. But, I was totally oblivious to the main reason why Joshua and his brother were so excited and what they were really planning!
We drove from the airport to Denny’s to have the biggest breakfast we had ever seen. Then drove 3 hours to our first hotel that we had just booked in Denny’s (the first one we saw with a pool). We decided to have a relaxed evening on the first night after busy days in Miami and just spent the rest of the evening swimming and eating s’mores for the first time. P.s They’re as good as everyone says. We woke up the next morning in time for breakfast at the hotel and then packed everything up again and jumped back in the car to start the adventure.
Our first stop was the Grand Canyon. It was surreal. It felt like we were in a movie! Every moment I just kept stopping and trying to think how we had managed to end up here when a few weeks ago we didn’t even know when we would be together again. Every day was a dream come true. We spent the whole day walking and exploring the Grand Canyon until the sun started to set and we had to head back to the car before dark.
Day 3 was the big day! I still had no idea what was really going to happen that afternoon! All I knew was that we were waking up early to drive a few hours up to Antelope Canyon. Joshua hadn’t stopped talking about this place all month and I was so happy to see how excited he was to finally visit the place that he had dreamt about for years. The gates weren’t open when we arrived so we took some extra time to put on suncream and get ready for another 40 °C day. After about 30 minutes they came and unlocked the entrance and the few people that had chosen to leave early started to head in. After a little wait we were started the climb down the stairs into the canyon that went down for about 50 feet. We reached the bottom and all three of us just stopped and stared. Wow. Just wow. It’s one of those places that you’ve seen on lists of the most beautiful places in the world but you’re never sure whether it truly looks like the photos. It truly did! The whole canyon is like a painting. A small path leads you through the stunning bright reds and oranges of the canyon walls that smoothly curve in every direction. It’s difficult to put it in words so Joshua’s photos will do most of the talking…
We were walking for about 25 minutes before we stopped at a small opening in the trail. The path had started to get a bit wider with space for us to walk along side each other and the views were just getting more and more beautiful. It was stunning. Joshua stopped with his brother and they started to look at the camera together trying to ‘plan the next photo’. They asked me to go forward into the opening to take a photo of just me. So, I stepped forward into the middle of the canyon and looked up trying to take in how stunning this place was. I didn’t hear the camera go or anymore instruction so started to turn around just as Joshua quickly said, ‘no! Keep looking up, I’ll take a video!’ Ok! What was happening!? Moments later he walked up beside me and just said, ‘I’m so nervous…’ and got down on one knee. We both paused for what felt like forever and smiled at each other.
He looked at me and asked if I would marry him! All I could say was, ‘como a si!?’ which means how is this!? I was so surprised, I honestly couldn’t believe it! I just said it over and over again until he had to ask me again and finally I said si! He jumped up and hugged me so hard. The whole time his brother was there capturing the moment and I think the photo says it all. The whole month had been full of the most amazing surprises and here I was engaged with the man of my dreams. With the shiniest ring I have ever seen that was designed by him! In the most beautiful place in the world. It was perfect.