Lorraine and Erick
How We Met
It was 2009 – my girlfriends and I were at the peak of our partying days. Nearly every weekend, we were out on the town trying to find new places to go. As expected, it’s about who you know that can get you into the coolest parties. Of course we didn’t know many people at new venues, so we were open to make new friends with the party promoters. Lo and behold, once inside the event, we came across Erick overlooking the balcony with an ear piece – he must be important. He claims to have been a strict promoter, not ever giving in to the flash of a smile or the bat of an eyelash, but my girlfriend and I made our way over to him and hit it off. He kept a careful watch us all evening and at the end of the night, even offered to walk us back to our cars safely. From that night on, we exchanged numbers and kept in touch. As months went by, he and I grew closer as friends and spent many days and nights just chatting online and texting. In the night, we bonded over our insomnia and hunger for midnight munchies. After many attempts to lure me into hanging out in person by offering to pick me up to eat, I finally agreed to hang out with him one weekend. He picked me up and we had our first meal together at In-n-Out, then strolled through Pier 39 enjoying the sunshine and tourist attractions. Midway through our day, I received a phone call from my grandma asking where I was and whether or not I was free to give her a ride home from Chinatown. The pier was pretty close to Chinatown so I turned to Erick, not thinking if this request was out of line, and asked if he would swing by and pick my grandma up. With no hesitation, he said sure! Well, that’s really nice, I thought. There was nothing super formal about our day. We didn’t call it a date, but I guess you could say it was. And I certainly didn’t mean for him meet someone very important and close to me so soon, but it worked out casually. He was a gentleman and showed respect for me, so from that day forth, he became someone who I wanted to spend more time with and vice versa.
How He Asked
My birthday was 3 days away and my schedule was jam packed with graduation and wedding celebrations to attend. So, Erick had planned to take me on a little getaway so that we could celebrate my birthday – just him and I. All I was told is to pack for an overnight stay, dress warm for the day and dress nice for the night. The rest was a secret, but I didn’t mind, I love surprises :) It’s the effort that I appreciate and knowing he planned something made my heart smile. Really, it could’ve been anything! We arrived in Napa at a cute little inn on Thursday evening, settled in and rested after the long traffic-filled drive up. Dinner time came so soon, I didn’t even have time to doll up or fix myself up (I brought a dress and heels just in case!). I was literally in sweats and flip flops, but he told me it was fine. I was worried but hey, who would I bump into? If he tells me I’m beautiful when I look like a mess, then that’s all that matters. We hopped in the car and arrived at Bistro Don Giovanni in Napa, CA. I craved Italian food and this place hit the spot! We ended dinner with a small birthday ice cream and I was so happy. Super casual evening, amazing food, beautiful weather and my sweet guy – I felt so thankful for everything. That night, I was told that I had to be ready and out the door the next day by 5AM. For us insomniacs, can you just imagine the difficulty? We forced ourselves to sleep early so that we could have a good rest.
The next morning, I woke up surprisingly on time and ready to go as planned. It’s probably the excitement of what’s to come! We arrive at Napa Valley Aloft Balloon Rides in Yountville, CA and were greeted with pastries and coffee. After some briefing, we were divided into groups and headed out to the lot where the hot air balloons were inflating and ready for take-off. OMG. It was unreal. First of all, they’re much bigger in person than you could imagine. We had to climb into the baskets because there are no doors and once we began floating up, my jaws just dropped. Is this really happening? We’re in a basket! We’re floating across vineyards and the catching the sun rise. The sights were breathtaking and all I could think was how magical that moment was. It’s just a beautiful experience. Once we landed, we headed across the street to meet our lunch reservation at Bouchon. Their bread is amazing and we couldn’t leave without stopping by their bakery next door to grab some sweet treats! After lunch, we headed back home to change for the evening and I was whisked off to my next surprise destination. We arrived at the parking lot of the Pace Gallery in Menlo Park, CA and I gasped with excitement. This gallery has been on my must-visit list for a while now but we haven’t found the opportunity to visit it. I’ve known about their “Living Digital Space and Future Parks” exhibit for a while and the images I’ve seen have captured my attention. I love all things with lights, and lots of them! They just create such magical settings and so I’ve been wanting to see this exhibit and wander through the spaces. The one particular room I was most excited to visit was the Crystal Universe – a room filled with crystal strands with ever-changing lights that make the space sparkle. As we roamed around the gallery exploring room by room, we immersed ourselves with the interactive displays. Everything was so cool!
We finally arrived at the Crystal Universe and my jaws dropped. It was so beautiful! It was more of a hallway so I made it halfway through and couldn’t stop taking photos. For a quick second, I wondered why there weren’t any other guests wandering through this hallway. But, I was also slightly glad that we had no interference in our backgrounds, haha! I peeked to the other end of the hallway and noticed people standing there, but not entering. I didn’t think much. Eventually, after a lot of selfies, Erick suggested to have the worker film us, so that we can both be in the video together. Sure, that makes sense, I thought. While we were handing Erick’s phone over, I noticed there were people waiting outside. My immediate reaction was, “Omg, there’s a line!” The worker instantly assured me, “Don’t worry! You both take your time. Lines will form” So, I thought that this may be the type of exhibit where they give guests a certain amount of time to go in and explore privately before allowing the next set of guests in. Though, I swear the moment we handed the phone over, I heard the worker say “Hit the lights”. In that moment, the whole room lit up and how special was this moment, I thought. Let’s give a twirl and some action to the video so that it wouldn’t be boring. In an instance, Erick kissed me and I saw him reach for his back pocket. I just knew.
He got down on his knees and his first words were “I love you”. The rest became a blur and tears were running down my face. Is this really happening? This is really happening! All the words were jumbled up in my head and I finally heard, “Will you marry me?” “Of course, yes!”, I replied. Ahhhh, we embraced each other and one of the worker yells “She said yes!” Wait, what? Did everyone know about this? It all makes sense now! The people “waiting in line” and the workers who kept looking at us and was so generous about our time in the room. They all knew! The moments after were just surreal. I wanted to squeal with excitement, but I just didn’t know what to do with myself. I asked him if he remembered what he said because I couldn’t, and he couldn’t remember either. All I know is that he loves me, I said yes, and we’re engaged! It’s all still so surreal.