Friday, October 25, 2013

our engagement story: he asked & i said yes

I've had a number of requests for "the" engagement story - and because as much as I like telling the story, I also like to do other things with my time...I thought I'd write it out once and for all to see! :-)

October 20, 2013, was 1.5 years exactly from the day we went on our first date and decided to make our relationship official! We tend to save the 20th of the month for a date to remember how long we've been together, and also so that we actually go on a date instead of bumming around at home together, like we usually do.

Shayne's driving face. He was having a good time, I promise! ;)
Earlier in the week I remembered that the 20th was coming up and mentioned it to Shayne. His reply made me really excited, because he said we could go for a drive! He never wants to go for a drive. It costs too much in gas money, it's a waste of good time, and you're aimless - at least this is what he thinks. So when he offered to go for a drive I jumped at the chance!

Sunday came around (finally) and after lunch with his family we set off for a drive around the area. The southern end of PEI features rolling tree-covered hills, bright red cliffs, and on this particular day, crashing waves. We drove around, talking, laughing, discussing houses, stopping at "for sale" signs, and enjoying each other's company. Enjoying 1.5 years together!

My "I can't believe it's raining now I can't go outside" face. We were going to try to set up the tripod and take pictures together but then the rain happened...
After about an hour it began to rain. And this is not just some soft sprinkle, this was full out pouring rain! Ah well, we were in the car and not close to home, so we kept going. It didn't stop raining. We kept going some more. I was beginning to get tired of driving, but we kept going down more dirt roads, around another bend here and there...the rain let up enough that we could visit his Aunt & Uncle's cottage on the West River. I hadn't seen it before so we walked around the property and enjoyed the view of the River from their deck. (It's beautiful.)

Hopping back in the car, we drove around some more. I certainly was getting my Sunday afternoon drive! It was lovely. We were both in such good moods, Shayne because he was planning to propose, and me because I totally knew (that's a story for another day.) I soaked up the whole day, trying to remember everything and enjoy it because this day would only come once!

We headed back toward the farm, but it was still raining. I thought maybe the rain had cancelled his plan, and he wasn't going to ask me anymore. BUT. He said he wanted to check in on Grandpa & Grandma's house (they are gone and live on a different part of the farm - around the corner from his parents.) We stood on their front porch, shivering from the cold but looking out at the beautiful view of the family farm. It was still raining. In fact, it kept raining for a while - but at least it was more like spitting at this point instead of pouring!

I'm a small person, so I get cold very easily. I wanted a hug from Shayne to absorb some of his body heat, but for some reason he wouldn't oblige. Said I needed a better reason to give him a hug and that I should guess reasons and maybe he would give me one then. I KNEW what was happening for sure at that point, so instead of guessing the reason he was hoping, I guessed silly things - I don't remember all the reasons I gave him but I know I said something about how he fixes my car for free. Eventually I said to him, "I know what you want me to guess but I'm not going to so you better just ask!" Haha!

He said, "Well maybe you need a better hint." Shayne got down on one knee and said, "Does this help? Would it be worth a hug?" He pulled out a ring box and said, "And what about this? If I give you this, would it be worth a hug?" At this point I'm nodding and bawling my eyes out and I grab his face and start kissing him (while still crying. Classy.) and hugging him. He pulls me into his arms, stands up and says, "WAIT! I haven't even asked you yet! Sarah, will you marry me?" And I said NO! Just kidding. I said, "yes, of course!" 

He put the ring on my finger, we hugged a lot more and then decided to go home to tell the family. We spent the next two hours on the phone with family and close friends, sharing the news and our excitement. We skyped dear friends in Iowa and made them cry! ;) My future sister (wahoo!) screamed in excitement while she was in the middle of the woods and some guy came running in case she was hurt! My dad answered the phone, "Hi Sarah" (they don't have caller ID) and on the first ring, so he must have been waiting by the phone. One friend did a happy dance while we had her husband on the phone and it was very entertaining to hear in the background. 

Since it was Sunday afternoon, we got the privilege of telling almost all of our PEI "people" face-to-face. We went to my church for the evening service and to his church after the service since they were having a game night. It was SO nice to be able to share the news in person.

Eventually we went back to my place, sat on the couch, and couldn't believe we were actually getting married. We called each other "fiance" over and over again. Even after Shayne went home that night, neither of us could sleep from excitement!

.....and that was the day we got engaged!! :)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

our trip to the netherlands: the weddings

I didn't take pictures at either of the Holland weddings because they had a great photographer. Judith did a fantastic job! Here are a few shots from both weddings:

More of Stanley & Marielle's shoot can be found here.


More of Brian & Martine's shoot can be found here.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

our trip to the netherlands: harderwijk, land of my forefathers!

All ready for a day of adventure! Hoping it won't rain, because some of those clouds look iffy...
The green jacket makes its appearance once again. There was a definite fall chill in the air most days.
We've arrived in Harderwijk! It was surreal to think I was walking the streets that my family walked. My dad grew up here in Harderwijk before his parents immigrated to Canada.

 We found the city wall and couldn't resist "holding it up." Toooouurists!
 Harderwijk doesn't have much of a claim to fame these days, except Dolfinarium, which is basically the same as Marineland in Ontario. We didn't bother going, but enjoyed walking around town. I liked imagining what it was like as a fishing town, full of hustle and bustle, open markets, etc...
 There are a few replicas of old fishing boats in the harbour. When the Dutch decided to close in the Zuiderzee and build the now-province of Flevoland, it spelled the end for fishing in Harderwijk and other towns like it. And that meant my Opa had to find a new occupation, because he couldn't continue to fish on the......
.....HK59, which was my great-Opa's boat. (This is a replica.) I've heard snippets of stories in my growing up years, all about life on the Zuiderzee and the fish it provided for my family. A seaside life seems to be the story of my ancestry, so perhaps it's fitting that I've ended up here on the East Coast of Canada, living so close to the same ocean that they fished.

We stopped for a late lunch (and a snack of bitter ballen) at a cute restaurant in town. It was quiet, the waitress was friendly, and the food delicious! As for the company, well, nothing but the best! ;) As we were walking out of the restaurant I noticed a glass panel in the floor. When I peered in, lo and behold it was their meat freezer! With shelves full and hooks groaning from the bounty, I might add. Very cool.

Ever since I was a little girl, I've wanted to visit Harderwijk. Seeing where my dad grew up was such a blessing! It hardly feels real that we were really there, walking those same streets, but it did happen and I am very thankful for the opportunity to have gone!

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

our trip to the netherlands: hanging out

The evening before Stan & Marielle's wedding we hung out at "home" and enjoyed cheese and wine...a wonderful habit we picked up during our vacation! :)
Our generous hosts and dear friends, Solke & Gertrude!
(Also the parents of both grooms.)
 Brian and Martine, excited for Stanlielle, and anticipating their own day!

 I failed miserably to take any pictures on the day of the Stanlielle wedding. Here we have the only photographic evidence of the day...Shayne attaching the ribbons to the car, and Klaas giving me the look he gives every time I put the camera in front of him.

Stan and Marielle's wedding was fun! A true reflection of both their personalities, and a great introduction to a Dutch wedding! We celebrated long into the night, leaving us with little energy the next day.

Since energy levels were low we decided to spend a quiet day with friends. Shopping!! The girls went shopping and left the boys to their own devices for a couple of hours.
We really had no energy. Hanging out didn't last that long. We all parted ways to take naps or just plain go to bed!

Next time: visiting my Dad's hometown. VERY cool!!!!!!!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

our trip to the netherlands: utrecht, the land of Shayne's forefathers!

Last time I left you, we were hopping on a train for Utrecht. We had trouble finding seats in our class until behold! Second floor seats! ......only half-way through did we realize we had upgraded ourselves to 1st class. ;)
 Once in Utrecht, we wandered around for a while. Neither of us really knew what we were doing in this city, except that we were told we should go, and also, that this is where Shayne's Grandpa DeHaan grew up. We decided to head toward the tower, and see what would come of that.
Rounding a few corners, we faced a behemoth cathedral, which we learned is called the Dom Cathedral. The tower is actually separated from the cathedral by a square, because a hurricane knocked through hundreds of years ago and the parishoners decided not to re-join the two.

 We were able to tour the church and learn some of its history. My favourite part (and I think Shayne's also) is the beautiful ornate organ. There's even an engraving next to the instrument listing all the organists who have served in this congregation for hundreds of years!

 Outside the cathedral is a beautiful garden. This quiet, enclosed space served many purposes over the years, including a hog market and military storage!
 Canals run through Utrecht just like in Amsterdam. What's neat about these canals, though, is that you can actually walk down to the water, where there are businesses and restaurants on a level under the streets!

After a long couple of days of walking and travelling, we were happy to sit down and rest a while...and enjoy panekoeken, of course! :)

Friday, September 27, 2013

our trip to the netherlands: amsterdam, part 2

After a while, we split off from the guys and found our hostel. It was swarming with activity: people speaking different languages lounging in the common areas, walking the halls and gathering around the outside of the buildings. Neither of us had ever stayed at a hostel so we weren't sure what to expect. Quickly we learned there was no soap, no towels, and you had to make the beds yourself. Not a big deal to us, but I'm just warning you in case you ever stay at a hostel ;)

I don't have any pictures of it, but we met up with a cousin of Shayne and her husband that night. Neither of us knew she was living in Amsterdam, but we were excited to get to meet family! Getting to know Tammy & Mike was a lot of fun. The four of us laughed and told stories and learned about each other all night. I'm looking forward to sometime in the future that we'll be able to see them on our Island!! They say within the next ten years.....haha!! Did I mention the rain that night?! We all got SOAKED to the bone. Walking to the Starbucks, running to the pub, and dashing all the way back to the hostel.....slosh, slosh, slosh! After a while we just figured that we were already wet, so we may as well have fun! :)

The next morning Shayne and I walked around the Vondelpark, taking in the "Central Park" of Amsterdam and enjoying the scenery. It was beautiful and quiet and we forgot that we were in the middle of a big city. Thankfully the rain held off!!

Just as the rain began again, we stumbled upon the Mini store and popped in to explore. We "built" our own Mini Cooper and then pretended to take the show model for a spin, until the sales rep tried to convince us to buy! ;) We actually spent a fair bit of time in here. It was fun to look around! 

Eventually we made our way back to the Dam Square, where we took a break. At this point, I wanted to go to the Nieuwe Kerk, but found out it was closed. So, we walked to the Oude Kerk, found out it was also closed AND that we had accidentally ended up in the one part of Amsterdam I had no interest in seeing....the Red Light District. We high-tailed it out of there and decided to go for lunch instead.

Can you see him allllllll the way down there, leaning on the column? That's my Shayne! This shopping plaza happened to have a restaurant on the third floor, so we walked around and then settled down for a delicious meal. No shopping though - this was a ritzy mall, with expensive shops! But it sure was cool to see the architecture!

After lunch, we hopped on a train and headed for Utrecht. More on that to come!
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