Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Chicago Engagement

[The Background]

CHICAGO  It all started with Chicago. Chicago in 2003, when I first set foot on its windy streets and gazed up at its massive buildings. Chicago in 2004, when I stepped out of a car full of my belongings and breathed in the scent of city and freedom, and started college at Moody Bible Institute. Chicago in the next four years as I struggled through assignments, made the best friends of my life and created memories I will always treasure. Chicago in 2008, when I graduated and left the city behind, not sure if or when I'd ever return again. Chicago in the four years since, when I ventured back to see old friends, celebrate special moments, explore with new friends, relive the memories. Chicago has been part of some of the biggest moments of my life, it's no surprise that it was yet again.

NICK  I met Nick during my junior year at Moody through mutual friends. I really remember getting to know him at the Spiderman 3 premier, chatting before the film started, and thinking he was this amazing guy. Then we ended up working together at the gym on-campus for the next year and a half. During spring break of my senior year, we both stayed in Chicago to work and that's when we really started hanging out all the time. We've been close since those college days and even while far apart, always kept in touch. Earlier this year, things finally started coming together for us, but that would take a whole separate blog post to go into. Let's just say, we both grew a lot, and in the end, we grew together.

[The Set-Up]

I knew the proposal was coming "soon." I just didn't know when (or where) "soon" would show up. Things actually worked out remarkably well for Nick--at least I think--to keep "soon" a secret. I wrote about most of how we ended up in Chicago without me really expecting anything on day 24 of my photo challenge, but what's wrong with a little repetition?

The set-up started with me planning a trip to Chicago for the August 25 Cubs vs. Rockies baseball game. I had the date saved since before this season even started. When we determined that Nick would be living in Iowa by the beginning of August, I made sure to put the game on his calendar. Because, after going to a Rockies-Cubs game for the past three seasons, it was practically tradition.

Not long after that, my best friend Brandi contacted me about scheduling a visit to Chicago. She wanted to come out to see me and take me dress shopping. She threw out three different weekends that would work for her, one being August 25. I told her we'd be heading to Chicago that weekend, thinking that it fit perfectly. (Who knew that she already knew everything that was going to happen?!)

Between Brandi and Nick, they planned out an entire weekend I thought I had essentially planned. Because of that, I really wasn't expecting anything to happen.

[The Game]

Saturday morning we headed off to the el and took the red line out to Wrigley Field. Brandi was documenting the entire trip from the moment we stepped out of our hotel. We got to the stadium a few minutes before the national anthem started, and Nick disappeared to get us nachos and Cokes.

At first I was really into the game, even though the innings seemed to be going really slowly. Then I got a little distracted and started taking pictures of the stadium, the clouds, the game. Nick seemed a little out of sorts, but when asked about it, simply said he was tired from not sleeping well. I chalked it up to the fold-out couch.

Before the start of the fourth inning, Brandi and I took a purposely-planned bathroom break so Nick could take care of some things (like getting another fan to record what was about to happen). We came back and I kept trying to take pictures of things, and Nick. Then came the middle of the fifth...

[The Proposal]

Apparently the middle of the fifth is when Wrigley runs all the "welcome" announcements. As soon as it started Brandi exclaimed, "Look! They're doing the welcomes! Someone's here for their bachelorette party." Still not suspecting anything, I started reading them with her, "Yeah, lots of bachelor parties today." A few more names flashed and then all of a sudden, all I saw was my name. I sort of saw the part after it, but I didn't really need to read it to know what was going on.

I gasped (apparently the loudest and deepest gasp ever, according to Brandi), and then looked over at Nick who was down on one knee next to me. I was vaguely aware that people were starting to crowd around with cameras and phones, and I remember wondering how they all knew where we were.

I know Nick asked if I would marry him, and I stared at the ring before I said yes, but I remember it all as a quick blur because then I dove in to hug him and hide my face from everyone. After hugging for a bit, Nick put the ring on my finger, which was kind of hard because both our hands were shaking. Then apparently the entire stadium gave us a standing ovation, which was really sweet. One huge special moment in our lives, shared with thousands of strangers. I started to wave to everyone, then felt sort of silly, so I stopped. :P

After that we spent most of the remainder of the game calling and texting family and friends, with a break to get up and sing during the seventh inning stretch. I kept trying to savor the moment, but all I remember is everything felt like a huge blur. When we left the stadium, we took some pictures in font of the Cubs sign before heading back.


That night we went out to celebrate at the Grand Lux and the Signature Lounge in the Hancock tower. A perfect ending to a perfect day. :)

[More photos, just because]



Lluffman said...

Elise...this is so amazing. Definitely the perfect engagement story for you two!! Wes and I could not be happier for you and Nick!

camille nicole said...

Bran was texting me the WHOLE time and sending me pictures and I was SO excited! I'd been counting down the days until the game and couldn't wait to hear the news...I love you girl, and I am SO happy for you!
If only I wasn't across the ocean...but I'll be back soon!
So git ready!!! I'm cummin!

aswartz said...

thanks so much for sharing Elise!! I LOVE all the photos and its so much fun that he did it at Wrigley!!! Seriously SOOOO happy for you both!!! Yay for another Moody couple ;)

Jess said...

WHOOP! WHOOP! SO AWESOME!! Love the photos and the video... best part of the video is EVERYONE ELSE who doesn't know you grabbing their cameras. hahaha. Roll on good times July 2013!

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