This is my take of the complex and well-executed secret proposal plans developed by my devious and thoughtful boyfriend (now fiancé), that have apparently been in the works for three years! As many of you know, my boyfriend and I celebrated our five-year anniversary this July. Little did I know that he had something much bigger planned for August, and with a little help from our friends!
Here’s how the story began…
On June 3rd my boss came to me in the office and said that my senior co-worker was supposed to be attending training in San Francisco this August for a computer program we use at the hotel, but that there was a good chance she may not be able to go due to family commitments. I was discreetly asked if I would be open to being her back-up and without hesitation (and zero questions asked) I said definitely! I was told it needed to be kept a secret from my coworkers and thinking I was scoring a free work trip, I went with it. Around the same time, my boyfriend had indicated the he would also be going on a work trip in the month of August. I waited to hear details of his trip in case we needed to make arrangements for our pets if we were both scheduled to be away at the same time. A couple of weeks passed until he casually confirmed that his work trip was a go and that he would be flying out August 8th for three weeks to South Korea. I eagerly awaited to hear of my trip details and in mid-June, it was further clarified that I was likely going San Fran from August 12th-14th.
On July 2nd I was ecstatic to hear that I was for sure going, so we arranged for my boyfriend’s friend and former roommate to watch our pets while I was gone (three days total). I slowly begin asking my Manager, Sarah, more questions related to the work trip: What time will I arrive? What are the hours of the training? Do I have a budget? What receipts can I submit? Etc., etc., etc. (I am a woman who demands details, and so of course I had many questions). All of the answers I received were reasonable and justified, and I was even “filled in” on the training course topics from an outside source via email. I hoped my itinerary would allow for some ‘free time’ to see a few sites while in San Fran; I had tentatively arranged a dinner the second evening with a friend from LA who decided without hesitation that she would fly out to meet me! I discover that I will be flying in early the day before the training (with registration later that day and a dinner the first night), so I begin researching tourist hotspots, must-do’s, transportation and restaurants in the area to plan a busy afternoon of leisure activities and sites. I suspected nothing…
Meanwhile, my boyfriend flies off on a three-week trip to Korea with only a carry-on (reasonable explanation #24: a co-worker had just taken the same trip and had their baggage lost, so no checked bag meant no risk), and I think I have the house to myself for a few days before I head out. Sarah emails me my boarding passes and final details for the trip, and I make a last minute preparation checklist (pet food preparations, packing, camera checks, finalize my day-trip locations for when I arrive, travel insurance, etc.). I work my way backwards from my flight departure time and determine I need to adapt a child’s bedtime schedule the night before (about 7:00pm as I’d be getting up before 2:00am).
Two days before my flight, I’m offered a complimentary manicure Thursday at 5:30pm as practice for new spa staff. Practical me declines, as I really value a full night’s rest intending to go to bed at 7:00pm. Twice more I am encouraged to get the manicure, but decline. I also message the hotel concierge to get more details and verify a time for my confirmed early check-in, ask if they have basic hygiene supplies, and inquire about the cable-car system. One answer struck me as odd - they could not confirm early check-in - and again I dismissed it without further question. The night before my flight, I get home and shower, eat dinner, pack a few last minute items, tinker with my camera and prep my bunnies’ food for the next three days. I dream of waking up in bed in the middle of the night to someone coming up the stairs to my room – it’s my boyfriend who has come home early to surprise me (though the rest of the dream makes no sense…).
I wake up at 1:33am, get my act together and eat some toast, and set out for the airport. Everything goes smoothly – I drop the car at Park n’ Fly by 3:19am, got through security and arrive at the gate by 4:35am and board without delay. I arrive early in San Fran (unfortunately not able to get a glimpse of a view on the way in due to fog) and make my way to the taxi pick-up without a hitch. I arrive at Hotel Nikko at 9:49am.
It’s once I check-in that the red flags start going up…
I pay for my taxi and head in and up the escalator towards the front desk. The front desk member welcomes me (her badge says she is in training). I start the standard check-in process, providing ID and a credit card. Next, she verifies my number of nights – three* nights. I correct her saying two nights, confirming I’m here Friday and Saturday night only. She displays an inquisitive look, then apologizes and confirms two nights. She then goes on to say my room is pre-paid** and that she doesn’t need my credit card at all. I can see her scrolling through reservation details when I inquire if the room is ready and stipulate that an early check-in was requested. Without acknowledgement, she states “I’ll be right back. I have to go talk to with the Manager”***. She is gone for five minutes, and as other guests begin to line up behind me I wonder what is taking so long. I think it odd, but don’t suspect a thing because she’s in training. She comes back with a big smile saying the room is ready and that a hotel tour with the Front Desk Manager has been arranged, so I should go settle in and go freshen up, then come down when I’m ready for the tour.
*Red flag #1: Afterwards, I learned that he checked in the night before me. He took pictures of the room so he could put it back in the same clean state for when I got in, not even sleeping in the bed to ensure I had no inkling that anyone had been there (he slept on the floor).
**Red flag #2: In most cases, the hotel requires a credit card at check-in for incidentals (unless everything is explicitly being billed to the company/group). This was never clarified by my Manager and I was happy-go-lucky just to be there and wanted to get into the room, so I didn’t question it.
***Red flag #3: I just figured there was a note about my early check-in and perhaps she was asking the training (maybe they didn’t have the information packages quite that early).
I get into the room and I’m shocked at how nice it is! It’s a decent size, has a king bed and an amazing view of the city and the bay! I gawk in awe over the view and spend at least 5 minutes just looking out the window, taking in the surroundings and visually exploring below. Quite content with my room and view, I take a video of the space, snap a few pictures, sign-in on Wi-Fi and struggle to upload them, and start to unpack my suitcase, including all my bathroom accessories and sorting out my US cash. I get a call just as I’m satisfied with unpacking and putting on my shoes from the Front Desk Manager, Adrienne, who says she’s been expecting me for the tour. So I bolt out the door and down to meet her.
I ask for Adrienne at the front desk, we get introduced and I excitedly head up with her to look at the first room. Over the course of the tour she confirms that it was organized by Sarah, and shows me a few different rooms and suites, as well as the property amenities (a bedazzling glass enclosed pool, trendy dog run and outdoor lounge, chic restaurant, state-of-the-art health club, etc.). We jabber over types of guests, associated memberships, planned renovations in the near future, city highlights – nothing that would suggest it wasn’t a real tour.
All along… my boyfriend had been up on the second floor and had secretly observed me checking-in (and security keeping an eye on him). Unbeknownst to me, he had allocated 5 minutes for me to ‘freshen up’ and not 30+ minutes. Growing impatient and upset (and I don’t blame him), he had called the front desk and asked them to call my room and get me downstairs ASAP. Once he saw me meet Adrienne in lobby, he sprinted up to the room to discover his access key no longer permitted entry (since I had been issued new keys). Frantic, he called the front desk and had security (the same guy who had been scoping him out on the second level) come up to let him in (10:54am).
Adrienne drops me off back at my room and hands me my training itinerary. That’s when I enter my room to find my man standing in a suit with a big smirk on his face, a cityscape view backdrop and two cameras visibly set up in the room. I’ve just been hit by a truck hauling a reality check. My heart flutters and grinning from ear-to-ear, I burst out “F***…. What the F***!? (Giggles) Oh my God!!! What are you doing here!?” After an intimate speech and getting down on one knee, he popped the question. My response: “YES, OF COURSE!!!”
It was truly the happiest and most delightfully surprising moment of my life (not to mention confusing as hell since he was supposed to be on the other side of the globe). It was perfect - a memory that I’ll treasure forever. My mind was literally blown! What followed was a series of ramblings from me: Did you arrange [the tour] or did Sarah, or did Sarah help you? So you flew here? When are you going back [to Korea]? It took me some time to collect myself and my thoughts, and process what had just happened; that what I had been expecting for this weekend was all a ruse - the training and his trip to Korea wasn’t real at all!
Hint for next week’s post: My San Francisco Trip Part 2 – Our Adventures in San Francisco - Read Part 2 now!
I'm a 20-something woman working my way through life in Canada, traveling when I can afford it and seeking out my passions one day at a time.