'wanderer, there is no path, the path is made by walking. we're all wanderers in life.' -spanish poet, antonio machado

Sunday, March 29, 2009

the story behind the story...from Tom's POV


Didn’t even jostle your senses, dangle a carrot or even play on words. Just ripping it right out there! It happened, it’s definitely ‘official’, (ahem)…Megs and I are going the distance! We’re getting married! I know, it’s unreal and I feel (have felt and will continue to feel) HELLUVA blessed! To be honest, look at us, nothing has changed (ehrlich!!)! We’re both still very much in love and happy and are looking forward to spending our lives together. It’s just that Megs now sports an über-chic, crystal-clear rock with a hip-n-oh-so-trend-setting on her left ring finger. We’ve both realized a while ago that something (the earth’s magnetic field) or someone (the all-powerful God) bigger than us has brought us together. In our minds, we are far from perfect, but are (without an itsy-bitsy doubt) perfect for each other. We love each other to no end and, in that spirit, I submit to everyone the story behind the story.

Knowing that everyone under the sun (or at least our closest friends and family!) will want to hear what happened, where, when and even how, I decided that it might make sense to write a sort of letter. The idea for putting it down on paper came to me at Schiphol airport (Amsterdam) and I continued scribbling down notes during the overseas flight back. Gosh, I am already giving away the details (we were overseas!) before I even started story-telling! I guess I better get into the meat of it!

It was all conceived when I came up with this super-complicated scheme to ask her. The thought was that I need to draft a deck of riddles or short puzzles or quirky-goofball questions of sorts that Megs was to respond to with one-word answers. Yeah, Megs hates riddles too, so what better way to convince your girlfriend to marry you than to attack her weaknesses! Let’s show-n-tell a bit, check it (sorry guys, couldn't post all of the pics here - but if you want to see 'em, ask me and i'll send the pdf version of this note).

Now, this was easy for Megs to answer because ol’ Ogden Nash wrote this one, our favorite limerick. Here is some more flavour.

So, for this question, I gave her a few clues, like this is the flag of the country the place is in. Peru, duh!

And, there used to be a civilization there once upon a time. Not the Aztecs, but close. Yes, yes, yes, the Incas.

And, this animal (tree frog) lives there, in this sort of environment (swampy rainforest), and this place is located on this continent (hint, hint, HINT!).

Megs easily got the answer to this question as well, answering Macchu Picchu (we’ve always chatted about heading there and to emerge at its base rather than to tour it by bus).

It went on and on (more puzzles/riddles), with exactly fourteen such questions being asked in the week or two leading up to the proposal. She was nailing each of the answers, left and right, no problem. I was starting to believe that I wouldn’t have to rely on my back up plan, which was that I could simply confuse her into marrying me! Everything was working out and we finished trudging through all of the questions and answers in the deck. Perhaps she noticed where this was heading or maybe not. Either way, we definitely weren’t done with the questioning. There was one more question and it would involve unscrambling the first letters of each of the answers she gave me for the first fourteen. So, basically, try and unscramble LYRIUMROLMWAYE into a question. I told her, “I prepared something for you, a set of ‘love letters’ that you can use to help you unscramble the final question”. The love letters were actual letters, the exact first letters of each of the answers, hand-drawn by hers truly and placed into envelopes addressed to her (by the way, our history behind the love letter goes back as far as the history behind asking each other riddles - we have done this since the beginning). Either way, she picked up the stack of love letters and promptly asked me whether she should open them right away or whether she should wait. I’ll have to admit, she had a twinkle in her eyes. Nevertheless, I tried to stick to my cover, which was that this “special project” of mine was designed to just stimulate the creative side of the brain. I assured her that she could open and unscramble whenever she wanted. Playing dumb (me, that is), I told her she could lay them all out, unscrambled, in a late night city metro ride. Nevertheless, it just so happened that at the end of the week we were planning to go to, well…, just about the most majestic, medieval Bohemian village a three hour bus ride from Prague could find. She told me with a wink that she wanted to unscramble the letters in Český Krumlov. I thought that was splendid.

The bulk of the week leading up to the weekend was awesome. We were getting excited for our weekend, but we had little time to actually think about it. The week was super loaded with activities. Our Monday was stacked with an alternative free tour of Old Town and Hradčany with our favorite crass, Jewish, lead pub-crawler (Isaac shout-out!). Hands-down the most entertaining two hours you could ever spend in Prague. That night we cooked together and afterwards enjoyed a round of quiz bowl at the Kavarná. Monday was spoken for. Oh, dang, here is a great spot to embed a few more pictures from Prague. Take a peek!
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Alright, back to the prose. So, Tuesday was also packed, but with preparations for the St. Patty’s day party at the Czech Inn hostel (where Megan works as team leader/manager). We also made sure that any individual inkling of Irish nationalism was branded in what we were wearing (or drinking!) There was a live cover band, plenty o’ clover leaves cut-out of green construction paper (that ended up littering the walls of the Kavarná) and, you guessed it, green pivo! How jolly it was!

Wednesday was more tamed and we spent it recovering from smooching everyone that was wearing a ‘Kiss me, I’m Irish’ t-shirt. Whoa, what a night! Like a horsefly gnawing on exposed skin while sun-bathing, Megs had to wake up early because she had Czech language tutoring. Of course, being the gentleman that I am, I made sure to wake up and go with her (I didn’t mention this before, but Megs takes these lessons twice a week and she is doing awesome. She would tell you that she doesn’t study enough, but I will tell you that listening to her struggle through forming conversational Czech phrases is about the cutest thing ever. The way I see it, whatever will help her learn Polish!) In the late morning, I had a chance to share a buttermilk stack with the older brother, Zach, and was able to get a little of my own work done back at the best hostel in Europe (Czech Inn, of course!). We were able to kick our feet up in the evening with a short run up to Vyšherad and a pleasant night of grilling out at community group with the Stewarts.

Thursday was spent at work with Megs. I joined her again in the AM and then took off for the afternoon to pick up a set of bus tickets for our Krumlov(e!) get-away, to gossip with Talitha and to spend some time capturing more photos on my own. That night was also packed with activities, because we attended a din-din party at the Baker’s place followed by a round of closed room karaoke. We even played the Wii version of dance-dance revolution and watched the tournament (madness!) from three different laptops tapped into internet live-streaming. After returning to Megs’ flat, we quickly packed up and started dreaming about our weekend away from the Czech capital city.

Friday morning started out with a tiny bit of breakfast and a dash to Wenceslas square. We picked up a few more bags of Haribo Pico Ballas (more gummi food, what a surprise!), a packet of tissues (for my snotty little nose) and wound (or winded) our way underground to the Florenc bus station off the yellow line. Soon enough (by mid afternoon) we leapt onto the bus and off we went, to Český Krumlov! An iTunes movie or two later, we had made it. We met a sweet middle-aged couple from Montana on the bus and together we meandered our way into the central square of the quaint town. After they helped us map out our way back up part of the hill to the hostel we were staying at, we parted ways. Our weekend alone had just begun!

So, now I embark on the most important part of the story behind the story. That night we meandered down and up and down the cobblestone alley ways in search of sustenance. After striking it terribly poorly at several of the recommended pubs, we settled on eating at the Cikánská Jizba (the local gypsy outfit). There were accordions and laughter and goulash and, of course, plenty of cheap but awesome brew. Afterwards, we headed back to the Krumlov House, our cozy little (take-your-shoes-off-at-the-front-door) home away from home. The two Aussie managers (Emma and Cam shout-out!) were wicked, giving us the (Red) Attic Room with the most complete two-paned view I’ve ever seen (we joked about how small the windows were!). But, to give credit, the view was amazing. Overlooking one of the several turns the Vltava makes through the town, dusk and dawn seemed to exhibit more purpose. We crashed to a movie, never to see the credits.

The next day (Saturday) was awesome. We experienced everything that was inked on our map. From the town-wide touted horká čokoláda (literally, melted HOT cacao in a cup, yummy) to freshly-squeezed fruit juice concoctions to cinnamon Trdelniks (famous pastry) to meat galore at the Krčma Satlavské (where you can confuse them to seat foreign out-of-towners through spoken Polish jibberish). We seemingly never missed a beat. After climbing up to the castle, which was beautifully built into a rocky cliff, we descended back. When we reached our attic, Megs told me she was going to open the love letters and …the rest is history and we lived happily ever after. Ha-ha! Just kidding! This is the part of the story behind the story that most gossipers live for, so I heed their bugged eyes. So, she starts slowly opening the letters, one-by-one. For some reason, the unscrambling of the letters was the easiest part of all of this for Megs. She knew exactly what question I was ready to ask her. She was sitting on the hardwood, while I wrapped around her on my side. She asked me, “so, are you going to ask me?”, with the now completely un-scrambled question lying out in front of us. I responded, “of course, will you marry me?!” Without a hint of doubt or a chirp of hesitation, Megan resoundingly screamed “YES!!!” Great success! After we had our moment, I passed along another envelope addressed to her. She opened it only to find her engagement ring. From that moment, the CELEBRATION WAS ON! That night, we did everything! If Český Krumlov exploded, it wouldn’t have been enough. We needed more fireworks. First, the two of us took a long walk halfway up the hill overlooking the town. I told her about it all. She wanted all the details, like who knew, how I came up with the proposal, la-da-da-da-DA! So, I shared and shared and shared some more. It was an amazing time, actually. We grabbed a bite, found our way to a hookah bar, sipped on some Himalayan tea, sucked on some crystallized ginger and headed to a local pizzeria. After scrapping together a handful of coin, we downed another pair of tall cold ones and wrote down who could be in our wedding party, who was going to be responsible for this and that and the other. After the brainstorming session, we headed for a live blues backslash jazz concert at our befriended Mirek’s Antré bar (same place with the killer hot chocolate). Our night was consummated by several bags of Haribo gummi food (of course it was!)

WOW! What a story (behind the story)!

Now let’s direct our attention to the bare essentials. The wedding date is still TBD. We will certainly keep you posted on the developments. Until then, we thank you for your genuine outpouring of love and blow you kisses!
LOVE (and smiles),Megan and Tom


  1. What's that thing on Tom's head?

  2. cute! i love it! megs - you should post your version of the story, too... what you were thinking at the time, etc.

    i am still so, so, so excited for you two. congrats again and lots of love <3

  3. yep...that was my vision...just have to find the time to write it:). thanks so much, bren! i miss you so much! we should skype soon. I wanted to call you and share the news last week, but too expensive! love you! m