TEN FLEETING DAYS and My After-musings Part 1: An Engagement Recap and More
48 hours after I said my teary farewells to my dearest Ian at Suvarnabhumi Airport, I finally re-visited my blog. I stopped writing anything/updating it since the day Ian arrived. I had so much going on, and besides, I wanted every minute of my spare time to be spent with my new fiancé since we don’t get to do this a lot.
The first thing I did was to view my statistics: 3 views, 3 visitors after 10 days of not posting anything. My blog page felt as lonely as I was. On the day Ian arrived I still had 45 views and about 50 visitors. Now I only had 3, probably my three most loyal followers: Ian, his mom and my mom.
Anyway, since Ian is back in New York, I’m trying with difficulty to settle back into my old routine. I so miss being with him. Saying that life is different without him around is an understatement. Life isn’t exactly life without my baby. Those ten days flew by so quickly and the only way I could get a grip on them is to write down my memories.
Work, nap, talk to Ian, sleep, wake-up, talk to Ian then work again and the cycle continues. With the exception of weekend visits to my family in the suburbs, English tutorials on the side, dinner dates with my dear friend Pui and work-out sessions if I feel like it, there’s nothing much going on with me. Besides, work takes so much of my energy that I feel exhausted when I get home. My me-time is spent mostly on reading fiction, watching re-runs of my favorite series until I fall asleep (they’re basically my sleeping pills- a habit I learned from a previous relationship hahaha) and researching topics for my blog if I’m not writing entries.
Going back to my blog, I started writing a few entries but they are not yet ready to be published. Mostly, they are about my sadness because of Ian’s return to the States and my longing for him to be back again. There are a lot of emotions in me that I need to process before I could say that I am satisfied with what I have written. Maybe I am being uber-melodramatic, but who cares? I want to feel what I feel. I never want to get used to him being away from me. I cherish the pain of his absence, the sensation of burning in my eyes as I cry my heart out for him, the heaviness in my chest as if my heart was torn from it…All these only make me determined to do everything for us to be finally together. Yes, I am hurting. And I feel alive. What gift to taste both the bliss and melancholies of life. What blessing and curse it is to be in love!
On to a lighter note, Ian and I were very busy while he was here. As most of you, my dear readers, already know, Ian and I got officially engaged this month (February). His formal proposal was followed by a flurry of activities. We had to do everything in 10 days because we don’t have the luxury to be together physically every day. So as a special offering to you all, Ian and I are sharing our engagement highlights (some of them are on Facebook, but here, we will give you an exclusive on the behind the scenes happenings):
Ian proposed to me on the 16th of February, Saturday. We were checked in a Superior Suite (we got upgraded) on the 74th floor (Sky Zone) of Baiyoke Sky Hotel, Thailand’s Tallest Tower.
We had a late breakfast in one of the tower’s restaurants which offered a varied selection of gastronomic fares such as European, American, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, and Thai food of course.
Ian’s choice was, predictably, what Thais would call “blandly American” without so much attention to an assortment of flavors. Waffles, a croissant, strips of bacon, two ham slices and coffee. At least he had some omelette (which he didn’t finish by the way).
As for me, I had Thai Kway Teow Soup (Thai Noodle soup) which prompted one of Ian’s usual: “For breakfast?” It was followed by my nonchalant ready reply “Oh we Asians eat anything, anytime”. I shared some of his waffles, bacon and omelette and he got me a glass of mixed fruit and vegetable fresh-squeezed juice. Such a darling, my Ian. He really knows what I like. At that point, I thought his sweet gesture was the best part of my morning.
Breakfast overlooking Bangkok
In gratitude, I offered him this:
Three pieces of mangosteens for three words=I LOVE YOU!
(Mangosteen is an exotic and very expensive fruit, and depending on the season, its cost could range from B400-600/kilo. True story! )
He had never tried mangosteen before and he indulged me in tasting it. He appreciated it and I was happy. Little did I know, there was so much more in store after that hearty breakfast.
As guests in the Sky Suites, we earned access to the famous observatory deck which offers a 360-degree view of the city skyline. We decided to take a stroll after our good meal and feast our eyes this time on the city’s visual delights.
The view didn’t disappoint. It was indeed breathtaking, as observed by those who have been here before us.
A view of the Victory Monument – that’s when you know you’re in Central Bangkok
It was a bit scary too! If not for the secure railings, I would never even dare get close to the edge.
Ian and I taking turns with the camera…
Until a polite, young US Marine stationed here in Thailand took a photo of us together.
In another section of the tower, there’s a viewing telescope,
lots of Baiyoke Tower miniatures,
A Thai cop statue,
A Snow White standee,
And there in one corner, Rapunzel’s tower.
I am not a big fan of fairytales, but to tell you the truth, Rapunzel’s story helped in the realization of our own story.
Ian once used the Rapunzel story as a metaphor explaining how I could help him before we actually met. Although we had spoken very often and had gotten to know each other well before we met for the first time, we did not take this plan lightly; while we couldn’t predict the outcome of our meeting, his gesture of coming alone to a foreign country he had never been to, to spend time with someone he hadn’t ever met, was akin to a leap of faith. And while he was absolutely willing to do what it would take to find out what “this” was all about, he recognized that this was a two-way street; while he was willing to make the effort to see me, he wanted some support and security along the way.
Enter the Rapunzel allegory: he would tell me, “I’m willing to be brave, and to climb that tower to get to you…but please, let down your hair. Help me out here…give me something to grab onto, keep your hair strong so that I can count on your help to get me up to you.” He wanted to know that despite my misgivings, my skepticism about love, my fear of commitment after recently rising out of the ashes of my longest relationship, that I would be “ready” to receive him, strong enough emotionally to give this guy a fair chance if he would make all of that effort to meet and spend time with me.
Keeping my “hair strong” through this wasn’t always easy…but Ian knew and acknowledged this, and would tell me that “the best things in life rarely ever come easily”. It’s true; he may have been the one taking the journey, but I had to play my part as well if we were to have a good chance at success.
And that is what I like most about Rapunzel and her story. If I could identify with a fairy tale character, it’s her. Like me, she was an active participant in the realization of their dream-come true. We are so accustomed to the theme of the knight in shining armor rescuing the damsel in distress. There’s nothing really wrong with that. Yet Rapunzel is a refreshing showcase of some girl power, of a woman knowing what she wants in life and love and working towards achieving it. And It matches me and Ian’s story perfectly because obviously, I am not some Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty, enslaved or asleep! I am taking the leap with eyes wide open, awake and very aware of what’s happening around me. Ian and I made this decision out of our own free will, with no coercive forces around us and the only powers to contend with are the bureaucratic ones. LOL!
And so it was only appropriate that Ian once again professed his love and devotion and then proposed to me under “Rapunzel’s tower”… (Coincidentally, since it was Love Month, the hotel-wide theme is Fairy Tale Romance hence the presence of storybook set-ups, pumpkin carriages, magic mirrors and the Snow White standee I showed you earlier.)
Inside that pink and purple creation, there were two small “stair” steps leading up to Rapunzel’s “window”. Ian invited me to sit on the top step while he assumed a semi-kneeling position on the second step.
He started by reading to me a poem that he wrote while on the plane and on the way to see me…
Under shine of eternal stars
We tread on ground of
Countless fleeting lives
Their echoes behind,
Their echoes ahead
And though our journeys may
a hiccup in time, the twinkle
of a distant sun, the
sigh of shifting sands and seas
To us: a lifetime,
and the universe only exhales
There’s only one truth
that makes my existence more
than a blink from God:
Your love lets me flirt with eternity,
taste the epiphanies,
and breach the boundaries of time and
It’s only with this essence,
Your gift to me,
that I can truly be free.
With your heart bound to me,
I can live beyond the skin
boundary of my own mortality.
I’ll always be grateful
if you go there with me
and treasure our union’s new reality
Don’t be afraid. I’m with you.
I’m for you
Take my hand, forever.
“Cecille, will you marry me?”
“Cecille, will you marry me?”. Ian had to ask me twice because I was too dumbstruck to utter a reply when he first asked me. Ha! Blabbermouth me silent for once in my life.
The second time, he took my hand, put the ring on my finger and kissed it with so much tenderness and loving I felt my heart was about to burst.
I managed to croak a reply. “Yes, of course I will marry you.” There I was, both a woman and a little girl reduced to those 7 words (which are actually a fitting reply to the Weinstein family’s offering of 7 diamonds).
Me being completely “blown-away”
But I tell you my dear readers, my voice may have failed me but my mind, heart and soul are unwavering in conviction. In that moment, I was sure, more than ever, that the man kneeling in front of me, baring his own mind, heart and soul (?), is the person I want to spend the rest of my life with. Long hair or not. Death metal-playing, poetry-writing, sometimes awkward and dorky Ian Weinstein, the love of my life and my good medicine.
My fiancé. Wow! The word rolls off my tongue so perfectly that I can’t stop saying it. During the first few minutes of us being engaged, I felt like I was on a high or something. My head was in the clouds. I was floating, dazed and I couldn’t take my eyes off my gorgeous sparkly ring. It must be true to some degree – I was “stoned”. Still stunned and smiling silly to myself, Ian guided me on the way back to our suite.
Wearing that ring on my finger made me feel really special. In a way, I felt invincible, like I could do whatever I wanted to. You know how it is when you ride the elevator – it’s eerily quiet. You nod politely to your fellow passengers, but rarely do you try to engage in conversation. Yet today was different.
“We just got engaged!!!” Ooops! I guess I was thinking aloud. Wayyy too loud, as it disrupted the deafening silence inside that metal box. Good thing it was well received by this family who were our fellow passengers and congratulated us in their Scandinavian accent. For a couple of minutes there everyone was laughing. And that’s how I got away with it. Invincible!
Ian thanked them and gave them brief details of his proposal just a few moments ago as I showed off my ring to the two cute little girls who in turn eyed it intently. “Isn’t it pretty?” And they nodded in agreement.
The girls carried some kind of fairy tale props, possibly giveaways from the hotel in relation to their theme. In my mind, I was wondering what these girls were thinking. Not so long ago, I was once like them. I was a girl who believed in happy endings. Until life happened and scratched and scarred me, making me a skeptic in the process.
Then along came Ian.
I would say his greatest gift to me is not even the ring, but the gift of believing. With him, I can trust and love freely because I know he will always be there for me. That I can believe in fairy tales because Ian will put out. He will not fail me.
I am not naïve. I’m aware of the harsh realities of life. I even know that the original versions of the fairy tales I grew up with were actually gory and terrifying. But none of that matters once you have found your respective rightful knight or maiden. As in Ian’s poem, I need not be afraid. I will never be alone. For he will be my partner and we will face life together. Ever after.