So this is the big day. The HUGE day. Truly life changing…. Rare are there such moments in ones life which act as a milestone in such a way. Here it begins.
Originally I had booked for Erica’s jump to take place at 6:30am. This ensured me that she would be the only one on the plane which is what I wanted, and to minimise the number of bystanders on the ground. Plus also it would give us a bit more time to relax once it was done to prepare for the many remaining surprises for the day.
Unfortunately I had received a call from the Skydiving place a week earlier telling me that the jump would have to be pushed forward an hour. Seeing as they had one other person jumping then, they didn’t want to launch 2 flights for 2 people. Those bastards…. anyway so the 6:30am jump became 7:30am.
The original plan was for me to kick Erica out of bed at 6am with no warning and go “Oi Woman! Get dressed we are leaving the house in 30mins!”. But this fell apart the night before. She was out with a friend whom was visiting from Melbourne, and by 12:30am, she still wasn’t home. Granted she wasn’t aware that anything was happening in the moment so I had to let that particular cat out of the bag and inform her that we had to leave the house at 6:15am in the morning. For what? I refused to tell her. Needless to say she bugged the hell out of me for more information when she got home, and I told her she would find out in the morning.
Well morning came and as you could all probably guess, I had a sleepless night. I was just too excited, and had a colony of butterflies in my stomach all bumping into each other. I couldn’t believe the day had arrived for what was finally going to happen.
She asked me what she was supposed to wear, and I said to dress casual. She asked if slippers were okay, I said no and for her to wear sneakers and jeans. She at this point said that she hoped I wasn’t going to take her bush walking as its too hot… I could only humour her with a maybe.
The irony of this whole thing was the T-Shirt that she chose to wear for the morning. It was her “Diamonds are a girls best friend” shirt. How apt and fitting this would turn out to be.
As we were driving down in the car, she kept asking me repeatedly about where I was bringing her, I told her she would have to wait. It was a long drive there and I would tell her half way through. It was rather enjoyable watching her squirm in her seat trying to find out what she was going to be doing. She’s the most kan chiong (sp?) person I know, and I love that about her Its so cute.
I finally tell her half way into the trip that she will be jumping out of a perfectly good air plane, and she didn’t really blink an eye. She was surprised of course, but had no hesitation and not a moment of fear. Wow… impressive. When we were approaching the destination, my stomach was buzzing, I was about to break into sweat… I just couldn’t take it.
I told Erica that the butterflies in my stomach were from my own memories for when I first skydived… little did she know the real reason why!!! Its rare for my stomach to twist into such knots that it did… I truly hate that feeling.
Also I was paranoid that she might spot my crew. My ground crew were all already there and hidden in various locations around the drop zone keeping an eye on me waiting for my arrival. I was terrified that she would spot a familiar face or car.
So we checked into the reception, and they got us hooked up. The staff there all knew about it but played it so casually (of course) that I really started to worry if they remembered or not!! They did… and played their parts well So we went back outside, and the instructor whom will tandem jump with Erica started the camera rolling. I was sweating my ass off, and looking around still in a worry. I received a message from Falcon saying “The Falcon is in the lagoon” and I knew everything was in place.
It was time to go… so I kissed Erica farewell, wished her the best of luck, and the shuttle bus to take the jumpers to the local airfield left. That’s when I got the phone call, and it all began.
Matty and Falcon have been covertly keeping an eye on us AND filming us from a nearby location, the sneaky bastards. And they called me once they saw her leave to get this party started. I hooked up with them, gave them instructions on where to bring the sign, and Falcon set about to bring it round in his Ute.
Setting up the sign turned out to be surprisingly quick, thanks to some foresight on Shannons part. I figured the sign was so large it would be fairly easy to put 20 bits of wood together. She had earlier insisted on labelling the boards numerically so we all know what fits to where. She was right… after dumping the wood on the ground, it was like a jigsaw! It would have been a nightmare without those numbers to go on. Thanks Shaz! In the meantime Shannon, Elaine, and Janine were down by the beach preparing the post proposal surprise breakfast. More on that in the next part.
They said it takes about 40mins from the bus leaving to the jumpers touching down at the drop zone, so I gave everyone 30mins to get everything fully organised. We had the sign done in 15mins, which was good. But it also left me with 15mins to worry my ass off. I set up the column, and got Elaine to help with de-petalling about half a dozen roses or so and sprinkle the petals around the base of the column. Initially I also put 1 rose on the column, but it looked a bit spartan so I ended up placing 4… or was it 3? I can’t remember now. And the ring box next to them.
By now we were attracting quite a lot of attention. People were coming in from the beach and the park surrounding to look at what we were doing, somewhat embarrassing, but I did my best to ignore them. Now that the sign and the column were set up, it was time to change.
I got my suit from Falcons Ute and changed. If I wasn’t sweating enough from worry before, I sure as hell was sweating from the heat now! It was a warm day and I was certainly feeling it.
Shannon came down from the beach and started prepping for the photoshoot. She was manning Ericas 7mp camera, and Falcon was on the video camera. Shannon then told me she had prepared an additional surprise… she had contacted the Illawarra Mercury, which is the main newspaper that covers the Illawarra Region (wollongong) and told them about the whole thing. And they came along to cover it!! As if I didn’t have enough worries with my girl landing soon and so many surprise spectators!!!
We started to hear the buzz of a plane in the air so we got into position. Me standing beside the column and the film crew nearby. My heart was beating, my blood pumping, my lungs short for breath. I wasn’t worried about getting engaged, but I was worried whether everything would go according to plan!
After planning this for 5 months, my mind couldn’t comprehend that the day had arrived and I was actually there! The moment I’ve been waiting so long for! The point of no turning back, no return. OMG!!! WILL IT WORK???
I still managed to maintain a bare semblence of composure… up until we saw the jumpers leave the plane… then I hyperventilated and almost passed out… Great huh?
I couldn’t breath… I couldn’t move… Gosh they were plummeting through the sky fast… The moment is upon me. She will see the sign at any moment. I can’t breath… help! Thankfully Matt came running in with a bottle of water, and gave me a reassuring pat on the back. It gave me some strength, the water some rejuvenation, and I managed to pull myself together again.
The marker came in first. That would be the lead jumper in a bright orange suit and parachute than tells the other jumpers where to land. We then saw the first tandem jumper. At this stage we couldn’t tell if it was Erica or the other girl on the plane, they both had to wear the same pants so we couldn’t tell them apart. Only after they pulled away to start landing further away from the sign could we tell it was not her. I think Erica’s instructor took his time coming in to give her more time to prepare herself, and to take in the sign.
Now they are coming in for the landing… this is it. It has come… From this moment…
I put on the bravest face that I could muster. Stood tall, solid, and calm. Watching her as her instructor brought her in for a perfect landing, sliding to a stop only a few metres from me. Maintaining composure as I saw her released from her harness and start walking over to me wiping her eyes. She was crying… I wanted to cry too. Be strong.
She looked beautiful and perfect when I took her hands. I had no doubt in my mind that this was the girl I wanted to be with for the rest of my life. That I would forever love, and forever care for. There would space for no one else in my heart for as long as I had her, and I truly wanted to spend every moment from here to eternity with this woman.
Then my mind went blank. All that speech preparation and memorisation. All that rehearsing and practice… all for naught. So I did my best to adlib from my heart. I love this woman, and I just needed to tell her my feelings. Simple right? I was so nervous as anyone would be able to tell watching the video. But I said what I had to say.
I will never forget the feeling of when I went down on my knee, and asked her to marry me. To be my wife. To be Mrs Erica Yap. This was the moment where I find out if she wants the same things that I do, to live our life as one from here on. To write our own story that the histories will record. To see our children and grandchildren tell our stories down the line.
From this moment… my life changed. My world changed.
That one simple reply of “Yes” made my heart beat with pleasure and sing with joy. From this moment… this is Erica, my fiancee. My wife to be. And there is no measure for the pride and happiness I feel every time I say that.
The moment was done, now time for the congratulations. Group hugs all round from my friends whom I care so much about and care so much about me. I am so happy that they were there to share this precious moment. To be part of it. And that this moment would not be here if it wasn’t for their help and support. Thank you guys. Really… thank you.
Now Shannon felt the need to mention that a photographer from the Mercury was here, you’ll know when this happens because on the video you’ll see and hear Erica squeal a loud “Noooo!!!”. Hahaha… girls being the vain creatures that they are, she didn’t want to be caught all teary eyed, with messy hair, in casual clothing.
Wayne from the Mercury took more photos, then set up a couple of staged shots for the proposal just in case. Thankfully they didn’t need to be used.
I think this is where Shannon pointed out Ericas shirt saying “Diamonds are a girls best friend”. And we all had a good laugh. And that’s pretty much it… I took Erica by the hand, give her a kiss, and start leading her down to the beach for her second surprise for the day, albeit a small one. Just the breakfast.
But it will be a new part for that, and just a forewarning that it will probably be the most boring part of this whole Chronicle. Actually, all the good bits are over, its all boring from here on! But hopefully and readers will still find something to interest them.
Once again… Falcon, Shannon, and Matt. My love, thanks, and eternal gratitude for all you’ve done goes out to you guys. Thank you all once again.
And finally, here we have a scan of the newspaper article that was printed. I thought it was going to be a short little blurb, but no… it was almost a half page article. A very pleasant surprise indeed… thank you Shan
Definitely something for the kids to read. And we have about 30 copies of it!
Life is good