Monday, December 10, 2007

I got engaged!!

How can we possibly top "Aaron got attacked by a shark" as our best vacation story? How about "and then we got engaged?" Here is our engagement story...

Aaron never intended to propose to me on our Maui vacation, but he did go with the intention of asking my father for his permission to propose at a later date. The cosmic irony of the engagement story is that Aaron was going to propose once he had paid off his credit cards. And he was so close too! Right before we left he excitedly informed me that he had almost reached his goal of being out of debt and then, once out of debt, he would put himself right back in that same debt with the purchase of my engagement ring! But that was not what the world had in store for us, or for Aaron in particular.

After Aaron was attacked by a shark my whole family ended up at the hospital where they asked us how we were related to the victim. My mother, thinking ahead and not missing a beat, told them that I was his fiance and the rest of my family where to be his future in-laws. She told them this so that we would be regarded as family and allowed to have total access to both Aaron and his medical records which really came in handy. Of course mere seconds after Aaron arrived at the hospital, calls started coming in from the local media wanting details about the shark attack victim. So the hospital relayed what they had been told- A 32-year-old California man who was vacationing with his fiance and her family. And, of course, the next logical step was that the media printed this information in the newspapers. So there it was, in black and white, Aaron Finley and Megan Tharpe were reportedly afianced, as they say.

And there we were, Aaron Finley and Megan Tharpe in the hospital together, fielding calls from curious friends and shocked family members not knowing what our official status was at that point. i mean, we were planning on getting married eventually, and Aaron was already planning on buying a ring some time soon, just not exactly at that moment.

It soon became clear that this thing was bigger than us at this point.

the first night
this is a picture of Aaron and me during our first few moments alone on our first night in the hospital. 
We both look awful because we were exhausted after the day we had but we were too freaked out fall asleep.

We had nothing but time to talk the next few days and we decided that there was really nothing to decide! Fate had already taken the wheel and obviously this is what the world had in store for us. If we learned anything it was sometimes you're just a passenger along for the ride in this life and at those times you just have to throw up your hands and say, okay- let's just see where this takes us.

A couple days after Aaron got out of the hospital my mother and I made up an excuse to leave Aaron and my father alone together in the hotel room. Aaron was finally going to ask my father for his approval to marry his daughter. Is anyone surprised that he said yes? How can you say no to a shark attack victim!??

While mom and I were out we stopped by my favorite jewelry store in Maui and I found two rings that I liked that weren't very expensive (as you probably already know by now, Aaron didn't have any health insurance so at this point he was pretty much bankrupt) and were both unique and meaningful to our experience. And I figured we could still have some semblance of a proper proposal. So when we got back to the hotel room, and dad had already approved, I told Aaron that I had found a couple rings that I liked in his price range. His job, easy enough, was to choose one of the two and surprise me. He was more than happy to oblige, how much easier could it get for a guy? Now all he had to do was choose a time to propose. That was going to be the hard part because we rarely got a moment to ourselves.

The next day (November 5th) we took our family trip to the Maui Ocean Center (an amazing aquarium). We had planned this trip since Aaron was in the hospital because they have an 8ft tiger shark in captivity. And we were well into our obsession with tiger sharks.

This is my family and Aaron and me at lunch before we went to the aquarium
at lunch
My cousin Jane, my mother, my father, me and Aaron

Me w mr. sneaky smile
Check out the smirk on Aaron's face- he totally had a secret.

Next stop was the Maui Ocean Center! And it was amazing from the moment we walked in.

jane & me @ the aquarium
This is me and my cousin Jane in front of the brightly colored fish in a tank that you see from the top and then walk around it to see the fish from the bottom. It was filled with my favorite fish including the humuhumunukunukukapua'a- Hawaii's state fish.

at the Maui Ocean Center
Aaron and me moments after entering the inside of the aquarium. I was in heaven!

Here are some cool photos from the aquarium-

unicorn fish
unicorn fish

yellow seahorse
yellow sea horse

sea turtle
my buddy the green sea turtle

flying carpet fish
This is a sole, which is also called a flatfish, at the Maui Ocean Center. But we liked to call it the "flying carpet fish."

aquarium life
I don't know what these things are- but they're cool looking.

aquarium display
Again- don't know what this display is- but I think it's cool looking.

Tiger shark toothed club
another display- this is a A Tiger shark toothed club. An example of early Hawaiian Melee Weapons. These are the teeth that sliced into Aaron's leg.


I thought my family was taking a very long time in the darkened jellyfish room where the above picture was taken. My dad usually likes to speed through things like he's late for dinner but for the moment I thought we were all just happy to just sit there and watch these translucent beauties blubbering around in their tank. Little did I know that my family was just stalling. The aquarium was about to close in about 45 minutes and the very last section was the shark tank, complete with a tunnel that offers a 240-degree view of the sharks in a 750,000-gallon open ocean tank. So my family thought they'd drag ass until we could end up being alone together in the shark room.

here are some pictures of us enjoying the shark tank-

Shark Bait and the sharks
Aaron in front of the shark tank. The big blurry fish at the top left is the 8ft tiger shark. It's the kind of shark that bit Aaron, only waaaaay bigger.

manta ray
there were also these beautiful rays swimming with the sharks!

us and the sharks
pointing out the tiger shark.

So apparently Aaron had been trying to propose for the last HOUR we were at the aquarium but my mother wanted to make it perfect and went ahead and planned to have us wait until closing time. This meant that there was a lot of whispering and stressing and planning and poor Aaron just wanted to ask me when he felt the moment was right.

But mom got her way, and honestly, I'm glad she did because it was PERFECT!!!!

The last person left the shark enclosure and I followed the tiger shark out of the tube and back into the large tank room and Aaron wheeled after me. There we were- completely alone in this beautiful swirling underwater world and all I could think about was 'that thing is smaller than the shark that bit my boyfriend! Aaron could have been killed easily.' So I turned to him and said, "I have goosebumps, don't you?" Aaron said "Do you know why you have goosebumps?" And I said "No... why?" And he said "Because I'm asking you to marry me."

The best part is this- Aaron could only wear shorts at this point and the shorts we got him didn't have pockets. So as Aaron was asking me to marry him in this amazing romantic moment he also had his hands down his pants fiddling around, trying to untie the ring from his drawstring! It was rediculous and perfectly Aaron.

The ring finally came loose and he presented me with a ring from my favorite jewelry store Na Hoku.
nalani ring
The ring is from their Nalani collection. Nalani means "the heavens" in Hawaiian- as in "thank the heavens that Aaron is still alive."

Of course I cried and then jumped in his lap for a big kiss and an even bigger hug. I was thrilled. It was really the proposal of my dreams.

us joining my folks after Aaron proposed.

newly engaged!!
just engaged!
the engagement crew
everyone's happy!

engaged couple w the cohort
This is Steph, a Maui Ocean Center employee- she was in cahoots with my mom and Aaron. She locked the door to the shark room so that no one would come in when Aaron proposed.

we're excited.

And now on to the wedding planning...


heidzilla said...

wow. just WOW. if you didn't have photos to back all of that up i would almost say it's unbelieveable!!!! great story. did you submit it to any contests, b/c how could you not win??!? thanks for sharing!!!


megan said...

you know... I didn't even know they HAD contests for such things until today. I saw a posting about one that Martha Stewart Weddings is having. I don't know, maybe I'll enter! see if your theory is right. :)