This is a different kind of travel story. More indulgent, more personal. But I’ve written about my sojourns, thoughts of life and growth and beauty and love, of awe-inspired learnings and aspirations — and every so often, mentioned the people I share all these with.
2016 for me has been a year of connection. A milestone celebrated by my cousin brought our family together, now scattered all over the world, to share the joy of her wedding. A work opportunity for a friend earlier in the year brought renewed, treasured friendships. And in the last quarter of the year, a life changing proposal from my now fiancé, travel partner and soon to be life partner.
The proposal came unexpectedly on the early celebration of my birthday. We had a reservation at Eleven Madison Park, number 2 on my restaurant bucket list and a surprise I ruined when I heard the alarm go off on my then non yet fiancé’s phone reminding him to make the reservation, and I did not quit until he told me what he was doing. It was after the 3rd course when the restaurant staff ushered us to the kitchen for the backstage tour. It was quite an experience to see the hustle and bustle of a working three star Michelin kitchen. They introduced us to one of the pastry chefs, who had prepared a bon bon made of foie gras, cider and other ingredients I could no longer recall but you would not think will work together as a wonderful dessert bite. It was a surprising, delicious treat. After the tour, they led us to a small nook in the reception area. This had me confused since our table was only a few feet away. It was then that I was handed a cellphone, video already cued, and I thought my family and friends sent me birthday wishes (it has become a family tradition, you see). But in the video, my fiancé was talking to my parents, telling them his plight to try to get my ring size for over a year by telling me he was going to make me a coin ring, and asking them for their blessing. And then he got down on one knee and asked the question.
I said yes, of course.
Yes to love and a new chapter with someone who never fails to make me feel special, and who is going to be beside me as we navigate this life, and this world, together.
I consider myself blessed to be surrounded by and have the privilege to learn from the kindest and most insightful people. It is as I walk with them on this life journey that I know, everything is what it’s supposed to be at the moment. Family; friends; your truth, whatever that may be; your love and your capacity to love are what matter. 2016 was not easy, but it was full of love, and that makes it a great year.
Slide show below: our delicious courses from Eleven Madison Park.