Tag Archives: engagement

To Bling or Not to Bling and the MAN-gagement Ring

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Disclaimer: I totally understand that this is a touchy subject and I am NOT trying to diss anyone with a diamond.  I’m just trying to present my own opinion, which is no more than that–my opinion!

I’ve never been into fancy jewelry or diamonds.  If someone gave me a zillion dollars and told me I HAD to spend it on jewelry, I’d end up with 13 billion macrame bracelets and 16 million pairs of beaded earrings.  So call me a hippie, whatevs.  I also kind of HATE when people post pictures of their engagement rings on Facebook.  I know they probably don’t mean to trivialize their engagement, but to me that’s how it comes across.  Emphasizing the rock takes a momentous life event and turns it into a materialistic brag session.  Anyone else with me on this?  Okay, mini rant over.

“OMG! LOOK AT MY HUMONGOUS RING!”
Credit: http://www.ruccus.com

That being said, back in the day, as the prospect of becoming engaged drew closer, I found myself thinking about rings.  Specifically, did I even want one?  If so, what kind?  Zach also subtly dug for answers to these questions.  That’s right, we talked about rings before we were engaged.  We’re modern.  What I eventually decided was that I liked the symbolism of a wedding band but felt pretty ambivalent about an engagement ring.  In the end I basically gave Zach two little tidbits of information on the ring thing:

1. I didn’t need an engagement ring at all, BUT

2. If he wanted to get me one all I cared about was that it be ethically sourced.

Pretty easy, right?  Isn’t he a lucky guy?  Well, despite my insistence that I didn’t even need a ring, Zach wanted to propose with one.  So he found an awesome, inexpensive, handmade metal ring in a Peruvian crafts market and used it to pop the question!  Yay!

The proposal ring. I hope I don’t seem like a hypocrite by posting this but I thought some might be curious. I did not post this on facebook.

Then, because he is AWESOME, Zach decided that he wanted to wear an engagement ring too!  That’s right, without any prompting from me, he realized that if I was wearing one then he should as well.  I was all for that!  I mean, let’s face it, how unfair is it that a woman is suddenly marked as taken from the proposal onward, but the man is still ringless until the wedding?  My little feminist heart was thumping with pride!  Once we began looking for his ring, we decided we wanted our rings to match, since we might as well just keep using them as wedding bands once we get married.  After awhile, we found some handmade, matching silver bands from a silversmith in Ecuador and snatched them up.  I now wear the proposal ring on my right hand, and the silver band on my left.  We might upgrade our silver bands someday, as they’ll probably get scratched and tarnished, but because we didn’t spend a fortune we won’t feel bad if, eventually, we decide to change them up a bit.  For indecisive people like us, the simple/cheap ring route was totally the way to go!  Also, if you’re looking to save some money, buying from a local craftsman while traveling in a less expensive country is a great option!

Our engagement rings which will probably turn into wedding bands.

Zach has definitely encountered a lot of questions about his MAN-gagement ring.  I know it’s pretty rare.  The only other guy who I can remember to wear an MAN-gagement ring is Cory from Boy Meets World, the best show ever!  (Anyone else remember that episode?).  It’s just so weird to us that many people never question WHY a woman wears an engagement ring and a man doesn’t.  I’m so happy that Zach chose to wear one and that we are presenting a more egalitarian option!

Did anyone else have a two-ring engagement?  Or did you not care and go totally ringless?  What do you think of the incessant facebook ring pictures?

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The Whole Cheesy Story, Part 4

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First read Parts 1, 2, and 3.

Finally, the end of the “how we met” saga!

When we last left off in my long, drawn out love story, Zach and I had finally said the big “L word”, and the next day I got on a plane to start my two years of Peace Corps service.  I went off to Tanzania to learn Swahili, live in a village, and do my best to contribute something, and he stayed in Ohio, working on his degree.  We left our relationship undefined and I had no idea what would happen.  I honestly expected him to forget about me and find a new girl who wasn’t an ocean away.  But he didn’t.  And the trouble was, I couldn’t forget about him either.  I did my best to adopt a “whatever happens, happens” attitude to the situation and focus on the present.  But I couldn’t stop dreaming about the future, imagining us ending up together.  Every time I got an email or a letter or a super-expensive phone call from Zach I would smile all day.  I had never wanted to be in a long-distance relationship while in the Peace Corps, as I imagined missing someone would make it even harder than it already was to be so far from home.  Well, even though our relationship was unofficial, missing him was still incredibly hard.

My Tanzanian life

So, when my bestie got engaged and told me I had to come back to be MOH in her wedding, I was unbelievably psyched!  Not only would I get to be in her wedding and eat American food I’d been missing, I’d get to see Zach!  So I booked a round trip flight home.  I’d been away for nine months and despite the ups and downs of Peace Corps life, I had every intention of sticking it out and returning for 17 more months.  In the weeks leading up to my return, I couldn’t concentrate on anything besides counting the days and wondering if Zach and I would still have the same chemistry.

Boy did we.  The sparks flew so intensely during that whirlwind two weeks.   The morning after the wedding, I suddenly found myself sitting in a Tim Hortons, hours before my return flight, sobbing that I didn’t want to go back.  Thus began the most difficult decision I have ever had to make.  I was an emotional wreck, and Zach was amazing.  He never once asked me to stay.  He told me that all he wanted was for me to be happy.  After a few gut-wrenching hours, crying conversations with my family and best friend (yes, I called her the day after her wedding, I’m horrible), and general stress over the prospect of ruining my whole life plan, I realized that I just couldn’t leave again.

I swallowed my pride and I quit the Peace Corps for a guy.  Honestly, there were other reasons why I wasn’t super happy in Tanzania, but Zach was definitely the biggest one.  If I hadn’t met him, or if I had never come home for the wedding, I’m sure I would have stuck it out for the whole two years.  Like I said, this was the hardest decision I ever made.  Life was all of a sudden full of uncertainty, and I was plagued with guilt and feelings of failure for quitting.  To this day, I still feel badly for leaving.  I never, ever envisioned myself becoming the kind of person who would give up her life plan for a romance.  But, Zach was the first guy I was ever with who I was willing to do that for, and maybe that’s how I knew it was right.  Looking back, I don’t regret any of my Peace Corps service, and I don’t regret my decision to quit either.

Anyway, all of a sudden I had the man of my dreams, no job, no plan, and a scarily insecure feeling about the future.  “What should we do now?” I asked Zach.  “Let’s drive to California.” he said.  So we did.  And the rest is (recent) history.

Pacific Beach, San Diego, a week after I quit the Peace Corps

Did anyone else make an impulsive/irresponsible-seeming/risky/life-changing decision for love?  How did it work out?

The Big Question with Only One Answer

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Well, for me at least.  If you haven’t guessed it yet by the title, I’ll just let it out now.

Zach and I are ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!!   Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!  Happy dance!!!!!!

Think I’m thrilled enough?  I’m pretty freakin’ happy.

I kind of knew/hoped that the question was coming sometime during our South American adventure.  Of course we talked about wanting to get married many times before he proposed, because really, if you don’t already know the answer, you have no business asking.  That’s what we thought.  But although we could have just diplomatically decided to be engaged after so many discussions, we both wanted a proposal.  We wanted the fun and the surprise of it.  And so for many months we (I, mostly, I think) suffered through the awkwardness and slight tension of the “pre-engaged state.”  (This was totally me.)  I had this like, insane itch to talk about a wedding, plan a wedding, I just was so freakin’ happy at the thought that I HAD FOUND my person that I was going to spend the rest of my life with!!!  But without an official ring on the finger, society makes us women feel like we are desperate and obsessed if we start thinking at all about the wedding before we have the ring.  I call a bit of BS on that.  But I kept trying to pretend I wasn’t reading wedding blogs obsessively and I tried to keep my daydreams in my head.  “We agreed that this is Zach’s thing that he gets to do and he gets to do it on his terms…so chill,” I kept telling myself.  I think I did alright…I’d give myself about a C+ in the chilling department.

Well, finally, all my patience finally paid off.  March 13, 2012, in the gorgeous Cañon del Colca, Peru….

Yes, we probably should have found a flatter rock to set the camera on for this reenactment shot.