overdue post: engaged

Posted: December 29, 2010

this post is long overdue. for those of you who may not know, i'm engaged now to stephanie! yay!... i've put off posting about it because i didn't have pictures to share... but now i do.

the story

steph and i have been dating for a looooong loooooooooong time.

on december 1, 2004, columbia university held their annual tree lighting ceremony. the tree lighting ceremony is a campus event that takes place on college walk (the main roadway on columbia campus when you enter at 116st from broadway or amsterdam). during the tree lighting ceremony, the university invites some student a capella groups to perform and a short speech is given by some important university person. hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts are served as students gather for the moment when all the lights on the trees are turned on. there is a count down and the switch is flipped and college walk is illuminated by lights hung on every tree along college walk. on that day in 2004, steph and i started dating...

every year we try to make it out to either the ceremony but if we can't make it we at least go take a picture on college walk w/ the trees. there's a particular spot where we usually take this picture and that's where we got engaged...

but i need to back track a bit... for a few months before december i was regularly checking the columbia calendar to know when the tree lighting ceremony was. it would've been perfect if it lined up perfectly with our anniversary on december 1... but unfortunately it was on dec 2... that means i had to first plan an anniversary date... and then an engagement plan... there's no reason to go to college walk for our anniversary if the lights weren't on. so steph and i had a nice anniversary that started with a nice walk from her work place to a turkish restaurant on the upper east side... followed by some tea and scones at alice's tea cup... and finally a walk across the queenboro bridge all the way back home. (it was a lot of walking but the evening was very nice and clear). during our date i gave her a decoy gift to throw her off... because the next day was the real present.

the next day was the first day that the lights would be lit on college walk. however we weren't able to make it to the ceremony w/ hot chocolate and roasted chestnuts because i had to speak at NYU for RCF (remnant christian fellowship). even though we couldn't make the ceremony, having a speaking engagement helped distract me from getting too excited... helped me keep calm... which was good because steph can usually see through any surprise i attempt--she always uncovers my plans before they happen so on this night i had to be extra good about being normal.

i asked two friends (bomes and jer) to be my camera ninjas for the night. i wanted to keep it as low key as possible. after my speaking engagement at NYU, steph and i biked up to columbia. i conveniently biked behind her so i could send messages to jer and bommy about our status and location so they could be ready to take pictures when we got there. around 110th street i text them and shortly after steph and i arrive on college walk at the amsterdam entrance. the lights were on. college walk was pretty empty at 11pm at night. nice. here we go.

steph and i walked to our spot took a few pictures... asked a stranger to help us take one too which didn't turn out too well... at this point i have not spotted bomes or jer yet... so we keep walking. finally i spotted jer and bomes on the way to the broadway entrance... ok... time to casually turn around and get back to the spot where we just were. after pretending that i had no plans ("oh we could go to get some hot chocolate" or "oh sure, lets go to lerner" or "i wonder if m2m is open") we get to the spot. in the corner of my eye i notice jer and bommy trying to discrete... haha it was kinda funny. i was sure steph saw them (apparently she didn't) so i started getting a bit nervous and she could tell something was up.

so we're at the spot. we take a few more pictures. tried again with a different stranger... a little better. we talked about cameras for a little bit (steph told me afterwards that at this point she thought i had bought her a camera and i was having trouble keeping the excitement in that i was gonna give her a present). i looked to my left and right to see where jer and bomes were. i was also checking to see if lots of people were around... finally the space was clear. no one to my left. no one to my right. seize the moment.

so... i botched up some speech about how 6 yrs ago we started here on college walk by the trees... it was supposed to be longer and uhh smoother oh wells... i don't even know if what i said was coherent. i got on one knee and asked. she was completely shocked... (SURPRISE SUCCESS!) then all of a sudden a little crowd of random people formed around us (in my mind i was thinking "where did these people come from?! i justed checked and made sure no one was around!") then she said bent down a little and whispered "yes". i put the ring on her finger and the crowd around us cheered. it was kinda surreal. yes! i'm a winner!

then my camera ninja's popped out from behind trees and took more pictures. steph and i called texted... (=

more pictures in no particular order below. thanks jer and bomes!

21 comments on “overdue post: engaged”

  1. wow i just teared up reading this/looking that the pictures.


    and hahaha at simon's BOOM STEPHANIE YUNG comment. hahahaha.

  2. I do not believe this! Pics or it didn't happen.

    Oh wait, you do have pics...

    Hahahahahaha, congrats! Welcome to the fam! (Not you, Norman)

  3. Congratulations, you guys! The story was really cute, and the pictures are even more adorable! I love how they captured the reactions of the people around you too! And nice job on the ring. 🙂 God bless!

  4. YAY!!!!!!! Congratulations again. =) I'm so happy for you two! And now my curiosity about the story is FINALLY satisfied. =)

  5. ahhhh SO CUTE!!! 😀 this made me feel all happy and bubbly inside!! ahahah congrats again norman! 🙂