Tiffany and I went on vacation in December to Puerto Rico (and had a blast!). On the flight down, I fell asleep and had a dream about a purple and silver ring. We saw a ring just like it in a display at the hotel gift shop, and I told Tiffany I had a dream about it. She didn't think much of it at the time, and neither did I. But we'll come back to that.
I had been trying for a while to think of a way to propose to Tiffany that would be special enough to show her how much I love her. I had done some research before our trip and found that there was an orchid garden at an agricultural research station in the mountains. I thought this would be the perfect place to propose. Science and orchids — it doesn't get any better than that!
So, I went back to the hotel room one day while Tiffany was laying out by the pool. I used my computer to look up some spanish phrases, like, "Are the orchids blooming?" and "Do you offer private tours?" To make a long story short, I learned two things: You can't rely on the computer to give you a good translation, and even in Puerto Rico, orchids aren't in bloom in December.
A couple days later we were planning to go hiking in the El Yunque rain forest. It was the day before our trip was over and I felt like this was my last chance. So, after I took a shower, I told Tif that I needed to go pick up a nail clipper from the gift shop. What I didn't tell her was that I was going to disappear for an hour. Oops!
I really did make a trip to the gift shop, but it wasn't for a nail clipper. Instead, I bought the ring that I saw earlier — the one that I had dreamt about. Then I found a table in the hotel's office center and spent the rest of the hour looking for the right poem to read to Tif. I remembered that I liked Walt Whitman and thought there would be something good in Leaves of Grass. Fortunately there was, but unfortunately I had to read about 20 poems first. I found the one I liked and I wrote it out on some stationary (which took longer than I thought it would), and returned to the hotel room, without a nail clipper. I am a terrible liar.
So we finally left for the rain forest. We hiked around for a while, and Tif kept saying she wanted to see a waterfall. We stopped at one waterfall but it was pretty crowded and right along the road. We kept hiking, saw some more sights, and then we found a trail that had a 20-minute hike and the promise of a waterfall. But the park was closing! We had only 45 minutes to make it there and back. Would I have time to propose? The pressure was on. Would we be locked in the park forever?
We hiked. We hiked quickly, and I didn't even stop to read the science facts along the way. We heard the shrill, melodious calls of the tiny bananaquits, and laughed at what a silly name the birds had. I spoke nervously and at great length about them, hiding my nerves in a suddenly-acquired Telemundo accent.
Then, we saw it: a big, beautiful waterfall called La Mina Falls. We admired the site for a few moments, and waded around a bit. Then I asked Tif to come sit on a secluded rock under a bridge with me.
And there it happened. I pulled a couple of pieces of stationary out of my swimming trunks, which had written on it the poem I wanted to read plus a short letter. I read the poem to Tif, pausing only for a hug and to wipe away tears, and then read the rest of the letter. Then I asked her to marry me as I presented the ring to her. I explained that it was the ring from my dream and that I felt like I just had to get it. She said yes, and we kissed and hugged and cried.
Because Tiffany had told me in the past that she didn't want an engagement ring, I told her that my idea was that we could hide the ring in the jungle, and come back some day to try to find it on another vacation. After all, we loved Puerto Rico. So, we found a spot to hide the ring, recorded the GPS coordinates, and planned on returning some day. If it's not there, then we know a bananaquit has an enviable glass helmet!
We returned to the hotel and planned on having a dinner in the fancy restaurant there, but we were so tired from hiking all day that we decided to just order room service instead. We had a delicious dinner and a bottle of champagne, and fell asleep immediately.