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We Got Fiance-d!

An exciting summer's day ending with a fiancé, a ring, and some healthy life lessons to stay with me forever

On July 25, 2022, Gilles and I started our Fiance-d journey together💍

It was a beautiful summer's day as we came home from a long weekend in the city with Gilles' sister and boyfriend from Luxembourg.  My whole family was in town and decided to do a big family bbq up on the mountain for what I thought to be a welcome party for the guests de Luxembourg.

One thing that I love about Gilles and my relationship is that while we were brought up from the same values, our day to day cultures can vary immensely. Social cues, verbal expressions, even subtle body languages etc. all come out looking very different, even when the place of where it's coming from is the exact same.


It happened to be a bit of a stressful weekend due to just that type of cultural difference that had me creating personal pressure to host the perfect trip for the Euro visitors.


Parts of the trip that I planned weren't received with the same amount of excitement as my validation had needed. Not to say that they weren't totally stoked about it, but it was a situation showing the difference between beings from different sides of our world. While one person's excitement and interest may be shown one way, it could look completely different from another, yet both with the same amount of joy within.  It's a beautiful thing, we're different; however, being a people pleaser, I wanted the trip to be the Knock your socks off-Best vacation ever-What is this place- level of joy. 

So after a night that was supposed to end in a country bar filled with line dancing and beer boot drinking, that actually ended in walking up to a closed bar due to a last minute line-dance teacher cancelation, I prepared for a day of redemption in San Jose.

Two Strikes and Out....Redemption's for Suckers

Following a train trip home, we stopped by the house to help the travelers put in a load of laundry before taking care of our dessert duty for the bbq. Gilles and I offered to head over to our favorite cookie spot for the most ridiculously delicious cookies that this side of the Western Hemisphere has ever tasted:

Gunther's Cookies 🤪

As we got closer to the house, I noticed something very important missing in the driveway. 


Those who know me, know that the first car that I got to drive, (and would choose to drive until the end of time if I could), was a sweet little Chevy S-10 1994 turquoise pickup truck named Thomas. I named him Thomas because he reminded me of Thomas the Tank Engine Who Could. He was such a small car, (technically a four-seater but only because of the two, 18-inch width airplane seats that folded down on the sides of the truck behind the driver and passenger seat) but it had so much heart behind it.  He got me through my senior year of high school, my college years to and from Davis, and endless hangs sitting on top of his bead-cover during late summer nights. It was Thomas who'd always be the first one to greet me in our home driveway coming back from yet another worldly adventure. 

Thomas was the best friend you'd always hope to have.


Nearly every night that I'd come home from a crazy busy day of morning lift, practice, class, work then coaching, I'd pull up to my apartment complex, put Thomas in Park and just sit for literally an hour, decompressing from the day. 

Let me tell ya, to this day , that 1994 cushioned seat has remained to be the most comfortable car seat that I have ever sat in.


Thomas was a part of me. He was my best friend, yes at times my enemy when the air conditioning would go out in the 104 degree summer heat, but he made me feel safe and special. Any person that ever met him would leave with a massive smile on their face. He was, the best time.


Sadly, we knew that his days on the road were numbered. I'm about 90% sure that he should not have legally been allowed to drive on the road the very last summer that I ever drove him. There was that air conditioning problem that I had mentioned, but he also really struggled going in reverse; and this was on a leveled surface. So this means that it was nearly impossible to go in reverse up an incline, making me increasingly more cautious not to drive into a downhill driveway or unfamiliar area in the off chance that I needed to reverse uphill out of it.

(Sayonara San Francisco driving)
As I frantically called my dad for an explanation, he shared the news: Thomas was taken to truck heaven in the form of scrap metal. Though I knew this day would come, I just figured I'd get at least one last drive around the block with him. Perhaps a ghost ride drive around the street where no gears would be touched, for safety purposes...

This assumption is why my heart dropped to my stomach when I came home to find only the remnants of a sad little oil leak in the place of my beloved Thomas. 

Strike 1.

So, freshly coming off of yet another disappointment, I figured, if there was any way to make up for the broken SF plans and now my absent truck baby, it was going to be Gunther's Cookies!! Earlier in the day, my mom had offered to be the one to go get the cookies, but I wanted to give the euros the experience of a true Californian hometown cafe. 


We were off. 🚔

I quickly checked to see the fastest way to Gunthers so that we wouldn't hit any commuter traffic on the way...thennn my heart dropped for a second time.



Strike 2.

I couldn't believe it. I completely forgot that Gunther's closing hours were earlier in the day than other cafes. This was completely my fault; these cookies were supposed to be the make-all-good-all-magical cookies. They were supposed to wash out any San Francisco moment that didn't go as planned and to make it The Best Thing Evarrrr!!! And worse, there was the chance that we could have gotten the cookies because my mom had offered to go get the cookies, and I told her no. It was a mistake that could have been avoided.

I was a mess. 

There's No Crying in, a Whole Foods

Tears came quickly streaming down my face as the pounds of suppressed frustration, disappointment and self judgement all hit me like a concrete pillow to the soul. I tried hiding my choked up, beat red face as Gilles calmly helped to find a plan B to our dessert escapade. 

As we stopped by our local Whole Foods for some dessert stand- ins, I allowed my tears to turn into sobs as I hid in a lone canned food aisle. I just felt small.


It's crazy how the dying need to live in perfection can absolutely eviscerate any chance of truly living in the moment. When we live in the moment, we accept the moment or exactly what it is, allowing us to find gratitude for that moment. We are in Peace.

When we put pressure on ourselves to be more than what we are, that's when we get in our own way of being our best selves: which was the main goal to begin with!

It's the moments when we fear that we are not enough, that we must love ourselves the most.

Yes it is good to push for more. to strive for a better, to work to be at the top; but when that strife turns into a need to be perfect, all we're doing is forbiding ourselves to be happy with the moment at hand.

This perfectionist phenomenon is exactly what I allowed to get in my way of an opportunity to show off my hometown with love and excitement.

Kind of silly to think about it because at the end of the day, my disappointment stemmed from the fact that the trip wasn't absolutely Perfect. What constituted a Perfect bar you ask? Well, I guess if our guests would be jumping for joy ready to put a down-payment on a San Franciscan apartment while stuffing their faces eyes wide with, "The Best Cookies I've ever had in my Life" desserts, yeah that'd be the goal


...pause to process just how ridiculous that expectation was😅

Lesson Learned:

It's good to hope and plan for something epic, but it's important to accept and celebrate our moments exactly as they come. A philosophy that my lovely fiancé reminded me of, after finding me between bean selections in the Whole Foods.


To Love and to be Loved for exactly who you are

By the time we got up to the mountain, I was able to collect myself and practice that whole "Live in the Moment" thing.

By this time, the whole family was present; it was a beautiful summer's day, the abundance of food smelled amazing, and all the important things in life showed as a true blessing. 

My sister offered to take us on a mountain drive through the beautiful 100- acre property in the buggy! (Check her website out here! ) We went up the trails and through the trees, down the hills and across the bush. We stopped at "Rocky Point", gave our respects as we passed the "Rock giant," took some deep breaths crossing the viewpoint overlooking the east side lake, and made our way up to the last stop on the property tour: a pad that lays way to a most epic view of what feels like the whole world. A view where on a clear day, you could see all the way to San Francisco.

We pulled up through the trees, and low and behold look who it was to greet us, but non other than our sweet and loveable Thomas🥲

I could hear my mom and Cheri cheering and screaming on the pad above us as we stepped out of the buggy to give Thomas a big hug. The rest of the family had joined them where they could see our loving reunion with little Thomas. I ran over to Thomas for a warm embrace and saw Gilles join me with the biggest smile on his face.  I noticed that the screaming and cheering continued longer than a usual homecoming, but I genuinely thought that everyone was just really excited for the reunion...then Gilles took my hand and pulled me closer...

He was absolutely glowing. He began to say, "So, there's actually a bigger reason as to why Thomas is here..."

I knew right away what was about to happen. I knocked my head back in disbelief, letting all the joy, happiness and love just take over my body. 

He then continued with the most beautiful words of love and truth for our future together. He wanted Thomas to be present to symbolize all that we had conquered together in the past years, as one. He wanted the family to be present because he knew just how much Ohana means to me. And he wanted to spend the rest of his life with me- something I so desperately wanted in return...

One of our core memories was when he and I spent a night sitting on the back of Thomas, watching the day turn to night.  It was the first summer that he had come to visit in California. We had just come home from an incredible trip in South Lake Tahoe for a Dowd Family Reunion where Gilles met and stole the hearts of each and every person in my family.  We had previously decided that after the trip, we would break up, seeing that our destinies were bringing us back to opposite sides of the world. We spent the whole night sitting on the back of Thomas, desperately trying to find a way to make our situations work, because we had clearly fallen in love.


Holding each other close, hearing my family's excitement in the background, standing on top of the world, next to Thomas, he reached for his back pocket.

"I feel like something's about to happen" I said,

He bent down on one knee, and asked me to marry him. 

It was a beautiful moment. 


Getting Thomas up the 100-acre Dream

While the idea of having Thomas up on the mountain with us was probably the most poetic language of love I could have ever imagined, this also meant that, Thomas had to actually drive up to the top of the mountain itself. Thomas. Little engine who can't go in reverse Thomas. Little pickup who's breaks hadn't been exercised for at least 6 months.

I guess on the day of the bbq, Gilles texted my dad with some doubt asking whether or not it was safe to have him drive our sweet little engine up such a monster. But nothing was going to stop my dad from making this happen. 

I have much thanks to give to our family who made this all happen. To Papa Dowd for risking it all to drive that pickup truck to the top of the world. To my big sister who helped coordinate everyone's presence in the first place while 9 months pregnant with baby Quinn. Also to Lolo for capturing all these moments allowing us to remember each time someone asks Gilles and I about our love story. To Gilles' sister Nathalie for hiding the ring box in her bag on the big day. I later found out that she thought I had an idea this was all going to happen. Apparently when I was trying to shove some reimbursement cash back into her bag, she thought that I saw the box lying inside. She also saw that I had nail polish laying out and figured that I should paint my nails to get nice pictures with the ring.  

Best part was that I had no. stinkin'. idea.

Not a clue!

I didn't see the box in her bag when I opened it up, and I just really like having my nails painted so I keep it out at all times😇

Creative Minds Come Together

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