I'm Engaged!

我要你做我的妻子.
I want to make you my wife.

I stared at the words, reading them over and over again, silently wondering whether I was in the middle of a dream or whether this was really happening. We'd just been messing around, mainly telling each other how much we missed each other and I was fighting a growing irresistible urge to tell him to come to Beijing. But I couldn't do that, he was up to his ears in work, I couldn't possibly expect him to drop everything for me. He would have done so but I just didn't have the courage to make such a bold request. A faint smile spread across my lips. It turned into a full-on grin in a matter of seconds. My fingers caressed my laptop's well-worn keyboard and I tapped out a quick reply. A reply I wasn't even sure was suitable, but I couldn't think of anything better to say.

问我吧!
Ask me.

It almost felt too good to be true. To know that he was that certain about me, about us, just affirmed that I'd definitely fallen for the right man. Like they say, (in fairy tales?), if you know, you know. But boy did I know. From the moment we started talking to each other, to the first time we met and the first time we kissed. I just knew. I knew he was it, the one. The one I'd been waiting for, the one I was so sure I'd never find. My soul mate. "It's true then," I mumbled, "they do exist".

Lost in my own world, I hadn't realised that a couple minutes had passed since I'd replied to his message. I was just about to start worrying that I'd replied the wrong thing since he hadn't said anything, when the ringing of the phone startled me. I glanced at my computer's clock and wondered who on earth had the need to reach me in my hotel room somewhere in Beijing, China. There weren't many people who knew where I was.

"Probably the hotel staff," I told myself and getting up, I walked over to the bed and answered the phone. "Yes?" I really wanted to answer in Mandarin but English got the better of me.

小南瓜?
Pumpkin?

恩,是我.
Yes.

Silence.

小鱼?
Fish? 

I wondered why he had suddenly decided to call me when he clearly didn't know what he wanted to say. A few seconds later (although it felt like a few minutes to me), he relented.

小南瓜,亲爱的,嫁给我吧.
Sweetheart, marry me.

The words were soft, barely louder than a whisper but it felt like he'd shouted them right into my ear.



Engaged.

The above is an excerpt of a conversation the fish and I had many months ago. You could say that the fish and I have been engaged ever since he asked me to marry him for the first time. Or any other time after that, where he asked me to marry him or I asked him to marry me. And believe me there have been many occasions where we asked each other.

Every time he calls me his wife (老婆), I melt. I call my fish 老公 more often than I call him 小鱼. It just feels right and in my heart, that's what he is, that's what he was from day one. We haven't signed the papers yet, but I don't need any papers to tell me that this man is and will always be my husband. He was never an ordinary boyfriend (or an ordinary friend for that matter, before we made things official and sealed them with a kiss). I'd fell in like with him before I even met him and was in love from the first time I laid my eyes on him. I can't even explain it, I just knew he was it.

Call it cliché, call it a cheesy romcom, call it whatever you want, but I can't lie about the way I feel about the one man who turned my world up-side-down without asking for my permission. And boy am I glad that he didn't ask because I've enjoyed every minute of it all.

The news that I'm engaged isn't a big surprise to most of my friends or my family. They've all known about it for months. Between the fish and me marriage was always on the cards and if you've been following my blog posts and/or Twitter posts, you probably gathered as much. I didn't exactly try very hard to conceal the fact and on the one or other occasion I may have let the one or other hint slip.

Nevertheless, the fish (a.k.a. hubby) and I have made things official. Not only have I been introduced to every family member in the fish's family, no, we also went all out and made things official with a ring.

While in Shanghai, the fish and I went ring shopping and we chose the ring together, or should I say: "I chose the ring and the fish chose to pay for said ring"?

I'd actually thought my fish had already picked a ring but he listed a number of reasons as to why he hadn't.

How should I know what you like? I just can't walk into a jewellery shop and buy any which ring I like and expect you to wear it for the rest of your life! What do I do if you don't like it?

I smiled and sipped on my overly sweet Wulong Soya Tea (a mixture I'll by the way never ever try again) and continued to listen to all the other reasons as to why the fish hadn't bought a ring yet. Among these were that his work had been keeping him busy and he didn't have time to focus on picking out a lovely ring to give to me, etc, etc, etc, yadda, yadda, yadda. He was also very adamant that he wasn't sure about which size to buy and he simply was having none of it when I suggested that the ring could easily be taken in/readjusted. "That's bad luck!" he exclaimed, outraged by the mere suggestion. One could have thought I'd just suggested something really off the charts. "You can't change the size of an engagement ring after you give it as a present, that's thoughtless!"

"We're going ring shopping then?" I asked outright with as much cheek as I could muster, once the fish had finished with all his reasons.

"Yes, yes, yes." The fish nodded and I grinned. The prospect of hitting rows upon rows of jewellers to look at rings felt more than just a little exciting. You see, my big sister and I have this thing. When we go out together we stop at every single jewellery display to have a look. It's been our thing since the day I could walk and nothing much has changed since. I enjoy looking at jewellery, marvelling at all the different shapes and forms and gasping over the prices. Maybe it's a girl thing? Dunno. Hubby didn't seem too impressed by all the glittering diamonds, sparkling silver, polished platinum and the overload of gold.

In the end one jewellery shop was all it took. A well-known Hong Kong brand. It was our first choice and it was the right one too. It did take at least 25 rings before I found the one that I wanted and I would have never founded it if it hadn't been for the lovely shop assistant, who made every effort to help me find a suitable ring. Refreshingly she wasn't after simply selling us a ring but knew what she was talking about when she presented one ring after the other to me. Whenever I turned one down she took a moment to consider why and presented me with a slightly different one up until I found the very ring I fell for.

喜欢吗?
Do you like it?

The fish asked when my final choice finally adorned the third finger of my left hand.

喜欢.
I like it.

I nodded vigorously, while letting the diamond catch stray rays of light. I'd never seen anything sparkle quite as bright. Well I had, in movies and all, but this was different. This was an actual diamond and it was mine.

那就好.
That's good.

He smiled and left me in the care of the shop assistant while he went off to have the ring resized, polished (although I don't think there was anything to polish), and properly valued. I had about four cups of Chinese tea and a lovely chat with all the shopping assistants (they were very amused by my Mandarin but the best part was that I understood them and they understood me) while I waited for the fish to come back. An interesting experience to say the least.

When he finally came back, -with the ring-, he took it out of the box and stuck it on my finger. The comment that followed, still has me laughing. "There, now that is sorted as well."

Ah yes, the annoying Western girlfriend that insists on an engagement ring to sweeten the deal. Naturally Chinese girls aren't that demanding or so my fish tries to tell me - not that I believe him.

Actually while I was waiting for my fish at the jeweller, a couple passed me by and the girl told her boyfriend that she wanted a ring. He didn't even look at the display of rings she'd pointed at, before he replied: "Buy it yourself."

Mean!


Mine.

Ever since the fish stuck said ring on my finger I've been pestering him to propose to me.

"Why on earth do you need me to propose to you? I already asked you a million times! I told you I want to make you my wife. You agreed. You have a ring. What more could you want?"

He did have a point, but being the stubborn woman that I am I wasn't about to admit that and let him have the upper hand. As it stands, the fish wins often enough, sometimes I just have to stick to my guns.


"I don't want much, just a proposal."

"Damnit woman, you drive me crazy."

"You too."

"Good."

"I love you."

"I love you too."


I spend the better part of a week reminding the fish that he hadn't proposed yet and even complained to his Xiongdi, his mum, his dad and everyone else who cared to listen. Strangely the fish remained composed, calm and collected through it all. He didn't even blink.

Only once he gave in and told me outright that he wasn't going to propose. That was met with much disapproval and I grovelled and pleaded but I got no where.

And then he did propose. I sort of figured he might but after he put so much effort into proving me that he wasn't going to do any such thing, I'd sort of given up hope. Instead I resolved to enjoy a fabulous Valentine's Day with my fish - the first ever I did not hate, but then it wasn't ruined by commercials, overpriced chocolate, flowers or any of the other non-sense you see in the Western world. In fact when we went out it seemed like it wasn't even Valentine's Day. There were no silly banners everywhere and I didn't hear any cheesy love songs, well not more than usual anyway.

We had a plain breakfast, together as a family (mum, dad, my fish and I) and then the fish and I went off to a nearby aquarium to look at some fish.

On the way to the aquarium I got these from my fish, 19 lovely red roses.

I'd asked him before and originally we'd planned to go to the one in Shanghai but we didn't have time. It was fun, even though the fish complained that this was a place for families with children. I gently reminded him that he likes to think of me as his child and he laughed. "True, you even need help posting a letter." He laughed and we continued and in hand, walking from one fish tank to the other. We both picked our favourite fish, watched seals perform a series of tricks and a couple of little penguins annoy their carer (they had fish on their minds while he had cleaning on his mind).


The fish likes this fish, no idea what it's called.

Hello cutie, I like you!

After our trip to the aquarium we went for a lovely Korean BBQ and the fish turned into an excellent chef. It was the best Korean BBQ, although the company may have made a big difference. It was a lovely meal and I was so enamoured by my fish that I almost choked on a big mouthful of kimchi. That stuff was so damn spicy I had tears running down my cheeks at some point.

With full stomachs and generally in a happy mood, we strolled through the shopping centre and then went off to buy a fish because if you date a fish and your fish takes you to look at fish on Valentine's Day, that's just what you do. Trust me!

My fish entrusted me with our new purchase and off home we went. The new fish joined the other fish in my fish's aquarium (yes, I realise this is quite a lot of fish) and then the fish attempted to nap a bit. Since I wasn't having any of that he resorted to feeding his fish some lettuce. We'd seen some of the tropical fish at the aquarium eat lettuce and the fish was convinced that his own fish would enjoy said treat as well. Sadly they didn't and point blank refused to cooperate and eat.

Feeding the fish!

Since the fish weren't cooperating, the fish turned his attention back to me and that's when I got my present, the proposal I'd been waiting for. There was no speech, no grand gesture and no big fuss. Just a simple question and an answer. Perfect. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't have it any other way.

I don't know if the fish planned this all along and the whole fish buying business / fish feeding was just an elaborate excuse to give him the opportunity to kneel down or if he made it up on the spot but he did give me a sweet surprise and the fact that he asked in front of his mum and dad was the sweetest part of all.

So yeah, I have a ring and I'm officially engaged. That fish is mine!

Comments

  1. Gongratulations! I really enjoyed reading how you two got engaged, I think you're such a sweet couple :)

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