Ken and I spent the past ten days in Chicago, working and spending time with our friends and Ken’s family. On the 5th, I went to the city to spend the day with John and Angie (my roommates from college) while Ken golfed with his high school friends, Jordy, John, and Drew. We spent the afternoon standing in line at Hot Doug’s:
We waited in line for two and a half hours and had four different types of hot dogs (for a later post!) After our meal at Hot Doug’s, John drove us to the Shedd Aquarium, where we were supposedly going to a beluga exhibit before they dropped me off in the suburbs. Angie said she bought tickets for the beluga exhibit and John was really talking up the exhibit because he said he went to the jellyfish exhibit not too long ago and learned a lot of interesting things about jellyfish. I thought the beluga exhibit might be interesting after John hyped it up so much but then I also thought we were really cutting it close because Ken told me I had to be home for a family dinner by 7 (and it was already almost 6!). Ken called me while we were driving to the Shedd and asked me what I was doing, so I told him, and he said he finished golfing with his friends and they were watching the Bulls game at the country club. I’m not a huge basketball fan but I had been watching the Bulls in the playoffs and I thought they weren’t playing until Sunday. I asked John and Angie after I got off the phone with Ken and they said the Bulls were playing in another elimination and if they lost Saturday’s game, they wouldn’t have to play in Sunday’s game. Made enough sense to me!
When we arrived by the Shedd, John asked me and Angie to get out of the car by the Adler Planetarium while he parked the car. I was wondering why he wanted us to get out so far away since it was cold. As you can see, there’s a long stretch of walkway between the planetarium and the Shedd:
I didn’t say anything because I figured I was walking with Angie (and not by myself) and I went to throw something away and turned my back on his car. As I turned around, I saw that Angie wasn’t waiting for me to start walking, instead, she jumped back into the car and drove off, leaving me completely dumbfounded and standing between the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium:
I looked around to see where their car was and then I noticed Ken walking down the steps of the planetarium. We walked together to the water where he proposed (and I said yes!):
Right after the proposal:
After our private moment, John and Angie jumped out from their hiding spot and joined us to congratulate us:
Ken said he made a reservation for us at a steakhouse nearby and in the moment, I asked if John and Angie wanted to join us. They all laughed and John said very convincingly that they had other plans for dinner but we would meet up later to celebrate at a bar. I tried calling my mom to tell her the good news but her phone went straight to voicemail, so I called my brother and spoke to him for a few moments. David congratulated me and told me to have fun celebrating. He kept it short because he was in a limo with my mom and Ken’s parents on their way to the city to surprise me:
Here they are in front of the steakhouse:
Ken’s friend, John, used Uber to get us a car to take us to the steakhouse since there aren’t many cabs in the museum area. We were really early (around 6:20 for a 7pm reservation) and Ken was really under the weather, so we asked if we could stop by Walgreens to pick up some medication. Ken ran into the store while I waited in the car and came back a few minutes later with some cold medication. The driver took us to Mastro’s and since we were early, Ken asked if I wanted to get a drink at the bar because there were a bunch of other people trying to get seated in front of us. We headed to the bar and the line was also really long so we walked back to the hostess stand. I heard the hostess say that she had a wonderful table for the two of us so we followed her up the winding staircase.
The hostess led us through French doors to a private room where our families and friends were waiting for us! I was completely surprised:
I was even more surprised that Ken had asked my mom and my brother to be a part of our special day! My mom flew in earlier that day from North Carolina and my brother flew in from New York. Ken’s parents picked them up from the airport while I was in the city:
John and Angie helped keep me distracted while Ken was coordinating with everyone else:
Ken was calm as a cucumber the entire time:
Me with Sammy and Charley, Ken’s niece and nephew:
Ken sent out an email to all of our friends and family saying that his niece and nephew were able to keep the engagement a secret even after spending an entire day with us, so if they could do it, everyone in the party could do it, too! Lucky for him, everyone was very tight lipped!
A photo of my engagement ring and the gift my mom bought for Ken – a new Panerai watch:
Everyone at the engagement party:
The next day, we all changed our flights so we could spend time together (lots of ping pong was played!) We were all delayed at O’Hare and we ended up eating dinner with my mom, even though she was supposed to have been in the air by the time we got to the airport! She took one close up of us, the newly engaged couple:
Thank you to John, Jordy, and Drew for planning the surprise with Ken! Thank you Teresa and Adam for flying from San Francisco to celebrate with us, thank you Flo, Paul, Sammy and Charley for coming to dinner and for the wonderful wedding gifts! Thank you Kristen for coming to celebrate with us! Thank you Dr. Chen and Mrs. Chen for helping plan everything with Ken and for picking up my family from the airport, for hosting all of us and for the incredibly generous engagement gift! Thank you mom and David for flying to Chicago to surprise me and for keeping it a secret (I know it must have been difficult!) Thank you John and Angie for helping Ken plan this wonderful surprise and for being great best friends. And finally, thank you Ken, my wonderful fiance, for coming into my life, sweeping me off my feet, and making our engagement such a wonderful night.