Every time we head towards the Vancouver International Airport (YVR), my jet setting nerves fill with excitement. This time we were on route to Portugal. Grabbing our bags from the back of the truck and walking towards the check in line, I was filled with anticipation to see my family. Portugal, a place dearest to my heart and what I consider a second home was only two plane rides away.
Although Thomas and I had already travelled parts of the globe this year, we couldn’t resist saying no to the opportunity to surprise my family with a visit. After all, I was jobless… I had just quit my job five days prior to takeoff. My pursuit of wanderlust was just beginning. I was excited, knowing that this would be the first of many flights I would be taking over the next couple of months. After Portugal, I would end up in Africa with a girlfriend… soon to be checking off another continent visited.
We checked our bags, went through customs, walked to our gate and impatiently waited to board the plane. The day was beautiful. Clear blue skies. Spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains as our 8-hour flight to London began. It was no surprise, as usual, that I couldn’t sleep on the plane…so naturally I spent my time indulging in the various new movies available. By the time we landed in London, I felt my eyes burning caused by glaring endlessly at the screen. Thomas on the other hand...appeared well rested as he had been snoring quietly beside me throughout the flight.
Once in London, my brain began doing what it always does…counting the hours … 6. More. Hours.
Just 6 more. This included our layover and flight time. My body exhausted but my mind excited to see my family. I pictured myself laughing, eating, and hitting up the beaches and then eating again for good measure because that’s what the Portuguese do. Thomas and I strategized on how we would surprise my family, especially my cousins, thinking we were masterminds of the world. However, there was more to ‘our’ surprise than I knew.
Waiting to board our final flight, I passed the time capturing my typical airplane photo before boarding. TAP Airlines, Portugal Airways, a flight I have travelled on more times than I can count was the next 3 hours of our lives. Getting settled into the middle seat, I found myself sitting next to a vibrant New Yorker, who occupied the window seat, Thomas took the aisle seat. Thankfully our flight was on time. Soon into the flight, I began to have a great conversation with the American who expressed her excitement with visiting Portugal for the first time. Exchanging details about her planned itinerary, making suggestions, Thomas interrupted from time to time asking where he thought we were.
“Which country do you think we are over?” he asked.
It had been approximately 2 hours into our flight and as I looked out the window and watched the landscape change from small towns to farmlands, I stated that we would most likely be over Portugal in 20 minutes…his response was a simple “Oh”.....My conversation continued with the American from New York.
Suddenly, Thomas stood up and reached for his bag stored in the over head compartment. I asked what he was grabbing and quickly he responded with “NOTHING!”. Looking at him with a questionable look, I continued my conversation with the American. Then music came on.
Thomas had pulled out a portable speaker and began to stand in the aisle playing a song from one of my favourite movies: The Wedding Singer. The song: Grow Old with You. As Thomas pulled on my hand, telling me to stand up, I resisted and felt my eyes tearing up with happiness. Sitting in my seat, I don’t recall it, but Thomas states that I said “No, don’t do it!!!”. However, I do remember him courageously singing the song to me...out of tune and seeing him with a tear in his eye. Other passengers around us began pulling out their phones to capture the moment. The flight attendant unaware of what was going on, came up to Thomas and asked him to turn down his music but his response of “I’m trying to propose” made the flight attendant blush with embarrassment (again, something I missed! Haha) My hands over my face, Thomas took my hand as the song came to the end... and as he got down on one knee asking for my hand in Marriage, the entire plane was in silence for a response.
And don’t worry…I Said YES!!!!
The plane clapping and cheering as we shared a kiss in flight over Portugal. Excitement filled the plane.
Our partnership of 11 years, 38 countries travelled together, and a life we continue to make with each other took on a surprise when we got engaged in flight over Portugal. Arriving in Portugal, we were all smiles as we ventured to surprise our family and enjoy our new adventure in becoming Mr. & Mrs.