I stood in the men’s room of Sabroso restaurant, looked at myself in the mirror and checked my pocket for the hundredth time. The ring was still there. I took it out and looked at it again. It caught the light and sparkled, I was sure that she would love it and I knew that it would fit. I just had to ask that one big question first.
It was our last day in Queenstown, this beautiful little mountain town in New Zealand that we had called home for just over a year. Tomorrow morning we would board a flight to Auckland, and a few days after that we would board another flight back to the UK. Our adventure here had been absolutely incredible, the best times of my life. There were a thousand factors that had made the last year so amazing, the lakes, mountains, road trips, hikes, boat trips, bike rides, sunsets, sunrises, auroras and many other things; but none of them would have been anywhere near as good without Michelle there to share them with me.
I had known for quite a while that this was the girl that I wanted to marry. I had bought the ring quite a few months ago and had thought quite a lot about how I wanted to propose.
We had spent the day visiting all of our favourite places around Queenstown. We had sold our car last week so we hired one for our last couple of days so that we could make the most of our time. We had been for one last walk around Queenstown Gardens and had sat for a while in the same spot that we sat on our first evening here. We drove out to Bob’s Cove for one last walk around one of our favourite places. We drove out to Bennetts Bluff for one last look at one of the best views in all of New Zealand and we had driven to Wakatipu Heights to sit and admire that beautiful view over Queenstown and the lake.
To finish off the day we had been for a walk at the lake front and then went to our favourite restaurant, Sabroso, for dinner.
I had taken the ring out of the big, bulky box it came in and had it loose in my pocket. There was no way I could have carried that box around without it being noticed, but I was now paranoid that I was going to somehow lose the ring from my pocket.
We had finished our meal, I had paid the waitress and we were about to leave. I had made my excuses to pop into the men’s room before we left to go and check my pockets again and to psyche myself up for the next hour.
I started driving towards our apartment, but where I would normally turn left up the hill towards home I kept going straight.
“Let’s go and watch the sunset from the Remarkables” I said
The Remarkables is a huge and imposing mountain range that sits over Queenstown. We have had the pleasure of looking out across the lake towards it everyday from our apartment and it will always be an iconic symbol of our time here. There is a ski field on the mountain range, and an access road that leads up to it. It’s the highest road in New Zealand and one that we have driven up many times to watch sunsets, to take photos of auroras, or to chill out after a day at work and get an amazing perspective of Queenstown.
It’s a pretty special place to us.
I don’t know how much Michelle suspected what was about to happen, if at all, but as we sat talking, looking across the lake like we had many times before, I became increasingly nervous, mumbling and stumbling over my words until I reached a point where I knew that I was giving it away and I had to just go for it.
I got down on one knee at the top of the mountain, with the sun setting over the lake in front of us, and asked Michelle if she would marry me. She said yes.
I don’t think I will ever remember exactly what I said, and Michelle doesn’t either. It was all a nervous blur that ended with lots of smiling. The important thing was that she said yes. We were going to get married.
Our adventure in New Zealand was almost at an end, but our adventures together were only just beginning.