"and yes I said yes I will Yes"

I've been so busy blogging about our wedding plans that I've completely neglected to share the story of how this whole thing began -- with a surprise proposal that was every bit as thoughtful, creative, and hilarious as the man who planned it.

When I turned 30 last year, Mr. HC and I didn't do very much to celebrate; the day before my birthday, he took the grueling Step 1 of the medical board exams, and on my birthday, we found out that one of our dearest friends was diagnosed with cancer.  So for my 31st birthday, Mr. HC suggested we make up for the previous year by taking a weekend trip somewhere. Up until the week before, though, he kept telling me that he hadn't made any plans and that we'd probably end up just going someplace nearby, like Provincetown, MA. But a few days before my birthday, Mr. HC's cousins emailed me and "accidentally" told me that we'd be seeing them that weekend in Toronto. I thought I was super clever and had figured out his secret plan. 

Mr. HC curmudgeonly "confessed" that we were flying to Ottawa, where we'd connect to a flight to Toronto. So of course that's what I told the immigration officer when we arrived in Ottawa. But then I noticed Mr. HC getting fidgety. And sweaty. And nervous -- like he was smuggling in a mail order bride or a few kilos of fine Colombian cocaine. The officer noticed it too and started asking all kinds of questions: What are you doing in Toronto? Who are you staying with? What's your itinerary? Who does number 2 work for? (Ok, not the last one.) Mr. HC stuttered out a few answers and then started getting defensive. Note to all travelers: when an immigration officer asks you for your itinerary, don't ask him "Why do you need it?" That only makes him angry. 

So angry that he sent us to a holding room, where people with bad visas, fake passports, and nefarious agendas go. The officer pulled Mr. HC into a private room. At this point, I was completely certain that he was being cavity searched and interrogated and that we were about to be sent on a one-way trip to Guantanamo. It turns out that he had given the officer this note:
In part, the note says: "A request for your assistance. I am proposing to this woman (the pretty one) this weekend. She thinks we are going to Toronto to visit cousins, but actually we are going to Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. I would greatly appreciate your help in keeping this a secret until we board the flight to Charlottetown."

We eventually got past immigration, and it wasn't until we finally got through customs that Mr. HC handed me the boarding pass for the next leg of our trip. I was so distracted by the what had just transpired that it took me a while before I realized that the destination wasn't Toronto; it was Charlottetown, P.E.I.! We'd talked about going to P.E.I. forever, ever since we discovered a long time ago that as children we both loved Anne of Green Gables (I know, we're such cheeseballs). 

On the plane, Mr. HC handed me a program he had created for our weekend, which had a tentative itinerary of our trip, information about our accommodations at the Elmwood Inn, a five-star B&B in Charlottetown, and a list of all the Anne-related things we could see on the island.  Let me just say that Mr. HC is many things, but he is normally not the most organized or detailed of planners.  But here he was with a program . . . with a schedule that included restaurants at which he had already made reservations.  That's the type-A craziness that I'd come up with, not my boyfriend of 14 years!  I was so touched that he had done all of this that I was in tears. He was so giddy that he had pulled off his surprise that he left his passport in the seat pocket when he got off the plane.  Oops.
What happened next?  Was there a race against time across the island?  Why are P.E.I. residents weirdly obsessed with sunsets?  Did Mr. HC get on bended knee?  How many times did Miss HC make him propose?  Did I spend my life savings on Anne of Green Gables paraphernalia? Did the loss of Mr. HC's passport lead to our being exiled to Canada?  For the answers to these and other questions, stay tuned for Part II . . . .

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