Posts Tagged ‘birthday’

A Surprise Birthday Proposal!

Last Sunday, Evan and I celebrated our joint birthday (yes, we were born the same day, same year) with a pool party at my parents’ house. After blowing out the birthday candles and passing champagne around for a “birthday toast” Evan proposed in front of our friends and family! I couldn’t have been more surprised, excited, and thrilled! It has been a surreal and wonderful week and I can’t wait for us to get married!

wedding proposal

Big thanks to Jared Hillman for photographing the magic moment and to Evan for editing it together.

Now to start the wedding planning…

The July Recap

Hanging with the Longfellows on our birthday

Hanging with the Longfellows on our birthday

How time does get away from me… this is the first time I’ve gone more than a month without posting to my blog. It’s not that I haven’t thought about it, either. It’s just that somewhere in my two week trip to Pittsburgh, preparations for Evan’s return home and other summer activities, I just didn’t post anything.

July was a good month, though. It started off, as I mentioned, with two weeks in Pittsburgh where Evan and I mostly worked during the day and ate dinner together at night. I set up shop in the hotel lobby most days, with my laptop and cell phone, and dealt with a few episodes of being locked out of the room (only once my fault for losing my key).

The only real standout day was our birthday, which we share, on July 8. After working for more than two weeks straight, Evan’s boss gave him the day off from work. We had a wonderfully relaxing day, playing frisbee in Schenley park, going to the Phipps Conservatory to wander through the beautiful greenery and fun Frabel glass sculptures, and wandered around Oakland for a while. We went to the top of the Cathedral of Knowledge to check out the view, and headed to the Legume Bistro for dinner. Dinner was a comedy of errors, with our waitress bringing a wrong dish (which Evan ate anyway), and a corked bottle of wine (which we brought and decided to replace from a bar across the street, since the restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol). But despite all the little mishaps, we had a fun time together, and went back to the hotel to share our mystery bottle of Champagne with some friends — we ultimately found out that it was from Evan’s brother, but we returned to our room to find a bottle of Champagne addressed to “Francia + Avan,” with no indication of who it was from. We were amused to have another year of excellent birthday misspellings, though.

The rest of the trip to Pittsburgh was uneventful, save for a few delicious dinners at Kaya, and a great Fourth of July fireworks display over the river.

A little more than a week after I returned to LA, Evan finally came home after four months away. We’ve been busy enjoying the sunshine, and catching up with family and friends. I’ve also been on a cooking spree, and I’ve been taking some more UCLA Extension design classes (more about that to come in upcoming posts).

‘Happy Bearthday’ in Petra

happy bearthday
Yup, that sand-bottle says “Happy Bearthday”

July 7 we drove down to Petra on the windy, hilly and at times very scenic King’s Highway to stay at the Movenpick resort and celebrate our joint birthdays July 8 (yup, we share the day… Evan’s 5 hours older than me).

We got up early on the 8th to try to beat the heat a bit, but had to do a few things, like get more cash in town, before we could get to the main event of the day — exploring Petra. When we finally got our tickets, it was already quite warm, but much of the path down to the site was in shady canyons, so we felt like we were doing fine. We walked past carvings in the gorge, and got more and more excited to get to finally see Petra’s famed Treasury as we continued our descent. Finally, we reached the end of the narrow canyon and lo and behold, the Treasury was right in front of us — a giant, pillared building hewn out of the pink rock.

the treasury at Petra
The Treasury at Petra (look familiar from Indiana Jones?)

We walked on further, past elaborate tombs, an amphitheater and other grand structures carved into the sandstone. We made it all the way to the center of the ancient Nabataean town before I started feeling ill. I hadn’t been able to eat much since my stomach troubles the day we went to the dead sea, and though I was trying to drink plenty of water and electrolyte drinks, they didn’t seem to be enough.

We started the long walk back in the midday sun, trying to find any shade we could, and finally got a horse carriage to take us up the last long, completely exposed stretch. When we got back to the hotel, Evan called a doctor, who insisted on taking me to his clinic to get IV fluids and antibiotics since my blood pressure was very low. He struggled to get the IV in, which was quite painful, and the doctors weren’t explaining everything they were doing as I lay on the bed in their un-air-conditioned clinic, which made me a bit anxious.

Evan sat by my side, held my hand and read me stories from the Neil Gaiman book we brought along (Smoke and Mirrors, which is really good, by the way) and I was sent back to the hotel about four hours later, IV setup still in my hand because I still needed another dose that evening.

Somehow, I also managed to lose my sunglasses somewhere between the security checkpoint and our room on the way in from Petra… we looked everywhere trying to find them, but to no avail. I bought a new pair in Aqaba.

We had a quiet birthday dinner courtesy of room service, and Evan even had a cake made for us — it was strawberry shortcake decorated with an assortment of fruit. The doctor came to see me shortly before midnight to give me another dose of IV antibiotics, and he brought me a birthday present, a decorative sand jar that had my name and camels on one side and “Happy Bearthday” on the other.

petra by night
Petra by night

The next day, I felt much better and we took it easy, taking a small drive to “Little Petra,” another gorge with carved-out structures. We made it back into Petra at night to experience the walk down to the treasury by candlelight, which was really nice. It was still warm, but not too hot, and the candles glowing amber in paper bags lined with sand gave a wonderful ambiance to the place. Evan and I even saw a shooting star on our walk out.

On the 10th, we got up early to get to Petra before the sun — when it opened at 6 a.m. We had the place to ourselves. Even the shopkeepers and donkey and camel guides were still asleep (many of them just sleep right there in Petra, on cots or mats outside or in caves). We explored the East Cliff and took the staircase hike up to the High Place of Sacrifice, which gave us some great views.

That afternoon we went down to Aqaba, on the Red Sea, which is probably Jordan’s most beautiful and scenic town, but with the temperatures soaring well over 100 degrees, it was too hot to do much of anything, and we headed back up to Madaba on the 11th to relax before we head off to Istanbul.

We didn’t make it to Wadi Rum to go camping in the desert because I’m still not feeling 100% better, but Jordan has been an amazing place to travel and I’d love to come back to spend more time here.

You can see all our photos of Petra in Evan’s Facebook gallery.