Let's start wit my time in France. Talal took my parents out to dinner while I was away to tell them that he wanted to marry me. My family knew and immediately were his eyes on the inside. After their approval, he moved onto the ring and worked with Souheil to pick the perfect ring.
A week after my return, Talal told me let's go to dinner on Friday the 20th. I want to take you to a new restaurant. He told me two weeks before the dinner, which never happens. Typicallly, we plan together or more last minute. Immediately, I felt like something was up. In Boston, I mentioned that he was going to ask me. It gave me butterflies. I was ready to say Yes.. or was I? Were the butterflies excitement or worry? I know he is the love of my life, but we had said 1 year. Mommy immediately shut down the thought about Talal proposing. As I mused about my future engagement, Tina texted Talal. I said I want it to be private. She told him. I mentioned that I was suspicious. She told him. All the while.. I had no clue.
Finally, it was the day of the mysterious dinner. I went to work with 3 outfit choices in my mind. I had stayed up til 1 am with Mommy picking the perfect outfit. I couldn't settle on one and I realized that the proposal ideas were resurfacing. Talal told me that he was going to pick me up from home. It pounded the idea into my head. I left the office at 5. I made it home at 5:45. I showered, dried my hair and straightened it. Mommy helped get me ready for the dinner. I was completely panicked and rushed. He came to get me at 7, but I wasn't ready until 7:15. We rushed to dinner. I gave Talal a big hug, trying, feeling for a ring. Nothing.
As we neared the restaurant, Talal told me we were going to Le Mistral - a French restaurant. He made the suspenseful announcement that we would be dining in the kitchen at the Chef's Table. With a sense of relief, I teared up - a perfect surprise, but no proposal tonight. I was so happy to finally sit in the kitchen and watch a chef at work. It was so meaningful that he set this up for me and I felt an an overwhelming sense of joy.
We walked into the restaurant for our highly-anticipated dinner. The hostess asked to photograph us for their website. Although awkward, we posed. She walked us back through the kitchen and into the private room with one-way glass. The waiter dryly welcomed us to teh restaurant. He acted as though he didn't respect our age. Talal took that as a cue to brag about my cooking skills, France and our love of wine. The chef came in and he told us that he would like to serve a five-course meal of our choosing. Our choices were lobster, scallops, filet, sea bass, duck and foie gras. We selected the scallops, Chilean sea bass, filet mignon, cheese platter, and a dessert assortment. By the second course, the waiter was our friend.
With each course, we received a wine pairing. They were kind enough to give us an amuse bouche of smoked salmon, tuna and guacamole - also with a wine pairing.
Between courses, we peered out into the kitchen and dancing to the soft music in the room. It was oddly peaceful in the kitchen with the smaller-than-expected team. I loved it.
The pastry chef was nervous about presenting his dish so we walked into the kitchen. After the chef presented the dish, we returned to our seats. The chef said that he loved chocolate and wanted to bring us a chocolate dessert. He disappeared for a few moments and returned with a chocolate sphere, resembling the dessert from Caracol. He said that you open it and there's more chocolate inside, ugh.. Since I don't like chocolate and I didn't like the Caracol dessert, I wasn't excited for the chocolate dessert. However, like the course before the waiter waited to take pictures. Under my breath, I told Talal that I didn't want chocolate. He said "just open it, they want to take a picture." I smiled for the camera and opened. Inside, was my ring and red rose petals.
My first reaction was to gasp and shout, "Oh my God!"
I couldn't get the thought out of my mind, that this was THE moment. He just asked me to marry him. After I caught my breath, I said, "YES!" I slightly giggled when I turned to see Talal on one knee and realized he hadn't asked yet. I handed him the ring that I was gripping so tightly. I threw off the ring that I was wearing on my right hand, which Mommy told me not to wear. I thrust my hand out, extending my ring finger. Talal hesitantly told me it was the other hand. I threw off the second ring, which Mommy also told me not to wear, and threw my left hand out in a similar fashion. "Will you marry me?" "Of course! I already said yes!" He slid the ring onto my finger and tears streamed down my cheeks.
I stood up to hug him and I suddenly noticed that the waiter and chef were still in teh room taking photos of us. My first thought was, "Wow! Can't they give us some space?" Instead of commenting, I turned back to Talal, teary-eyed. Talal held me tight and told me that it was his camera. They congratulated us and stepped out of the room.
Hardly able to speak, I asked if my family knew about the proposal. He quickly said, "yes." I called Mommy's phone and found everyone (including Ryan) anxiously waiting on the other line. I still could not believe that I was engaged. After I hung up, Talal told me that his parents actually flew in a day early and were at his house. We paid our bill and strolled around the parking lot, with a large bag of bread from the restaurant. He told me of his trials and tribulations that led to this perfect evening. He had to balance my love of food with a surprise. He used France as the chance to talk to my parents, look at rings, and brainstorm engagement ideas. He also had the added benefit of Tina's helpful hand in idea advice. He hired and cancelled a violinist. He cancelled our family's front-row tickets to the moment. He considered the ADS picnic on Daddy's birthday. He even called the chef at Oxheart for me.
In the end, he picked the moment that was right for us - perfect for us.
At Le Mistral