I met Nori in Hong Kong, at a Mexican restaurant, in 1998 - our
eyes met across the quesadilla and it was love. Well, not really.
I thought Nori was dating someone else, and she thought I was gay,
but everything worked out anyway and we started dating soon after.
(Many thanks to April Henry for the introduction!) After a few years
working in each of Hong Kong, Singapore, and Sydney, Australia,
we quit our jobs to travel the world starting April 1, 2003.
CHECKING WITH DAD
Just before we left Sydney on The Big Trip, I had called Nori's
father to ask for his permission to marry Nori. He was shocked.
I wasn't sure if the silence on the end of the line was positive
or negative, but he recovered and gave me the green light.
THE PROPOSAL LOCATION
After a month of travel in New Zealand, we visited the Cook Islands.
While in Rarotonga (the main island), I sneaked away and bought
a beautiful black pearl and diamond pendant. Although the weather
on Rarotonga had been horrible, I had a good feeling about Aitutaki
island, and had decided that I would 'pop the question' there. As
it turns out, the weather was fantastic, and I was able to convince
the owner of our lodge on Aitutaki (a local chief) to let us stay
one night on her islet - Akaiami island - located on the edge of
the Aitutaki lagoon.
I couldn't imagine a more beautiful location for the
proposal. Akaiami was stunning, a palm-fringed beach
looking out on the deepest blue lagoon. During the
day, we snorkeled across a narrow strait between
Akaiami and a neighboring islet. On the way back,
Nori said "What a perfect day!" I smiled to myself,
thinking, it's about to get better.
THE PROPOSAL, AND FISH
That evening, we walked down to the beach to watch the sunset. The
brilliant colors of the sky reflected in the mirror of the lagoon,
and I had just reached in my pocket for the pendant when we heard
a loud splash. Tens of small fish began leaping out of the water
onto the beach, and a local came running out from the palms, rake
in hand (please see the Rake Fishing section of our Engaged in Aitutaki
travelogue). It was absolutely hilarious to see him gathering the
fish in with the rake, but I had serious business to attend to.
I pulled out the pendant and placed it on her neck.
"Will you marry me?" I asked. I hate to admit it, but
I don't remember exactly what her reply was. The mind
sort of swirls in moments like this (I don't remember
anything of my skydive either), but I think she may
have said "Yes! Oh! I'm the luckiest woman on earth!
There's nothing I want more than to be your wife!"
But she may have just said "Of course."
THE WEDDING LOCATION
Everyone asks, "Why the Czech Republic?" Considering that
Nori, a Thai-Chinese-Japanese-American raised in D.C., and I, an
Idahoan of Norwegian descent, met in a Mexican restaurant in Hong
Kong, what could be more natural than to get married in the Czech
Actually, when we got engaged, we knew that
to be married the summer of next year. We also knew
that on our Big Trip itinerary that placed us in
eastern Europe. So we did some research, talked to
lots of travelers, drew up a list of possible
locations (Prague, Krakow, Budapest, Dubrovnik etc.)
and finally decided on Cesky Krumlov!
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