E has gotten involved with this group called Shinteki. They do scavenger, puzzle hunts that involve big teams and long hours and which are suppose to be a lot of fun. E did a test drive of one of their events back in July and can't stop raving about them. He told me a few weeks ago that they were having another test drive for one of their events for the spring and please please please please couldn't we do it? So, we signed up, along with our friends Kate and Bryan. You have to do the events in teams.
The test drive was this past weekend. I wasn't really looking forward to it. I've been so tired, work has been busy, the last thing I wanted to do was to spend the day decoding Morse Code and anagrams. But, I knew it meant a lot to E, so there was no way I'd cancel. I've dragged him to enough things, I'll go for him.
We show up at Golden Gate Park at 2, K & B arriving a bit afterwards and we meet the other team and the organizers. Everyone is really nice. It has stopped raining and it's not very cold or windy in the park. We get our instructions, a Palm to put our answers into (which then gives us the next clue) and off we go. We sit down and begin work on the first 3 puzzles.
It takes us about 2 hours to do the first 3 puzzles. We had a string of beads, which when lined up the correct way, the pattern of the colors spelled letters. There was a trivia question sheet that you had to take the first word from each answer and that made a movie name. Connect those two words together and they intersect another letter and boom, we get our third answer. The third puzzle was a bunch of different colored, different sized eggs in six boxes. Turns out, it was a message in Braille. Yippie! First 3 puzzles solved! We're off to find our first 3 eggs and the clue to the next set of puzzles.
We wander from the Botanical Gardens around Stowe Lake, picking up our eggs and passing the other team. Yay! We're winning! Inside the eggs are parts to a jigsaw puzzle. However, we are a bit late (we took the long way around the lake and the other team already has their egg!), so Kate and I get cracking on the next set of puzzles and Bryan and E pick up the 4th egg. These puzzles were a cipher (turns out it was 2 letters for every 1 letter) and a weaving project. You had to line up strips of paper so bunnies and eggs appeared or didn't to make the original image. Turns out you didn't have actually weave it with a tight over-under configuration. Much easier that way. Turn the woven strips over and there's a secret message on the back. Yay! Now we are on our way to the next egg location, which is the Japanese Tea Garden.
We pick up this egg, worried that the other team is ahead of us. But no—they haven't gotten their egg yet. Must have been those bunny strips holding them up. We then walk to the sculpture garden of the De Young and get egg #5. Yet more puzzle pieces. We cross the street, go to the music pavilion thing where we'll get the 6th egg.
We find the egg, and the organizers are there, with a little card table set up. Bryan has gone to move the car for parking. All those years of doing jigsaw puzzles at Church Camp finally pay off, and I put the puzzle together in lightening speed. I think I gave E and Kate paper cuts, I was moving so fast. There was no way I was letting the other team beat us now. We (I) put the puzzle together, and we flip it over, since, of course, there is a code written on the back of each piece. They are Roman numerals, which match to the letters of the alphabet. Kate and I sit and work out the code. She starts reading the letters off to me, and I write down the phrase that it spells. I don't think anything of it until we get to the last word: C-H-I-A huh? R wha? A??? I look around all confused and there is E, down on one knee, holding a porcelain egg with his mother's engagement ring in it. The message spells "Are you ready to put your eggs in one basket Chiara?"
I. Am. Shocked. Then there is a blur of hugs, kisses, tears, and laughter. It finally sinks in that this is not a test run; that he's planned the whole thing, just for me. I can't believe it. I still have to type the last answer into the Palm. I type in "Yes" and the last "clue" wishes us congratulations and much happiness. Champaign appears, along with a basket for all our eggs, and little top hat for E and a tiara for me. We toast with Kate and the organizers. I'm still in shock. OMG—he just asked me to marry him!!!
But wait, there's more! Turns out Bryan wasn't checking the car. He'd gone over to Park Chow where there are 16 other people waiting to have dinner and to celebrate with us! We had a lovely dinner, many more hugs, and lots of smiles. Kate was kind enough to take photos of the day. You can find them on Flickr.
So... I'm getting married. We are getting married. Don't know when yet. Probably 2009 by the time we get all the planning done. Probably on the West Coast. We spent most of Sunday snuggled together, talking about wedding stuff. I'm still in shock. I was beginning to think he'd never ask. This was such the perfect way. I'm so very happy. Me and my best friend, forever. It is just meant to be. Yay!