Surprises in the post.

You can’t really call it a surprise, if it’s something you ordered yourself can you? Either way, there is something so terribly exciting about getting a delivery! Even though you get emails to say when your order has been approved, payment has been received and your parcel dispatched – you still don’t know. Placing an order online is like sending a mystery prize to yourself. A gift with love, from me to me. And the subsequent arrival is just so… exciting.

I’ve placed a handful of online orders recently, and the arrival of each has had me terribly excited (overuse of the root of the word “excite” much?). We got a voucher for a photobook for our anniversary from Greg’s mom, it was an overseas company and took a bit longer than expected to arrive. Getting that little slip from the post office was such a relief, and after a little trip to the post office and a long wait in the queue I was absolutely gushing at the result. With photobooks, you know what you’re getting (I mean, you designed it yourself) but it’s something else seeing the real thing! I’m considering writing a post on our little book.

Last week there was loads of discussions of books going around blogs and twitter, and I landed up ordering 2 books I’d been meaning to buy for ages. I got an email from Loot yesterday afternoon to say it had been dispatched and that it should arrived in 2 working days. Lo and behold, this morning my little delivery of happiness arrived at my desk.

Both of these books are meant to be super great, so here is the brief summary off the internet:

The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared: It all starts on the one-hundredth birthday of Allan Karlsson. Sitting quietly in his room in an old people’s home, he is waiting for the party he-never-wanted-anyway to begin. Slowly but surely Allan climbs out of his bedroom window, into the flowerbed and makes his getaway. And so begins his picaresque and unlikely journey involving criminals, several murders, a suitcase full of cash, and incompetent police.

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close: In a vase in a closet, a couple of years after his father died in 9/11, nine-year-old Oskar discovers a key…The key belonged to his father, he’s sure of that. But which of New York’s 162 million locks does it open? So begins a quest that takes Oskar – inventor, letter-writer and amateur detective – across New York’s five boroughs and into the jumbled lives of friends, relatives and complete strangers. He gets heavy boots, he gives himself little bruises and he inches ever nearer to the heart of a family mystery that stretches back fifty years. But will it take him any closer to, or even further from, his lost father?

Extremely Loud is meant to be incredible and my boss has been trying to get me to watch the movie for like… months. I finally watched the trailer and decided I had to read the book. So here I am with it in my possession. But I really recommend watching the trailer.

Amazing, right?

My last delivery should be coming in a week or so. Our favourite board game of all time Settlers of Catan, was sadly misplaced during our Knysna trip in December. It’s a really incredible strategy game if thats something you’re interested in. But this game costs a bucket-load of money and I was super bleak that we’d lost it. In comes the amazing Exclusive Books sticker system – basically, I placed a sticker on a product I like on their website (product being Settlers) and once it reached 500 stickers it goes on sale! 25% off (for 24hrs)! PLUS Fanatics discounts and we got ourselves a bargain!

Settlers_of_Catan-p2

When this big box arrives, I’m going to be a very happy lady.

Settlers fans will understand this reference :)

Settlers fans will understand this reference 🙂

And now my bank account is asking me very nicely to stop buying things online.

UPDATE: Settlers arrived in the post the very next day after writing this post. It was expected only in a weeks time, so I am crazily impressed with Exclusive Books right now.

Birthdays, “Valentine’s”, and other fun happenings.

Life has been so busy recently. The last couple days of work have been the craziest I’ve ever had – and I’m somewhat thankful for them. It really shows how much you can really push through when you need to, and our team has been doing some amazing things. I’ve just stolen a couple minutes to write the last few exciting things that have been going on.

It was my friend’s birthday last week. She’s one of those really fantastic people, who never asks much of anyone but will do anything in the entire world for you. She never ever does anything for her birthday, so I thought I’d arrange a little surprise party for her. I made a private facebook event (I’d never made of those before, and freaked out every time I found anything about it on my newsfeed – in case she saw.) and invited a small selection of people. We had a bit of trouble trying to lure her to the venue unbeknownst to her, but we succeeded in the end.

We made a banner, everyone brought a little bit of dessert (I even made cupcakes, and I’m pretty sure you know how my baking skills are…) and it was really just the sweetest little party. She had no idea. There are some people who are so valuable in your life, that they just deserve to be shown how much they are loved and appreciated.

party

Then there was Valentine’s Day yesterday. In a weird twist of fate, it also worked out to be the Hebrew date of our first wedding anniversary. Judaism is cool like that, so we’ll be having double celebrations, of course. As I’ve written before, we don’t really do Valentine’s day, but I had secretly booked tickets for us to see Dirty Dancing. It was really difficult keeping it a surprise. When I said to Greg that I had something small planned, he freaked out a little – and instantly went to go buy me some gifts. What does he present me with on Thursday morning?

“Lee-Ann, I know how much you hate Pesach (Passover. If you read more about, or know anything about this Jewish holiday, and how little we can actually eat, you might understand this), but I know how excited you get because that’s when the kosher jelly is brought in…”

Lo and behold, the boy presents me with a jelly mould. I could not have been happier, or laughed any harder at his thoughtfulness.

I much prefer my jelly mould to this gushiness from the party store downstairs.

I much prefer my jelly mould to this gushiness from the party store downstairs.

Come Thursday night, with the State of the Nation Address… after hitting 2 blocked roads I eventually had to ask a policeman how to get to the Artscape, thus blowing the cover of my surprise. But it was alright, we got there in time and had such a great night. We really love going to see plays, especially the big yearly Artscape productions – I guess we’re nerdy like that. We’d only actually watched the movie a week before (cringe. I know. Please stop your judging.) and loved how the play matched up to the film. The dancing, the music, the usage of the stage, the acting, the classic story – all so lovely. Though the lead was nothing in comparison to Mr Swayze himself. I half wished I’d bought of those “No-one puts Baby in a corner!” or “I carried a watermelon!?” tshirts (I have a thing for buying tshirts from the plays I see, even though I’ve only done it twice…). If theatre is your hing, I totally recommend it!

I told Greg to dress "nicely-ish", so he decided to wear his new hat. He took it off in the end ;)

I told Greg to dress “nicely-ish”, so he decided to wear his new hat. He took it off in the end 😉

Coming up. we still have Madame Zingara and Cirque du soleil booked, and are trying to decide on seeing A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a Ventriloquist show, or Tap Dogs. So many options!

It’s been a busy and eventful last couple of weeks, and I’m hoping to chill a bit this weekend and get further stuck into this amazing book I’m currently reading 🙂 Hope you all have a lovely weekend.

A Proposal of Epic Proportions

Engagement Ring & Rose

The Pretty Ring

So the other week, I had the best day of my life (so far!) when Greg (finally) proposed! Heres the story of how it happened, written by the man himself:

So now everyone wants to know how, how did I pop the question? Well fans, it was really easy. Here is a secret to success in proposing: Say what you mean, mean what you say and the rest (i.e. the aftermath of excitement) is the reward (until a few months later then the real reward comes).

The Background

It started a few months ago walking in Canal Walk when Lee-Ann decided we need to take a slow walk past jewellery stores. The concept of marriage was brought up at least 2 months after we started going out, but nothing was pursued because 2 months is just too early! Anyways I digress. So we in Canal Walk walking past a jewellery store and Lee-Ann kindly starts showing me which rings she likes and pointing out how affordable her taste is. That’s when we actually started thinking when would be a good time to propose (yes we discussed a time – it was going to be in the 3 weeks of school holidays (June – July) ). So I needed a ring and happened to show my granny a ring that had a 75% discount. She said it was very nice but I mustn’t do anything because she had a diamond from her late mother for me, which was sitting safely in JHB. I was very excited because heirlooms are so important and have so much sentimental value that I decided to keep Lee-Ann in the dark about everything and just tell her that I was having a ring made and it was taking longer than expected. As you can imagine June July came and went and no questions were being asked and Lee-Ann was getting a little or a lot frustrated with everything. I had to take it because I couldn’t tell her what was really happening. Sure I can understand the frustration but it was going to be worth it.

THE SETUP

Anyways… Lee-Ann’s birthday is on the 13 August and this year it fell on shabbos. Not the most exciting because you can’t do anything but being the type of person I am decided I was going to make it the best birthday she will ever have. I organised for some of her varsity friends to meet us at her house for lunch as well as get 2 of her close friends from Shul to meet us there. The situation was set up: We would go to Shul as per usual on Saturday morning (her actual birthday), leave to go to her house for lunch where she will be surprised by her varsity friends and then a few minutes later her Shul friends will arrive. I bought princess party decor (banner, plates, serviettes, straws with umbrellas and confetti).

I had planned with her to free her schedule up on Sunday because we were going to celebrate her birthday together. I was going to surprise her by taking her to one of our favourite spots for breakfast: Kirstenbosch. We would pack a picnic breakfast and chill in the sun together. Little did she know I had planned for some of her close friends to meet us at 12:30 at Kirstenbosch for a surprise birthday party (mainly those friends that couldn’t be with her on her actual birthday).

What no one knew was that in fact it was all a ruse and there was no birthday party. I was going to propose to Lee-Ann at Kirstenbosch and then we would surprise the friends with the news.

THE DAY

I picked Lee-Ann up for gym (which we usually do on a Sunday) at 07:15 (we usually gym around 09:30 lol) and during the gym session she is asking all about where we are going and says will only where an eye mask if it wasn’t going to be for something (alluding to a proposal). So I blatantly lie and tell her she is being silly the ring is still in JHB. Phew saved that little situation right there.

Anyway we make it to Kirstenbosch and the weather Baruch HaShem turned out exquisite after a shabbos of pure rain. Now I had to propose before 12:30 because that’s when the friends were expecting us for the surprise birthday party but I knew that we would want pictures and phone everyone after I proposed (assuming big time she would say yes 😛 ). So the time marches on and it hits 11:20 and I start hinting we need to move: “Lee-Ann lets go find the Proteas” “Lee-Ann let’s go take pictures” and her responses were: “Greg the Proteas are only out in Spring” “another 15 maybe 20 minutes then we can go.” Now those were not answers I was wanting to hear because I couldn’t rush the phone calls to our family or rush the proposal and I couldn’t be late for the party either otherwise risking numerous phone calls which I would have to answer and try explain to Lee-Ann why I am getting so many phone calls (which I don’t normally do). Anyways after much persuasion I get her up and we start walking towards the Proteas. Just to say that the party was down at the bottom of KB by the Ampitheatre and we usually sit far up but I wanted us to be further and the Proteas were very much far from the party area.

So we are walking and I had a spot in mind to propose that overlooked KB but I heard a waterfall and decided that’s the best spot. The actual area was a bit dark and muddy but the sound of the water hitting the pond was very romantic. I never actually knew what I was going to say so I just started asking her what she thought of this place, if it was pretty, if it was fun. I had unzipped my pocket to whip out the ring when she said it was nice but had to leave it in my pocket when she said it wasn’t that pretty. So close and yet so far.

Straight after the proposal - all smiles

All smiles 🙂

We continue walking and I was happy when she wanted to shlep further up the hill. We find a spot on the bench and we were always talking about getting married at Kirstebosch but it’s rather expensive. So I asked her IF we had the wedding in this area where would we have the chuppah, where would the guests sit, the yichud room etc etc and then I said to her: “Well we might not be able to have the wedding here but maybe we can have something else” and I hopped off the bench, hand flew into my pocket, whipped on this box, got on one knee and asked my best friend to marry me. Lee-Ann was shocked. She expected it would come eventually but not now. Her immediate reaction was *Hand to mouth* “no no, no no you serious? Serious? Oh my word” Ring on finger (a bit of a tight fit but it fit) and smiles all around.

Now I needed to make sure that whoever she called wouldn’t put it on facebook because then the people down by the amphitheatre would know it wasn’t a birthday party. So I tried persuading her to not call her brother in Israel for an hour. Obviously that never worked so I smsed him ASAP and told him to hold off telling anyone for an hour. He smsed saying “cool no problem” and part 2 of my plan was still in effect.

So I had to convince Lee-Ann to not tell any of her friends for at least 20 mins (which was hard but she took to the idea that we need to digest first what just happened) and we start walking to the party area. Ok so I thought the amphitheatre was further than it actually was but I heard people chilling and laughing and turned to Lee-Ann and said to her: “Ok around the corner are your friends. They think they are here for a surprise birthday party for you and they do not know we got engaged. Do you want to tell them or see how long it takes them to figure it out…” “let’s wait.”

So we walk and the Happy Birthday music goes off with everyone singing and I am smiling from cheek to cheek because they have no idea what has hit them! Everyone is giving Lee-Ann gifts and as we sit down she gets told to start opening a gift. All of a sudden one of the guests goes inquisitively” “What? Huh?” then a few more people get confused. I am smiling away as the penny drops. All of a sudden it was like a volcano has erupted. Girls were dancing around Lee-Ann and I was being hugged and kissed by the guys. 5 minutes afterwards it was on BBM, twitter, and Facebook and boy did the phone calls start coming in! Wow it was insane!

So there you have it. It was an event we will never forget and on behalf of my beautiful fiancée thank you so much for all the phone calls, BBMs, Facebook messages, SMS’s and letters that we have received. We are still so overwhelmed by the wonderful friends and family that we have and the love shown to us.