Thursday, October 3, 2013


Today, my favorite person in the world asked me to marry him! It was a wonderful day that I will never forget. This is how it all went down.

On Monday, Taylor told me that her mom bought a Groupon for 2 manicures and asked if I wanted to get my nails done with her this week. We planned on Thursday (today), since I would be in Austin to feed my sister's cat anyways. I was a little suspicious, and naturally investigated the existence of this Groupon.

On Wednesday, Taylor told me she made us an appointment for 10:00 the following morning for our manicures. Late that night, Ryan received a call from Kyle while I was in the same room. Kyle, who is taking a class in Round Rock, seemed frustrated about the fact that he had to unexpectedly go to Round Rock the following day to turn in an assignment.

This morning, Ryan woke me up to say bye before he went to work. He was dressed in his black scrubs and told me that his shift was 9-1 (#lies), but he was leaving at 8:00 a.m. so he could stop to get breakfast. I dragged myself out of bed, bummed that I overslept and didn't have time to make pancakes, and quickly got ready to head up to Austin. In retrospect, I am so glad that I opted to spend two minutes on applying concealer to my tired eyes.

I picked Taylor up at her house in Austin and we headed to the nail salon, which ended up being in north Austin instead of west Austin as was the original plan. Taylor was giving me directions and I kept thinking wow... we are really going to north Austin. North Austin ended up being Round Rock. We arrived at the nail salon at 10:10 and got our shellac. I opted for a color called Pink Bikini. I turned my phone onto silent/no vibrate so that it wouldn't go off while my nails were being painted.

When we left the salon, I stopped to get gas since it was so much cheaper in Round Rock than Schertz (hey grandkids, gas was considered "cheap" at $3.09). When I got back into the car, Taylor asked if I had Aaron Reyna's number because she needed it. This caused me to get my phone out and look at it -- and realize that Kyle had called me 4 times and texted me, "please call back!" I called him back right away and he told me that his car had broken down (#lies) after he went to class at the Texas State Round Rock Campus. He asked if I would go pick him up at exit 275 since he was all alone and AAA had already towed his car. We were at exit 255 which, I thought at the time, was lucky.

Taylor and I headed north on I-35 and as we got further and further north, I started to wonder how Kyle ended up so far north of the Round Rock campus. I called him to tell him I was close and I asked him why he was so far north, to which he replied, "I don't know!" When I saw the sign for Jarrell, I was pretty sure my suspicions were right -- Ryan was a part of this plot and something great was about to happen.

We took exit 275 and took the turnaround and then took a right turn, as Kyle had instructed, which led us straight to the Cursillo Retreat Center -- where Ryan and I met when we attended Bobcat Awakening October 2-4, 2009... exactly 4 years ago!

As we pulled up to the retreat center, which is in the middle of a big open field, all we could see was Kyle sitting criss-cross-applesauce on the ground next to a sign that Ryan and I had looked at when we were at Hobby Lobby last week. We parked in the gravel drive and then a familiar green BMW pulled up next to my car with a super hot driver wearing my favorite color tie.

The handsome man got out of his car and started walking toward me and Kyle handed me a newspaper from May 2, 1991. The first conversation Ryan and I ever had, 4 years and 1 day prior, was about how his first name is my last name and our common Nolan Ryan connection: Ryan was named after Nolan Ryan and Nolan Ryan hit his 7th no hitter the night before I was born (which led to the newspaper headline the day that I - my parent's 2nd child - was born to read, "Ryan Does It Again!").

Kyle handed me the newspaper from my birthday with the Nolan Ryan headline and then Ryan handed me another newspaper- with the headline: "Sarah Lillian Ryan, Will You Marry Me?" I feel like Ryan and I just looked at each other at that point and when I went to hug him, he got down on one knee (so the video is hilarious... looks like he dodged a hug). I didn't even say yes until after the ring was already on my finger and we had realized that I never gave a verbal answer. The moment was so perfect and I wish that hug could've lasted forever.

True to Ryan Gates form, there was more up his sleeves and so many laughs. Once the ring was on my finger and my YES was confirmed, Ryan took me over to the trunk of his car. He opened the trunk to reveal happy & sad boxes, as Michael Scott had in The Office when he prepared to find out if Holly was available or not. The Office has always been one of our "things" so it was so special that he incorporated it into this moment. The very first time we hung out (10/9/09) we watched Pam & Jim's wedding episode in my freshman dorm.

The happy/sad boxes had me cracking up!!! On top of that, Ryan reenacted Michael's happy box celebration with Erin - including "My Life Would Suck Without You," a recording of himself congratulating himself on the good news, and a Ryan vs. Ryan dance off. The Michael Scott clip is here so you can understand what I'm talking about. We then put on the Spongebob party hats that Ryan had in the happy box and celebrated Michael & Erin style.

The happy box had Smirnoff frozen drinks, a Bridal guide magazine, sour gummis, a CD called "Marriage Songz for the future Mrs. Gates," a confetti cannon, noisemakers. The sad box had "The Notebook," a stuffed animal, sponges (to dry up tears), tissues, Polish vodka from Konrad, gummi bears. Here's a few pictures of our coordinating team celebrating with us!

Then we just walked around the grounds of the Cursillo Center where Ryan, Taylor, and I spent so many weekends since 2009. It was so nice to be there for such a special event and think about all the pictures we've taken out there, memories we've made inside, and good friends we've met there. Now that Bobcat Awakening retreats are held in Kyle, TX instead of Jarrell, we hadn't been back in a while. So awesome to start this chapter of our lives at the very place where it all started. We walked around to the back of the center (where most "3rd day BA" photos of us have been taken) and took some pictures in our favorite spots and our favorite poses.

Ryan made this banner. In his words, "The creator of Paperletterlove just got paperletterLOVED!"

This day couldn't have been possible without two of our favorite people - Kyle (Ryan's brother) and Taylor (my partner in crime turned roommate that I met 4.5 years ago through mutual Facebook stalking).

In the past 10 hours we have received so many kind words and have felt so much love from our friends and family. We have such an awesome support system. I don't know what we would do without all the love and support! Thanks everyone! So excited to continue this journey of love with my best friend Ryan...and I get to MARRY HIM! and BE WITH HIM FOREVER! How lucky am I?

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