I still haven’t shared THE story with you guys. First of all let me just say that I literally CANNOT be more excited to marry Kiel. Three weeks away from him and a lot of self-confidence gained on my trip and I still feel like he’s the most supportive and (I’m looking for this word that means that he pushes me to do my best but I can’t find it) person I could possibly ever find. That said, he kind of asked me to marry him the way you ask someone to pass the butter at the breakfast table. In fact, I didn’t even know he asked me to marry him for oh, maybe 30 minutes? We’ve talked a lot about getting married and, in those discussions, we agreed that neither one of us thought that an engagement ring was something we wanted. I also didn’t want him to get on one knee — I’ve just seen too many seasons of “The Bachelor” and I’m just kind of over the one knee thang. Do you know what rings and getting down on one knee are good for in a proposal? Letting you know that you are in fact being asked to marry someone.
The story of our engagement is so positively us that I just can’t help but love it so much. We had spent our last day in Stockholm doing a bunch of my favorite things mixed with some new things that I hadn’t done yet. We took a long walk around my favorite lake, we rode bikes along the waterfront and looked at all the boats, I drank 20 cappuccinos, Kiel at 25 pastries, and we went to Skansen — a very bizarre but fun outdoor museum where people walk around dressed up like it’s the 1700s and talk to you about their apothecary and shit like that. I felt completely at peace with the experience that I had had over the past month. I was so happy to share it all with Kiel and so thrilled to have had the time to do all that I did. I was just so dang happy. As the day began to wind down we went back to the water and sat to watch what was the most magnificent sunset. The sky was on fire. As we were sitting on the dock Kiel had his arms around me and said (in so many words) “I’d like to have a wedding with you, Kate.” Not in a serious tone — just like a “ya that would be cool” tone. Now, this was not the first time this sort of thing had been said and, given the tone, I thought we were just having another conversation about how we will get married … ONE DAY. So I said, “mhmm. Me too!”. And then, in this exact tone, Kiel asked “WOULD you marry me?” Not “would you marry me?” Do you see the difference? One is a confident statement and the other is a question like “do you think you’d marry me one day if I asked you?” So I said “ya, I’d marry you.” And then we made out or something — the details are foggy.
Two seconds later I was pointing as some dumb building or something and talking about very arbitrary things. All the while Kiel appeared to be nervously clearing his throat, but, you know, he does that. We left the dock and started walking toward food when Kiel stopped me on a beautiful bridge and said “KATE, I asked you to marry you back there — do you know that?!” and, having no idea that he was actually asking me to marry him earlier, I said “WELL, OF COURSE I’LL MARRY YOU!” — and then we went out for big plates of Swedish meatballs and champagne in celebration! Kiel wanted to get a bottle of champagne but I had to remind him that, in Sweden, when one goes to purchase a bottle of champagne at a restaurant, one must first fill out a loan application with the bank, wait to be approved, and then spend the next 30 years paying back the loan with 12% interest. He wisely chose the glass. The first people we told were the folks that sat next to us on our flight the next morning. It was really kind of fun to go a few days without telling anyone else. By day three Kiel woke me up at 3:00am — jet lag is a bitch — to tell me the entire plan for our wedding day that he had been plotting while staring at the ceiling all night. It’s gonna be a hoot and it’s going to be next summer! The invitation shall read “BYOB” as in “bring your own bike”. If you’re from out of town we will find you a bike though! I know a guy.
We planned to tell most of our friends on my birthday the following Sunday. We were waiting for the perfect moment when Kiel’s dad, Verne — who was also celebrating his birthday and had enjoyed somewhere around 80 ounces of free Rogue birthday beer alongside me — accidentally let the cat out of the bag while we were all ordering at our third brewery stop. The waitress asked if Verne and I were related — she was fascinated that we had the same birthday — and Verne chimed in with “Nope! But we will be soon!” followed by “Kiel, remind me later I got a few for the guest list.” This all shouted down an picnic table of about 20 people. At that point our friends went from confused to very excited and surprised. It was kind of perfect. Those Johnson men know how to do surprises, man.
The longer I’ve been home the more I realize that my trip was actually quite a bit more revolutionary than I originally gave it credit for. I’ve always been a really capable person — at least I think. But, the trip gave me so much more confidence and showed me that I am the independent and capable DIVA that I knew I could be. I really reflected heavily on the things that make me feel happy while I was by myself and, upon my return, I’ve tried to do those things that make me happiest more and more. I’ve noticed that I am more calm and at peace with my life and it’s a really good feeling. Being by myself for a while helped to show me that, at the end of the day, the opinion that matters the most is the opinion I have of myself. I’ve also been doing MUCH better with the grey areas of life since my return. I am forcing myself to see beyond the black and white and gain a bit more moderation in my life. Excuse me as I step away and nail one of those prints that says “dance like nobody’s watching” or some shit like that on my wall. Got a little deep there….
Peace, love, and patchouli –