Bali, Indonesia

WE'RE ENGAGED!! Here’s the story.

From Skyler….

What Leah didn’t know was that I had identified our time in Bali as the place where I’d propose, a solid two months prior.  This was for a few reasons.  One, it’s Bali.  Two, while Leah had once dreamt that we got engaged in India with the locals all carrying sparklers as part of the celebration, that part of the trip wouldn’t be until July and well I couldn’t wait that long to marry such an incredible woman.  Plus, Bali has a bit of Indian influence so it wasn’t that far off.  And three, and perhaps the most important, Leah’s Dad is meeting us in Thailand shortly thereafter and I wanted the good news to be shared by our first visitor, an extremely important one, at that. 

I had the ring all packed up in one of the covert zippers in my suitcase that I’d inspect each time we checked our luggage, whenever housekeeping came and pretty much any time we left our room for that matter.  It was a great day when May 17th rolled around and even better when I reached into the zipper pocket to find the ring was still there!  Cleverley, I must say, I used Leah’s upcoming birthday (May 20th) as a way to slip in such an unsuspecting surprise.  A thousand different ways to actually pop the question had entered my mind leading up to it, but it was sunset drinks at the Rock Bar that won out.  Think of the Rock Bar as a lounge area literally built into rock with crashing waves and an astonishing view of the Indian Ocean.  Definitely a unique setting.  I got our names on the ‘list,’ we bypassed the line and took one of the first mini-gondola rides down to the rocks.  I should also mention that it was hot.  And humid.  Really hot and humid.  I had suggested Leah wear this killer outfit she picked up in Montevideo that I just always envisioned her wearing when I popped the question.  She looks absolutely beautiful in it.

So upon settling into our chaise longue, I immediately wanted to go for a walk, jitters nearing full affect, to kick the celebratory evening off right.  Leah had other ideas.  She wasn’t going anywhere until she got a few glasses of water and shared some words that went something like ‘Why did you have me wear this?!?  It’s 90 degrees out!  I’m hot and I’m sweaty.  And no, I don’t want to go on a walk right now.”  Well, OK then.  This was a bit of a curveball, but figured it would only be a matter of time before I got her up and moving.  It wasn’t as easy as I thought though as the sun was starting to make its way into the sea.  Thinking about a Plan B and where I might be able to do this whole thing again the following day, I finally, after pushing the issue, got her to walk down the steps to the sand. 

The time was right.  The medley of orange, red, blue and golden hues that painted the sky laced across a setting sun.  Feeling as though I had shushed the DJ myself from his melodic, enjoyable music, I busted out our pocket speaker and iPod containing some of our favorite songs.  All the things I had rehearsed in my mind had left me and what must have been an incoherent mix of praise and gibberish, while on one knee.  The next thing I knew I heard a “Yes! Yesss!” and realized I had asked her to marry me.  It almost felt surreal.  I had just made the best decision of my life.  I mean it’s not every day you get to marry your best friend.

From Leah….

We had just spent the afternoon swimming in the pool and lounging in the sun; one of my favorite ways to enjoy the day away, as many of you know.  As we meandered up to the room, Skyler suggested we start celebrating my birthday early (clearly I was not complaining) with a dinner spot he had picked.  We pulled up to this beautiful resort that was sprawled across the ocean’s rock-stamped beaches.  Wow, it was gorgeous!  I carefully made my way down steps, pool sides, terraces, sweating in my full length body suit, thinking to myself, “Why did he make me wear this again?” All I could think about when we were brought to our front-row seat in view of the crashing waves and hopefully soon to be setting sun, was what I would do for a gallon of ice cold water.  But instead, Skyler suggested we go for a walk the minute we arrived at this lovely daybed. “Ummm, NO,” was my less than chummy response.  Thankfully, the sun’s relentless heat dimmed into an intense orange glow hovering above the Indian Ocean and with that, I took in the beauty of Bali.  Two bottles of water later, I kicked off my heels and agreed to walk down to the beach.  Stepping into the soft sand, Skyler pulled out a little speaker and some of our favorite songs floated through the air.  With every note, I was reminded of our past vacations and celebrations, thinking how thoughtful he was to plan all of this and bring along some music.  I even jokingly patted down his pockets asking him if he was “going to propose or something.”  Instead, he went on to say the most wonderful words and I just felt so special to be receiving my 28th year in such a way.

Before I could process what was happening next, Skyler was on one knee in the sand.  Saying I was in complete shock is an understatement.  I just stared at this handsome man in front of me, wondering, ‘Is this a dream!? I’m pretty sure I’ve dreamt of something like this happening before.’  I had no idea this was coming. Then he asked and I answered.  The tears started to roll down my face as I held his, amazed this incredible man, my travel buddy and my best friend was instantaneously now my future husband.  I could not feel more grateful or overjoyed.

The evening followed with clinking champagne flutes under a starry Bali night, smiles plastered across our faces.  And saying the word “fiancé” about 102 times.  

Oh, right, Bali…

Bali was sort of the vacation within our trip.  Hey traveling is harder than it looks!  The Courtyard Marriott Nusa Dua, which we weren’t expecting much from, was unbelievably fantastic!  Two huge lagoon pools fringed the sides of an outdoor bar, which had an island that turned into a stage for musical performances at night.  Additionally, an amazing buffet breakfast, a well-outfitted gym and serene spa completed this ridiculously cool resort.  The double upgraded room we got sure helped as well. 

We were tucked away in the area known as Nusa Dua in the south eastern part of the island.  We didn’t deviate much from our hotel as it had everything we needed and given the heat and humidity, their pool usurped most of our time.  We did manage to get out and walk the streets of Seminyak that featured countless amazing boutiques (if only Leah could do some serious shopping damage!), restaurants and other shops.  A local driver navigated and narrated us through the countryside in Ubud and to the volcano in Kintamani.  Along the way, we took in a local performance about an ancient Balinese spirit.  Traditional music and elaborate costumes sending waves of laughter through the local school kids.  All of the people in Bali were so friendly it was almost like an island-wide rehearsal of pleasantness, but it was all genuine. 

Our time in Bali was unforgettable.  There are a few sightseeing items on the list we didn’t get to check off, but it’s easy to see why so many people seek out the luxury and beauty of this land.