We had been dating for 9 months when Michael was invited to audition for the Presidents Own Marine Band in Washington D.C. At the time we were dating long distance. He lived in Michigan working on his Masters degree in Tuba Performance at University of Michigan and I was still in Houston, TX in my first year of teaching elementary music. It was tough. But one of the good things about having a grown up job is the grown up pay check! I flew up to see him during my birthday in September and then again as soon as school let out for Christmas break.
When I flew into Chicago, I had to catch a connecting flight to Detroit. However, the first plane was delayed leaving so I missed my connecting flight. It was already late (11:30 pm) so everything was closed, not many people were around, I couldn’t get out to a hotel so that meant spending the night in the airport. Everyone’s dream, right?! I really had no idea what to do. It was scary to be honest. At one point I sat down in a chair and started crying. I remember a nice man even asked if I was ok. So I found a security guard station and a bench close by so I snuggled my camera bag as a pillow (with the strap wrapped around my arm a few times) and slept with my peacoat over my head. The next morning they had put me on the first flight out and upgraded me to first class (my seat number was 1A!) and I got to Detroit safe and sound. I’d never felt so relieved!
A few days later we got in the car and drove to Washington D.C. I’ll never forget the sound of that room FULL of tuba players practicing for their audition. Once the audition was over we did some sightseeing around D.C. Did I mention that we had Michael’s dog Buddy with us?
The whole time we were sightseeing I could tell Michael wasn’t acting the same. He was just..different. I kept asking him if he was ok. I thought maybe he’s just really anxious about the audition results. Well, he was anxious about something all right, but at the time I had no idea. Later that night he spent almost an hour on the computer searching for the best restaurant in D.C. for dinner. It STILL did not occur to me why he was putting in so much effort to find a place to eat. I was just trying to decide what to wear.
He found this place called the 1789 Restaurant that was an old colonial house turned restaurant. It was pricey (also very unlike Michael….still not getting it…) and super delicious! At the end of dinner Michael said he needed to use the restroom. Well, he was gone for a long time. I thought he was feeling sick (still not getting it) but when he finally came back, he had the coat man holding my camera and he comes over and gets down on one knee and asks the most important question of his life, “Joanna, will you marry me?” I lost it. I was crying and nodding my head frantically, “YES!” Every one in the restaurant was cheering and clapping. It was the best moment ever. The whole time, the coat man is taking tons of pictures which I am SO grateful for. Afterwards, he took us around the restaurant taking pictures for us in front of different picturesque things. Best. Dinner. Ever.
Love this one! We had the camera on a tripod and a 10 second timer. Michael didn’t tell me he was going to dip me RIGHT before the countdown was over! It’s perfect!
And then Michael spent over an hour researching for the best restaurant in D.C. for dinner. Me, still oblivious, had no idea why he was putting in this much effort for dinner. It’s the BEST dinner I’ve ever had.
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