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I had over a month left until the proposal.  The most difficult task now was to keep it all a secret from Olwen.  My main concern was with her parents since they’re the ones that I probably would have the least control over.  It turned out that leaks were coming out elsewhere.

After I picked up Olwen from the airport, we headed over to NewGen, my church fellowship.  I had to give Olwen back her car, so I had her drop me off at the fellowship.  We were hanging out on a couch when Christine spotted Olwen and walked up to us.  She welcomed Olwen back and asked about her trip to Rwanda.  And that’s when she said, “Wow, you guys have been doing a lot traveling.  Nolen just got back from Toronto.”

She did not just say that.

The first thing that went through my head was how the heck did she know about my trip.  No matter, it was damage control right now.  I knew Wayne was in Toronto at the same time as I was, and it would’ve been possible for Christine to confuse two great ridiculously good-looking guys, right?  I gave her my cocked-eyebrow look and replied calmly, “No, I think you have me confused with Wayne.”  Problem was, Olwen said the exact same thing as I did at the same time, so it looked like both of us were trying to cover up for me.  So I knew that she knew something was up.  From an outsider’s perspective, it didn’t seem like a big deal, but I was close to sweatin’ it.

Olwen headed home soon afterwards, and I went over to Christine to point out her slip.  By then, others had arrived for NewGen, so I didn’t want to draw attention to myself.  “Hey Christine,” I whispered to her as she writing on a whiteboard in front of the room, “Olwen wasn’t supposed to know I went to Toronto.”


I guess you can say it went something like this:

That wasn’t the only slip up though.  Before she had left for Rwanda, she noticed I had a page of West Jet, an exclusive Canadian airline,  up on my laptop.  When she asked me why I had it up, I replied, “Huh, not sure.”

Ugh, lying FAIL.  I’m not very good at lying (which might not be a good thing depending on which way you spin it), and it doesn’t help that I date a gal with a built-in Phony Baloney meter.

The hinges nearly came off the weekend before the proposal.  My cousin Mark came up to visit from the Bay Area.  His sister just got married in September and was holding a wedding reception for all the Portland relatives, so he wanted to check out Seattle the week before the banquet.  He had also wanted to visit Vancouver since it was only a couple hours drive.   (My brothers also came up to visit as well, but what they were really doing was taking all the stuffed animals and the mascot suit which had just been finished.)  While in Vancouver, my brothers, Mark, Olwen, and I had dinner a restaurant owned by a friend of Olwen’s family (we’ll call him “Uncle”).  After dinner as we were heading out, the owner was chatting with Olwen in Cantonese.  I was unable to understand them, but I noticed a confused look on her face.  As we were walking to the car, I asked her about what they were talking about to which she replied, “I’ll tell you tomorrow.”  Things didn’t sound good.

The following day, there was a dinner at my place.  After everyone had left, Olwen and I were doing the dishes together.  “So you want to tell me about what Uncle talked to you about yesterday?”

“Oh yeah,” she said.  She paused for a moment. “Did you invite my dad over for Thanksgiving?”

“Um… I don’t think so.”  (I’m still a terrible liar).

“Cuz he was asking me why I wasn’t having dinner with my dad.  He said my dad was in Vancouver that day.”


I was trying to deny, but it was too late.  The original plan was to have her parents fly in to Vancouver and have a family friend from Seattle, Uncle Silas, pick them up.  Uncle Silas would then invite Olwen and I for dinner on Monday where her parents would magically surprise her for her birthday.  Right after we finished washing dishes and I was escorting her to the car, sure enough, Uncle Silas called Olwen.  She chatted with him for a couple minutes obviously confirming tomorrow night’s dinner.   She gave me that “I know you’re up to something” look as she was hanging up.  And that’s when Uncle Silas called me, who assumed that I wasn’t next to Olwen.  I tried to casually walk stroll away from Olwen as I talked, but it further confirmed to Olwen that something was up.  Afterwards, she left for home, and I was left frazzled and hoping that she wouldn’t further figure out my plans.

The next night, we met up for dinner with Uncle Silas and family.  As they were sitting themselves and greeting us, her parents came through the door, right on schedule.  During the dinner, they told Olwen that they were in town for her birthday, but since Olwen and I were planning on going to Portland on her birthday, they wouldn’t be able to join us and would instead head back up to Vancouver to catch a cruise to Victoria Island.  That could work, right?  At least, that’s what I hoped.  Afterwards, we brought her parents bags to her house where they were planning on staying for the next few nights.  We chatted together that evening, and I even swapped jokes with her dad.  Olvie was also online that night and we were able to see her dorm room through her webcam via Skype.

I’m going to go personal for a second, just because I feel it’s worth mentioning.  It might come off sounding cheesy, but I don’t care.  This is my blog anyways :P.  As we were wrapping up, Uncle Rex asked me if I needed prayer for my current situation.  To be honest, I wasn’t expecting that from him, but nonetheless, I was very appreciative.  To pray and fellowship with Olwen’s family felt really special.  The fact that her parents were concerned for me on a spiritual level furthered reassured me that I was marrying the right woman not to mention the right family.  I don’t necessarily believe in the concept of marrying “The One,” but I do believe I made a REAL good choice after 16 months of dating.

Anyways, the next two days flew by quickly, and Wednesday was almost here.  The stage was set: her parents were here, I had the ring, the stuffed animals and the suit were in Portland.  The only thing that was missing was Olwen and I.  Everything has been building up for the last two months, and tomorrow, it was all coming together.

Next up, the proposal!

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Puddles’ Weekend Adventure – Part 4

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