Respokenly Bespoken

I've always been rather impulsive with the things I want to say.

This blog tends to be a written testament to that, as I've more than once just spouted off on something with entirely too little thought as to where I was going to go when I got into the idea that was trying to leap from this candy-coated shell I call a head.

I've also always been pretty romantic. I'm not total goo about things, but I can respect a good film super-saturated with the love. I'm often too pragmatic for my own sensibilities, but frequently I find I'm led by my emotions about a situation more than the situation itself.

And so it was, over a chilled plate of spicy shredded cow tongue, that I asked Maggie to marry me. Not to be too chick-ish or anything, but even us guys do sometimes think about how we're going to pop the question … I dare say (as spaced as my memory can be) I never imagined it would be done over such gastronomic delights.

For a while now I've been tossing around the idea of when I would ask her. Since deciding to stay in China for her, it wasn't so much a question of "if" but "when"… what I didn't spend nearly enough time on however was "where" and "how"… I realized this about three minutes too late when my hands were all sweaty and I was completely unsure as to what I was expected to do next.

One thing that screwed things up quite a bit was not having a ring. I had realized a while back that if I was going to wait for a ring, the proposal wasn't happening for quite some time. I've got a 10,000 RMB flight home in two weeks, 3,000-4,000 RMB spending money while I'm there, I'm helping pay for Maggie's yoga instructor's course over the summer (5,000 RMB) and through all this I'm trying to sort out going back to school (insert insanely large figure here).

So, big diamond was just not in the picture. I had, until yesterday, considered just delaying the proposal until I could 'do it right'… but that's when it hit me – if my love for Maggie and my desire to commit to her this way was being held up by a ring … that's pretty feckin' retarded.

However, I'd always imagined it'd be a bit more silver screen-esque. I'd light a thousand candles spelling it out on a beach, and then have a romantic walk along an overlooking cliff. She'd glance down and see my matrimonial message, look into my eyes with hers beginning to glisten from the swelling of tears… throw her arms around me and shout "yes… Yes… 10,000 yes'es" or something.

But what the hell do I know about proposals. I mean, it's not like I've practiced. This is the first one. I swear, I'll do the next one better ๐Ÿ˜‰

So, today I shook my head, decided that I need to get her some sort of ring and do this thing right. After work, with a scant hour and a half before I was expected to be serving her my attempt at curry, I dashed downtown to a jewellery shop and found a suitable gold and diamond finger lingerer. It took me a while because I decided this would be the opportune time to be educated in what all this diamond stuff is about – in Chinese. Thankfully the clerk had a computer hooked up to the net and we could do a lot of rather goofy translating via Babelfish.

The ring is tiny. Really tiny. My The Proposal: Redux didn't change the cold hard fact I had no cold hard cash. But it's something and it gave me the chance to at least do one part that's always in the Proposal For Dummies books… After the curry and a rather muffled appology about the cockamamie way it was brought up the night before, I got down on one knee and for the second time in my life uttered the words "jia gei wo ba."

She said "yes" by the way. Not ten thousand of them, but hell… I only had four candles, and no beach.

41 Responses

  1. Congratulations! We’re really happy for you, knew you’d get round to doing it sometime! Just waiting on our invitations to the wedding now!!

  2. Congratulations and all the best to you two. I wish you both a long life of happiness.

    I guess I didn’t read the Proposal for Dummies book as I asked my girlfriend (wife in less than 2 months) to marry me in our hotel room without a ring. In my defense, though, I had a speech prepared that made her cry.
    The next day we spent shopping for a ring together. And my grilfriend being Chinese probably got us a better deal than I would ever be able to get on my own.

    Again, congratulations to you and Maggie.

  3. Congratulations.

    I have been reading your blog for some time now and wanted to wish you and your fiance all the best for the future, I hope all goes well for you. Make sure that you don’t stop spouting off, its nice to read what someone is thinking.

  4. Congrats! Dan and I wish you both all the best. Falling in love with someone isn’t always geographically convenient. I’m glad you had the courage to stay and figure out your feelings. Cheers!

    I had a good giggle about the proposal story. I don’t know anyone who has the perfect engagement story. They’re all slightly falled, and yet wonderfully romantic in their imperfection…a lot like love itself. Can’t wait to hear your answers to the 100 follow up questions that are on their way…have you set a date?, where are you going to marry?, kids? …and the list goes on and on ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Congrats man..happy to hear the great news.

    Ring shopping in China..ouch! And I thought laowai’s get ripped off buying north fake jackets, can’t imagine what the markup for rings (real or fake!?) would be…

    I look forward to reading ‘Chinese wedding preparation’ stories…haha

  6. I think any girl would ditch the beach and candles for the sincerity and excitement and pure gladness you get across in just one understated blog post. If I can get misty eyed over a strangers life, that I’ve only read about for a couple of weeks since I arrived in the Dalian Kaifaqu and searched for the local laowai, then I’m pretty confident Maggie isnt thinking about either cows or carbon. Congrats to you both

  7. mazel tov!
    Linda & grampa west

    AKA Wu Ming


    Life is to care and yet too a dare

    to confront the things that we fear.

    Not just in being

    but with empathic feeling

    truly seeing the things we are ‘seeing.’

    The dust on a moth’s wing.

    The song that the birds sing

    The joy of discovered things..

    ….with another,

    some other, or why bother?

    Living is in giving and the everyday care

    in our choices and values and things that we share.

    Life is a question of relative values,

    but too,

    a question in courage and of flexible view.

    We leave hopefully as asset

    our life as we lived it

    and, what matters it seems is that we lived loved and dreamed.

    ron/Wu Ming

  8. It’s at times like these (besides the fact that it is past 1am in the morning for you right now) that I wish I had your freakin’ number to call you ๐Ÿ™‚ Congratulations Ryan and Maggie, this makes me so incredibly happy! And to add to this incredible happiness, you are coming back to this lovely area of Niagara I call home in less than three weeks! Yay for Cory’s Wedding ๐Ÿ™‚ Congratulations again…isn’t it lovely!
    Much Love,

  9. Congratulations. I read your blog now and again, but that post was a classic, full of sincerity and meaning.

    Now just to buy the house and pay off the parents?

    Best wishes and the best of luck.

  10. Congratulations man!

    I don’t think I met Maggie before I left Dalian, but from what you write I can tell you’ll be happy together. So many international relationships don’t work out, so it’s great to hear about one that does! So sre you going to stay in China ‘forever’ or not thought that far ahead yet?

    ็ฅไฝ ไปฌ็™ฝๅคดๅˆฐ่€ (may you grow old together!)

  11. Hey Bro,

    congratulations! Both Dana and I are really happy for you (now plurral). We’ll have cold drinks waiting for you when you get here. Send out some Canadian style love to Maggie for us (perhaps waffles and maple syrop… I can hook you up…I have some great connections with a tree).

    5ๆœˆ่œ‚ๅœจๆ‚จ็š„ๅ…ง่คฒๅพžๆœช็™ผ็พไธ€ๅ€‹ๅฎถใ€‚ : P

  12. RYAN! congrats! this was awesome to read. i haven’t been to your blog in bloody ages, what a great first entry to stumble upon. i’m so happy for you. happy that you’ve found happiness. i think this is the most i’ve written the word happy in one paragraph before. haha.

    tres cool ๐Ÿ™‚

    do you still use msn?
    it would be great to chit chat sometime.

  13. “Iโ€™m entirely ashamed that I spelled syrup wrong.”

    To say nothing of pluRRal.
    But then, who’s counting eh?

  14. And if we’re nitpicking… what the hell is “In May the bee never discovers a family in yours underpants. : P” (complete with the use of traditional characters) all about? haha…. I’ll definitely be bringing back some maple syrup when I return to China. You can buy it here but it’s a small little bottle and damn expensive.

  15. ni hao!!!! aw maggieeeeeeeeeeee what have u done girl- do u know what ur lettin urself in for??!!!years of listening to ryans theories of understanding the world and its shit, nodding and smiling-as ryan is simply never proven wrong about anything- oh and worst of all… actually i just sat and thought for a couple of min and cant think of a worst of all, so guess u havent done too bad girl!! seriously wish you both all the very best, know you make each other super happy and will have the most amazing life together.also i seriously demand to be head brides maid and best man, im a woman- good at mutli tasking so i could also be a priest if u need one, just ne important role in the whole affair will do! hows tricks, ne craic over east-apart from the obvious?! look ryan im usin a computer for u!!!! laterz love me xo(maeve aka im baddddd)

  16. Congratulations!! Trust me your proposal was way better than the one I got!! Tell you all about when you get back. But hey, it’s what comes AFTER the proposal that counts. Here we are, 8 years and counting ๐Ÿ™‚ ๐Ÿ™‚ Fern,the kids, and I all wish you a long life of happiness together.

  17. Hi Ryan,

    I hope you and Maggie have a long and happy life together. Got all misty eyed reading your blog!

    Best Wishes for the Future.


  18. Ryan & Maggie



    You should email me and I’ll give you some bad advice, been married twice,now working on #3 and #4 simultaenously.

    I can’t get to Dalian in the near future, but will catch up with you guys this year sometime!


    the Admiral

  19. Hey cuz,

    crazy cool news! can’t wait 2 meet the gal that stole ur heart! best of luck with all future planning; hope 2 c u within the next year or so along our travels, and i suppose ill have 2 better attention to ur site 4 updates! congrats
    -your cuz trish

  20. Hey!!! Congratulations!!! =) I love the sponteneity of this moment (and how well you conveyed that in your post). Very cute pics of Maggie, too! Best of luck from the big guy and me =)

    ~Vanessa and Alan

  21. Ryan! – Jim & I wish you and Maggie all the very best and congratulations on your engagement – We love reading your blog, hope to see you when your’re home….
    Luv Mo & Jim

  22. That’s fantasitc news! Congrats to you both! I think you should consider Australia for the honeymoon, after all how long has it been you’ve been saying you’re coming??? Best wishes again xx

  23. Wow… I just want to say thanks to everyone for the well-wishes. It blows Maggie’s mind that I got 30+ comments wishing us well. It blows Maggie’s mind that people actually read this site though… she wishes to thank you all for listening to me so she might not have to.

    Honestly, it makes me feel all warm and gushy that you all cared so much to post. Of course, that may just be the dodgy xiao long bao I had for dinner. But probably not…

    Thanks guys.

  24. Ron:

    if it makes for your laughing pleasure, I once wrote “special” with a 6 in it. It went in a article that got picked up in every major paper in Canada, and they all missed it.

    Before you ask…yes my life is one big joke.

    Love to all

  25. Sorry this is so late in coming — I feel happy for you both, and enjoyed the pictures. You make a lovely couple. I wish I’d been in Dalian longer and could have gotten to know you both better. Now, it seems you’re coming to Suzhou — right in my neck of the wabe, but I’m off to some other godforsaken place. Sigh. I wish I could remember the Chinese wish for the newly engaged/married, something like “until old white head”, but I can’t, so that’ll have to do.

  26. @6rad: You make me laugh bro.. heard you got the short straw and are picking me up from the airport ๐Ÿ˜‰ cool.

    @Chris: ็ฅไฝ ไปฌ็™ฝๅคดๅˆฐ่€ – You’re fellow ไธŠๆตท็š„่€ๅค– beat you to it about a week ago hehe. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Thanks for the well wishes though… and shh.. that Suzhou thing’s on the downlow.

    God’s not forsaken China… he’s just made it more of a spectator sport.

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