The journey to their proposal as told by Hollie – unaware that she was soon to be engaged.
Like many couples we met at work
It all started very innocently as friends and co-workers and at the time I had a 2 year old son Tyler and was flatting with friends. Chade, in turn was flatting with his own friends.
On a night out, Chade surprised me with a kiss and I replied with what I considered a mature and responsible approach “we work together and are friends – this can’t happen”.
Some days after my son and I went on Easter holiday to Australia to my home town of Moruya, NSW to see my Dad, step Mum and family. The distance and the time away did me the world of good, it gave me some perspective and afforded me time to reflect, and it dawned on me that I did have feelings for Chade and little did I know, he was back in Auckland feeling the same.
Romance starts to blossom
When we returned from holiday the relationship blossomed and we quickly moved from one relationship milestone to the next and a quick six months on Tyler, Chade and I were living together as a happy and tight family unit.
To begin with, we hid our new set-up from our work colleagues. Chade and I work with what are possibly Auckland’s most inquisitive, persistent and determined bunch of people who quickly put steps in place to catch us out, so we fessed up. Most say it was the worst kept secret out.
From the moment we decided to move in together we have been a great little family. Tyler (7) and Chade have a great relationship, and our family has grown to now include Reagan (2).
The moment of truth
Christmas 2012 was fast approaching, and I noticed that the Manchester United game was going to be held in Sydney the following July.
Chade is a big Man U fan so I thought this would be the perfect gift for Christmas.
I contacted my dad in Australia and asked if he and my step mum Wendy would like to come but they had to keep it a secret until Christmas. I managed to secure the tickets before they sold out in record time. Thinking I had the best present ever I was pretty stoked with myself. Chade heard the tickets had sold out and put himself on the waiting list for the next release not knowing I already had tickets.
Like most working households the weeks leading up to Christmas are a little stressful and on Wednesday 19 December I get a txt from Chade while I was at work saying “do you want to go to dinner, can ask mum to have the kids.”
Got home after work, asked Chade where we were going, he said he hadn’t planned anything so I got into casual clothes and walked out. It was nice weather and Chade walked out, clutching a massive winter coat, I said to him “what are you thinking”, he replied “it might get cold”…
I thought it a bit random but didn’t really think anymore about it. We got in the car and ever the practical mum with a long Christmas to-do list and little time I said “since the kids are away, shall we just go finish the Christmas shopping and grab something to eat at the mall” Chade said “no, we are going out”. I sighed and said fine – let’s go then.
We ended up driving to Mission Bay, along the waterfront in Auckland. Got stuck in traffic and I started to complain again and Chade kept saying we are going to dinner and that’s it.
Nerves really kicking in now
We sat down at a Mexican restaurant and Chade started to get restless and drinking his beer extremely fast and then a glass of water. I still said nothing thinking he must have had a hard day at work. Our food came out and he ate hardly a bite. Now this was getting weird. I said shall we skip dessert and go. Chade agreed, paid the bill and we went to walk to the car.
Chade started to steer me in the opposite direction of the car. I said “what are you doing, I thought we were going” Chade said “let’s just sit here in front of the water.”
The beach was packed with people – it always is. So we just sat there, all I was thinking about was maybe we have enough time to pop into the shops on the way home.
I was watching a group of people play beach football when I turned to Chade to say what fun it looked when I noticed he had a really weird expression on his face. He was clearing his throat loudly and breathing quickly. That was it I just said “what is wrong with you”?
Chade grinned and said “I know it’s not Christmas yet but I have a gift for you” whilst pulling and tugging at the massive winter coat pocket and finally taking out a non-descript jewellery box.
I said, “why don’t we wait until Christmas”, he said no.
And here it is… the proposal
So I started to open it. It was a large box so still didn’t realise what was happening. Opened the first box and there was another inside…..this was a smaller box the size of a ring box. I remember at the time thinking “surely not, it’s not…” then as I lifted the lid to the most amazing ring Chade said with tears in his eyes “will you spend the rest of your life with me?”
At this point it was like we were the only people on the beach. I think I just hugged him with tears…I don’t even think I said yes…terrible now that I look back on it! We put the ring on and just giggled. Looked around and everyone was busy doing their own thing.
I was walking on clouds….and wanted to tell the world. Little did I know that some parts of my “world” already knew.
Chade had called my Dad two weeks before to ask for my hand in marriage – around the same time I was calling Dad about the tickets to the Manchester game. Dad knew everything happening that Christmas!
Then Chade, when selecting the ring sent two pictures to one of my really good friend’s to pick the right one, so she knew about it.
The ring was stored at Chade’s parent’s house so they knew about it. The list kept growing, and some of our work colleagues knew as he was asking for “beautiful spots” in Auckland and as I described them earlier – inquisitive, so they inevitably put two and two together.
The beauty of our proposal story is that it is unique to us; it is a memory of intimacy, of love and openness that we will cherish forever and even better, there’s humour thrown in too.
To think, here I was trying to go to the mall while Chade was packing it with nerves.
We still laugh about that day together and about how hard I made it for him, talk about a difficult woman to propose to.