Sunday, Oct. 31
Yesterday, while the rest of the world was preparing for Halloween, Matt Bateman was wheeling loads of wood to the edge of our farmhouse property in Le Marche, Italy.
I was sentenced to an afternoon inside, updating our blog and sorting through our pictures from Rome. We took about 1,700 too many, so it was a long process.
Being the nosey journalist that I am, I popped my head outside to see what Matt was up to.
He was working in the field – picture perfect, so I ran inside to get my camera.
(This is the reason I have to spend all day sorting through photos.)
When Matt saw me, he was less than impressed.
I obviously spotted something I wasn’t supposed to.
He had been building a table on the edge of the grass, which runs into a sunflower field (it’s winter now, so the field is brown).
I was immediately ushered back inside.
Figuring something romantic was in the works, I decided to quickly do my hair by dousing it in mousse. It was dirty enough that it curled right away.
Assuming we were eating dinner outside, I layered up – it gets incredibly cold at night.
I wore my finest – two layers of tights, my gardening sweat pants, a North Face fleece, my gardening sweater and an oversized blue fleece.
With two pairs of socks on, I threw on some gumboots. They were on the wrong feet, but I didn’t care.
Matt filled a kitchen pot with chicken stir-fry and we set off down the hill.
The table he had assembled was built with an old door he found in the shed. A shutter served as the bench. The table was set with plates, cups and a beer bottle filled with wild flowers.
There was even a fire pit.
We sat down and Matt pulled a bottle of Italian Merlot from under the bench. There was a slug crawling up the side, but it was still delicious.
As the sun was setting, we talked about how hard we’ve worked to get where we are. All those months of long hours and the times Matt worked away were finally worth it.
The three medieval villages were starting to light up, signaling that it was time to light the fire.
Matt got down in the dirt and fanned the flames.
He pulled out his pack of Montecristo cigars he bought in Rome. Perfect night for a cigar.
I looked away, looked back, and he was on his knee.
I thought he had dropped one.
“Ashley – I know this ring is broken. But our love…”
I don’t think he even made it that far before I started the ugly cry.
Thank goodness for my layers of fleece – snot and tears were everywhere.
When he was done his bit, which went something like this: “Some things in life are bound to break – but our love never will,” I said something to the affect of, “Yes, absolutely, I do, of course.”
I didn’t know the protocol, so I listed them all.
“God – that was easier in the shower,” he said, joking but relieved.
The evening was perfect and so is my ring.
I picked it out in Istanbul at the bazaar (there might even be a picture of us in the shop in an earlier blog post). It’s a tiny piece of antique coral, wrapped in a silver band.
While in Greece, Matt found a piece of rough turquoise that we’re going to add in the future.
Unfortunately, the ring broke about a week after we bought it.
Thankfully, Matt is very handy with super glue and pliers, so, at the moment, it’s in one piece.
I guess that’s what happens when I insist we should only spend 45 Turkish Lira on an engagement ring – the equivalent of 32 Canadian dollars.
But – I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I always told Matt we should save the money from a ring and put it towards travelling and making new memories.
I think this was the perfect start.