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That’s Amore – Engaged! (Part I of II)

Ash's Ring Plan A (Winter 2010): Place the engagement ring in a clean diaper of my nephew-to-be and tell Ash he needs to be changed. I jokingly ran this one by Ash and she wasn’t buying what I was selling. Contrary to what you may be thinking, this was a serious idea.
Plan B (July 2010): Hire a donkey peasant in Santorini, Greece to tie the ring around the animal’s neck and meet us on a bluff overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. This wouldn’t work because there was no way I would carry such precious cargo in a backpack for months.
Plan C (June 2010): Incorporate Ashley’s five siblings and parents in a hands-on moment near the island of Capri on Italy’s Almalfi Coast. Bingo was his Name-o.

After perusing thousands of photos, no joke, I settled on eight that told our story while exemplifying one of Ashley’s traits that I adore. While Ash was having her blond locks sheared, I snuck away to have a strange man at a Hong Kong Kodak film shop print 4×6 copies and cut them to the proper size. Then on three early mornings in Dubai, I penned the inscriptions below on the back of each photo. Aboard a private thirty-three foot pleasure boat made in Sorrento, we approached Capri’s Tunnel of Love (cheesy, I know). Next, the Captain’s First Mate revealed a basket with colored envelopes containing the photos and sea shells disguising the ring box.

One by one, each Miller opened their personalized envelope, displayed the photo, then read the printed text. Here are the photos and the corresponding inscription.

1) Falling in Love – Reader: Kiley (oldest sister) – Photo dated: July 31, 2009

Falling in LoveThis picture is from the British Virgin Islands. We may have met in Chicago, but the moment I fell in love with Ashley Elizabeth Miller was on February 17, 2008 aboard the ferry from Tortola to St. Thomas. Through all the mayhem of that listing ship, my feelings for you were steadfast. My heart and life became entwined with you and you alone. Like most things I enjoy in life, I have given you 100% of me since that moment and you have returned that love in an incredible fashion. My love for you will never end.

2) Overcoming Fears – Reader: Remington (middle brother) – Photo dated: January 17, 2010

Overcome FearsOne thing I truly admire about you is your willingness to overcome your fears. This picture from our extraordinary night dive on the Great Barrier Reef exemplifies your desire to confront things that make you sweat. It took some real soul searching for you to jump into the black abyss with sharks, but you did it! Your #1 fear of scuba diving, while it continues to test you, is just one example. New Zealand’s tallest bungee jump, stinky tofu, and downright horrifying guesthouses are others. We will confront and discover new fears and trials in the years ahead, but I am confident in our ability to triumph together.

3) Beautiful In Every Way – Reader: Bailee (youngest sister) – Photo dated: April 23, 2010

Beautiful in Every WayOuch. This picture after our moto crash in Laos may not show off your beautiful face, per se. But what it does show is that your beauty encompasses your whole self, not just your exquisite exterior. Your loyalty to friends, fierce defense of your family’s well being, and your selflessness are among the things that make you beautiful. In my heart, mind, and eyes, there couldn’t be a prettier girl. I find myself being taken aback by your beauty at the strangest of times: bleary eyed after a transcontinental flight, bamboo rafting, or hiking in Patagonia.

4) Common Interests – Reader: Braden (oldest brother) – Photo dated: August 31, 2009

Things in CommonThis is the very first picture taken by us on foreign soil during our Round The World jouney. The Lima International Airport, taken on August 31, 2009. The list of interests we share are too long to list, but sushi, travel, and adventure come to mind. I couldn’t think of a better person to share the experiences we have had around the world. But our differences are what make our relationship strong and lasting. You can educate me on fashion, pen all notes, and urge me to sleep more. I will take care of details, push the envelope of fun, and annoy you about the Reds and Bengals. The Jayhawks versus Hoosiers argument could be the only divider.

5) Values & Family Fusing – Reader: Cathy (mother) – Photo dated: July 30, 2009

Importance of FamilyOur folks are going to love this picture from the life sized Jenga game. You and I would be a great tandem alone. But we are far from being solo. We are both blessed with caring, giving, and loving families. And oh, the future is bright, what with the way our families already interact. Underlying all this is the fact we share the same values. Family is #1 to both of us and that will never change. Your excitement about Jeff and Kim’s first child is palpable. And I find myself grilling you with questions about your extended family, siblings, and parents. Both of these examples exhibit how we each care for each other’s family.

6) Chicago and Great Times Together – Reader: Brad (father) – Photo dated: Autumn 2009

Having Fun in ChitownAh, the Windy City. Where it all began. This picture was chosen because it features many things, including Jacalu, our mutual and dear friend whom, in a roundabout way, introduced us to each other. Also featured in the picture is the fact that I have so much darn fun with you. Be it the Recession Pub Crawl, a cheap bottle of red coupled with a terrible romantic comedy of your choosing, or hiking SouthWest China’s Tiger Leaping Gorge. Knowing that you and I can laugh with each other and at ourselves / odd situations makes the future alluring.

7) Future Family – Reader: Bryce (youngest brother) – Photo dated: December 12, 2009

Future FamilyHow many times have we talked about a return visit to New Zealand? But the next visit will be with our own young family. This picture of Bazils at Lake Moke reminds me of our #1 goal for the future together. That is to raise a beautiful family of our own. Three kisses for three healthy babies, that is how we go to bed each night. I would be honored if some day in the future you are the Mother of my children. And what a great mother you will be! I am thankful to have met someone who shares the same ultimate life goal.

8 ) Big Heart – Reader: Ashley (bride-to-be) – Photo dated: April 3, 2010

BIG HeartNala, the thing I love about you the most is your BIG heart. Your love rubs off on everyone, even orphaned Cambodian children as seen with Poun’s sincere embrace. Even while you were getting your cheek stitched up in Laos, your heart was with the grieving people that lost their family member. This picture couldn’t do a better job describing your big heart. If your friends and family could only know how much you truly care for them, they would blush for eternity. You say sometimes that you love people so much it nearly hurts. I don’t doubt that with your big heart. And I know your love for me is unconditional. Please know that mine is too.

Part II of II shall paint the moment in more detail, including the climatic proposal in video. Thanks to all our dear friends and family that have wished us well. Now it is my job to keep Ashley focused on train schedules, hostel bookings, etc. and not on bouquets, seasonal colors, and table arrangements. That ought to keep me busy.

- Greg and Ash

Learn From Our Footsteps:

1) Planning the logistics of this engagement took a monumental effort. From creating a custom ring while continents away to finding the perfect venue for the occasion. But all that work is certainly worth it for the one you love.

  • Emily Blinn

    I love it!!! So happy for you guys! What a creative and thoughtful proposal! Very impressed!

  • Nina55

    Wonderful story Greg, and you are right her heart and unselfish ways why we all love Ashley so darn much. You will have to take extra special care of her, she is an extra special person! Good Luck on getting her focused on the next few weeks of travel?!?!? Just let her know that as soon as the date and place is set the rest is easier to put together when you are both home. Don't stress Ash……xoxox

  • Kimconnell

    It is really fun reading about your proposal.. I was with Kiley this weekend and she was telling us about it. You could tell how excited she is for both of you. What a tropper she was to go out and party late with us when I know she had to be exhausted. Ashley you have to sometimes feel like your living a dream. A wonderful one at that….CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!!

  • fofs

    Kim, Thank you for the sweet comment. Greg did such a great job with the proposal and we thought it was only appropriate to put it up on our blog. Thank you again for reading our blog.

    Ashley & Greg

  • fofs

    Oh Nina…you are too sweet! So far all my focus has been centered on the wedding. Not easy to plan for foreign land. That is why Greg whisked me off to Tuscany to do what I love the most….wine tasting! This see if this works…I love you very much!!

    Ashley & Greg

  • fofs

    Thank you Emily! He did such an amazing job. I am a nosey person and I am still puzzled that I didn't have a clue.

  • Jkdietz

    Ok I cry when I read this..Oh my god! Too amazing! Can't wait to see you soon…just a couple of months now!
    Kim and Jeff

  • Kelsey

    Congrats to both of you!!!! What a beautiful proposal!! Ashley I lost your email address, can you send it to me again? kelscrowley@gmail.com

  • fofs

    Kelsey – Thanks for the congratulations! We are both thrilled for the next chapter in our lives. I sent along my email… can't wait to hear what you decided to do…. come on Argentina!!!

    - Ash & Greg

  • fofs

    Kim & Jeff – We can't wait to get to the Nasty Nati in time to see you (Kim) pregnant and then shortly later grow the Dietz fam!

    Love,
    Greg & Ash

  • fofs

    Kelsey – Thanks for the congratulations! We are both thrilled for the next chapter in our lives. I sent along my email… can't wait to hear what you decided to do…. come on Argentina!!!

    - Ash & Greg

  • fofs

    Kim & Jeff – We can't wait to get to the Nasty Nati in time to see you (Kim) pregnant and then shortly later grow the Dietz fam!

    Love,
    Greg & Ash

  • http://beachmalta.com/ mariella

    Woww!! This post left me quite speechless, you must be one lucky girl :) congrats

  • fofs

    Mariella – Ashley is one lucky girl and ought to count her blessings each day she found yours truly! I think the engagement moment left us both speechless.

    - Greg

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