After more than a dozen years of painful mostly painful, heartbreaking dating experiences, I can't believe I'm writing this...I'm engaged! Yes, I found a man crazy enough to agree to be with me forever. As I write these words I still feel like I'm in a dream. My entire 20s were full of mainly heartbreak. One failed relationship after another where I put all my hope into a man only to have my heart stomped on repeatedly. How bad you ask? In grade 12 my grad date was kicked out of grad leaving me without a date and for that matter, a boyfriend as I dumped his ass the next day and spent the entire weekend bawling in my bed. A few years later I fell quite hard for a guy I used to go to church with who was going through a separation at the time. We spent about half a dozen date sipping wine on Spanish Banks and White Rock. He told me he was falling for me hard, except a week later I came home from a trip to find an email from him saying he was going back to his wife, who he eventually ended up leaving anyways. My heart was crushed.

I dated a guy in Vancouver for a few months before nailing my dream job with Shaw TV. Rather than support me having to move three hours away to Merritt and do long distance for at the most a year, the guy pretty much just stopped calling me. When I was in town and went to his house to ask what the hell was up, he pretty much blamed me for being selfish and moving away and told me to get out. Then, I dated a guy 20 years older when I was in Merritt and I head over heels for. For six months he bought me everything I could ask for and fed me endless beautiful dinners and wine. Only problem was the guy never once said anything remotely close to 'I love you'. When again, I got a promotion with Shaw TV and had a to relocate to Squamish, he told me to take the job and he would follow me as he could get a placement with the Squamish RCMP. I packed up my entire life and left him with the only intention that he would join me in my new home. A week into moving there, he stopped answering my calls. When I called him, he told me he just "couldn't do this." No explanation, no 'I"m sorry'. Nothing. Alas, I have found a man that blows all of those men out of the water. Deryck is not only kind, patient, funny, and the hardest worker I've ever met, he has an insatiable curiosity for life. Not only that, he puts up with all my crazy antics i.e never ending questions, random crying sessions, unstable jobs, and never has he judged me once.They always said, as cliche as it sounds, you know when you know, and it really is true. When it's "love, it's a feeling. You really can't define it, it just is. Deryck just "is." His proposal was adorable. Just before Christmas he came home with this random Costco rug, telling me it was my Christmas present. "You're kidding right?" I said to him. Two years of being with him and this is my reward? A bunch of wool? Anyways Christmas day rolled around, the two of us jumping on the couch to open up our gifts. Or sorry, his gift. Mine was already on the ground. Or so I thought. All of a sudden Deryck handed me this ring-sized box that said 'open first.' My initial reaction was "It's too good to be true." Or was it? We had been together for almost two years, his parents had for some reason insisted on spending the night before at a hotel so we could be "alone together" Christmas morning. Maybe it really is what I think it is! I ripped open the wrapping to find...a chocolate orange.

Alright, this guy is starting to piss me off! Then, can you believe in all my frustration and confusion the guy had the nerve to ask if I wanted to roll out my "special" Costco rug and see how it looks in the living room? Dude, you reeeeeeeally gotta practice your timing! I begrudgingly agreed, this morning couldn't get any weirder, when there in the middle of the now rolled out rug was another little black box. My heart felt weightless and I suddenly couldn't breathe. Oh my god, this is actually happening!

The ring!

Both dressed in our morning house coats Deryck romantically got onto one knee and said something I will remember to my dying date. "Vanessa Lynn Ybarra, I love you. I always have and I always will. Will you marry me??" Insert awkward silence here. I was so lost in the moment, I forgot to answer. "Uh, Vanessa?" Deryck repeated over and over. Finally I yelled "yes"!, and fell into his arms, blearly eyed from all the tears running down my face. I had found my forever. I know, even as I write this I'm aware how cheesy the whole thing sounds, but that's love for you. It's romantic, it's cheesy, it's everything they tell you it's going to be like and more.

Oh but just a word of advice. Don't buy your girlfriend a Kirkland rug for Christmas. Unless there's a big ass ring in it, it's not gonna go over well! - Vanessa xox

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