The other side of the proposal

The other side of the proposal

We’re engaged! I asked my fiancé (ooh-lala!) to write up his side of the proposal story, and I’m sharing unedited photos and video clips from my iPhone camera roll (these were actually for instagram but oops). This day was pure bliss. I’m so in love.

May 24, 2019

It was a beautiful day following a beautiful week preceded by 2 weeks of rain, stomach flu, and weekend work. I was feeling good and was especially excited for this weekend; it was our 5 year anniversary, and I had big plans.

I’d known that I was going to marry Relli for the last year or so, and many people in my life were starting to ask, “well are ya gonna do it or what??”

I’d asked Relli’s dad Noni at the end of April if I could marry his beautiful daughter, and he told me “Yes! We’ve been waiting for this day! We love you Ian”. I had been meaning to ask her all month, but every weekend something unanticipated seemed to come up. 

Relli and I weren’t sure what we wanted to do for our anniversary, but we knew we wanted to do something special. On Thursday she asked me if I’d like to go camping up on Alava. This had been on our list for awhile, and I thought, “damn if this weather holds and nothing crazy happens, this could be perfect”. I didn’t want to put too much pressure on myself, or force the moment, so I told myself that I’d just bring the ring, and if it seemed right I’d pop the question. 


We got early release for Memorial Day, so I brought the ring with me from the Park office where I’d been stashing it for way too long, and sat in the Sanctuary parking lot looking at it while I waited for Relli to get off. 

When we got home, the tide was high and the water was glimmering, and we were both freakin roasting so we jumped in for what we thought would be a quick dip. An hour later we realized we should really get this show on the road if we still wanted to do this hike and make it in time for sunset!

We hastily packed our camping stuff, a ton of water, a water bowl for Yodi, and a little bit of food. We wanted to grab a quick bite to eat at Henrys Diner before the hike, but realized we were running super late so we settled for McDonalds. As soon as we got through the drive-through we both realized that was a terrible idea that we were definitely going to pay for on the hike up. Nothing like speed hiking on a hot day with a belly full of fried food!

The hike started a bit rough, but as soon as I sweat off the fried food, the hike stayed rough. It was freakin hot and the way the sun was setting we didn’t get a whole lot of shade. We did get some epic views of Upolu and Savaii on the way up, and Yodi seemed to be enjoying herself immensely, so that was nice. 

The whole way up, I kept thinking about how I would propose if this didn’t work out. Maybe I’d do it for sunrise? Or maybe a sunset SUP, or SCUBA dive? Every time I started to think too much about it, I’d just try and focus on the hike so I didn’t start stressing. 

At one point I got a glimpse of what I thought was the radio tower, but I now think might have been a bare tree. I excitedly informed Relli that we were almost there. Thirty minutes later when we still weren’t there I tried not think about how she might be feeling about my idiocy. 

At long last we made it to the top. And just in time for a super epic sunset! I knew this had to be the moment. I wanted to film the whole thing with our drone (we were outside of Park boundaries), but we were cutting it so close I didn’t want to risk ruining the moment. 

I was the first one up to the lookout point, and I hastily got the ring out of my bag and put it in my pocket. I was super paranoid about it falling out and kept feeling my back pocket to make sure it was there. Relli started taking a bunch of photos and seemed super happy so I knew this was gonna be it. I brought the ring out and then she asked me to bring Yodi up so I kept the ring in my hand as stealthily as I could and picked Yodi up onto the platform. Relli was facing the other direction taking a photo and I got down on one knee and very quietly asked her if she’d like to marry me. 

She left me on one knee for a solid minute as she acted very surprised, but didn’t say yes right away! She eventually said yes, and I got up and gave her the ring. She informed me that I was supposed to put it on for her, so I did that as well. 

I was super relieved she said yes, and was happy that I pulled of a pretty epic proposal moment. She was also super surprised which I’ve gotta give myself a little pat on the back for. 

We spent the rest of the night talking, playing with Yodi, and cuddling. We did end up getting a little rain during the night, but it was all worth it. I’d do that hike again a thousand more times to experience that feeling when she said yes just one more time.

Did I say a thousand?? Ok maybe 100….


May 24, 2019 ended up being one of the best days of my life.

Thank you Relli for an incredible 5 years.

Looking forward to spending my life with you. 

Waking up at Mt. Alava (ENGAGED!)

Waking up at Mt. Alava (ENGAGED!)

A bright and glorious morning up at Mt. Alava in photos.

From the night before (not pictured)… We set up camp on the platform. Ian sang me a song. We watched the stars. Cuddled with Yodi pup. Reminisced on the last four years together. Talked about many more. Stared at my finger adorned. Felt the cool mist get colder. Moved our tent to the fale. I whined about the mozzies. Ian emptied the tent to clear them. And read until I fell asleep.

WE’RE ENGAGED!! – The Proposal Story

WE’RE ENGAGED!! – The Proposal Story

Ok so it happened!

It happened!!!

Ian proposed and I said yes!!!

We’re engaged!!!

So many exclamation points. I’m sorry (not sorry).

Wow. How crazy.

Ian loves Nerelle, and Nerelle loves Ian.


It happened just as the sun was setting on Friday, May 24th… A day, I’ll never forget.
And so that I won’t ever forget, here’s a photo journal entry with my account of that very special day for me.


May 25th is our anniversary date. It’s the date we mark on our calendars to celebrate the actual first date we went on–he asked me out the day before (on May 24!!!) during a party bus and the very next day we went to the movies and ate chinese food at Jade Restaurant because it was the only place open on a Sunday–and we’ve been together ever since.  This year makes it five years together.

We try to celebrate our anniversary in some fun memorable way — we’ve traveled for anniversaries, relived our first date, and have gone on some fun island adventures. This year has been busy all the way around so we didn’t plan anything in particular. Ian asked what I wanted to do, and I said I wanted to go on a hike or go camping or do something on the water. We checked the weather – clear skies – and decided we’d hike up to Mt. Alava after work on Friday and camp up there.

We got off work a couple hours early, a perfect way to start off the Memorial Day long weekend. We headed home to pack our minimal camping gear but the beach was calling me, so we jumped in and lazed around for half an hour. Took quick showers, piled our backpacks and Yodi into the truck, and realized we hadn’t eaten any lunch/dinner yet. We were running a bit late if we wanted to summit the peak by sunset, so we hastily made the decision to get McDonald’s drive thru, knowing full well we would probably regret this on the uphill hike. We stuffed our faces on the drive up Pago and parked in the near empty dirt lot and started our ascent.

It was a nice hike – though I did struggle like always with my heavy backpack. And almost two hours later, we finally reached the antennas and stopped for a moment to look back and admire the sunset colors splayed over the entire horizon. Ian’s face looked of wonder and wander.

We got up to the platform and the last lights of the day were slipping away. I pulled my camera out of my pack and tried to snap the glorious view of Matafao peak and Rainmaker mountain in front of the evening ombre. Ian helped Yodi up onto the platform and (I didn’t even notice) got up on the platform too. I was still taking photos when Ian said something like, “I was going to fly the drone, but…” and I think I cut him off with my eyes still locked into my camera’s viewfinder and responded with something like, “That’s ok the sun’s already setting” and I snapped this photo of Rainmaker. And then…


I turned back to look at him

and that’s when I saw him

on his knee

holding up a ring to me

with the sunset making lines in the sky behind him

and he said almost inaudibly and with the shyest smile,


“Will you marry me?”


I had no idea what was going on. I was like, huh? I actually said that out loud too – “wait, what?” and “really?” and I was genuinely caught off guard and had no clue what he was asking me nor what I was supposed to do. I looked at his face trying to understand what was happening, and then all my senses suddenly came alive and I knew what I had to do. Say yes, dummy! I kissed him hard and his nervous smile was replaced with a handsome beam, and then finally I said:


He got up, and we hugged and he gave me the ring and I was like, “you’re supposed to put it on for me!” then he slipped it onto my finger — that’s what makes it official, right? A ring on my finger? — And I finally got a proper look at it. It is sooo beautiful. I’m staring at it again now actually as I type this up. He told me the meaning behind the ring’s design and how it’s like our relationship. And I swear, it’s perfect for me. He’s perfect for me.