On January 30th, 2010, the forecast of a "light dusting" of snow began falling heavily. It was at this point that the National Zoo, in Washington, DC, decided it was necessary to close early. The impending storm threatened the farewell celebration for Tai Shan the panda.
Mike and I first visited the National Zoo just weeks after our move to DC, on the day that Tai Shan was born. We became attached to the little cub and visited him on our jaunts through the park. Then on the day of his sendoff party, marking the end of the sweet panda's time in DC, Mike decided to ask me to spend the rest of our lives together.
Mike contacted the Zoo earlier (unbeknown to me!), to see if they could help him out by placing a sign in the habitat or something along those lines. For the bear's safety, they were unable to complete that request - but offered instead local media coverage, who were there to report on the celebration anyways. As the Zoo announced its early closure, The Washington Post report thankfully called Mike to inform him of this. (Picture me wondering who Mike was talking to on the phone and yelling at him at the same time, "Are we going or what?") Mike was able to convince me to leave the house early and trek over to our favorite spot in the zoo, despite the bad weather. After all, this would be our last chance to see Tai Shan.
Once we finally found parking (special thanks to Diana and Karl for driving and going along with the plan!) and squeezed past security closing the park gates, Mike wandered off at the habitat. I happily continued to shoot picturesque photographs of my favorite panda, sleeping in the snow. Our friends that accompanied us on this adventure seemed to disappear, as well. (It was at this point that Kathryn and Eric were escorted in by the Zoo Chief of Police. This confused me, a lot. Apparently Kathryn told him of the goings-on and he lead them in, but told Kat she would be arrested if she was not telling the truth!!!)
After Mike shuffled around a bit, the Washington Post reporter with a camcorder kept bumping into me, and the Chief of Zoo Police told Mike he better hurry up, the plans finally came to fruition.
|Tai-Shan sleeps peacefully under a blanket of snow|
It was then that Mike pulled me over to an area where the snow was falling lightly on our shoulders. He announced he had a special question for me, since they were here to mark the occasion of Tai Shan's departure. He got down on one knee, while The Washington Post reporters began filming, and asked me to marry him. (Actually, I had to ask Mike what that special question was... we'll let it slide since he was so nervous!) Shocked and thrilled, I said, "Yes!" and hugged and kissed Mike. Our friends in attendance all cheered, as well as everyone else there. It was a great way to mark the end of a time period for Tai Shan - with the beginning of another for us!
Click on the link above to see the video footage of our proposal!