Thank you for being patient with my wanderlust. More on Kansas City later!
As we drove South, I tried to guess where we were headed. At one point, Chris had me convinced that we were driving down to LA to stay with our friend Justin for the weekend. So, I just went along for the ride and was excited to be surprised for my birthday.
But then, early in the evening, we pulled into A HOTEL.
I pretty much freaked out, because, um, a hotel? I was pretty sure that the LAST place I needed to be at was a HOTEL. With my boyfriend. After all that we'd just been through.
Poor Chris then had to convince me that everything was okay, and that I didn't need to freak out... that I just needed to trust him and follow him. He led me up the stairs to a room, then he opened the door and told me sit on the bed and watch TV. Before I knew what happened, he'd told me to WAIT RIGHT THERE AND DON'T MOVE, and then disappeared.
I was shocked. Where was I? Why was I sitting alone in a strange room watching Cartoon Network? Where had my boyfriend disappeared to? Was I on Candid Camera? And, (most importantly) HELLO? Where were all my birthday presents?
Chris came back to get me after about 20 minutes, and he told me to follow him. I followed him up another flight of stairs to another room's door. He was acting strange so I was somewhat wary. He opened the door to this second room, and when I walked in, I could see the whole room had been decorated in streamers and balloons and big signs that said "Happy Birthday, Emery!"
Um, great! An empty hotel room with streamers and a birthday cake on the table! Couldn't we have done this back at, oh I don't know... my house?!
But then, someone jumped out from behind the bathroom door. It was Jesse. I hadn't seen him in a couple of months because he'd moved back to Reno and didn't live in CA anymore. I almost fell over with the shock of seeing him there. He wished me a happy birthday, told me he'd come all that way to be a part of the celebration, and then handed me a big, red puzzle piece.
I couldn't tell what was on the puzzle piece, but I could tell that it was part of a puzzle that had been made out of a large display board. The piece Jesse had handed me looked like it had some of Chris' handwriting on it. It was the first piece of a monster sized love note that Chris had made me.
But where were all the other pieces?
As the night went on, more and more and MORE of my friends showed up at the hotel room door. And every single one of them brought me another piece to my puzzle. By the end of the night, I had a room full of my closest friends, a delicious ice cream cake, and a big, pieced-together love note from Chris. The note told me how much he loved me and wanted to be with me forever. It was really neat to see how he'd brought all the people who'd been a part of our story up to that point together and had them bring a piece of his heart to me in their hands. Totally moving.
I loved every minute of it. We ate cake. We danced. We talked. We laughed. Everything was awesome. I still had NO CLUE that the real surprise was reserved for the following day.
As it got later, and all the girls and I were headed back down to the other room to go to sleep, I was told that the following day we would all be going to Disneyland. I almost died of embarrassment, because for WEEKS I had been teasing Chris about TAKING ME TO DISNEYLAND. And, the whole time, he really was taking me there. I felt like the biggest jerk ever in the history of jerk faces.
The next day, we all got up and got ready and then went to get some breakfast at a place outside of the actual park.
I still had no clue. Am I genius or what? Look at me up there, just sittin' at breakfast in my little green tank top... completely OBLIVIOUS.
After breakfast, we drove to Disneyland- with all of my friends in tow. We had a grand ol' time all morning long at the park. What a great birthday surprise!
One of our pastors happened to be at the park with his whole family, as well, so after lunch, Chris suggested that we meet up with them all in front of the castle. Everyone thought that this was a great idea, including me, so we started to head that way. Chris stopped me and said he had to run back to the car and grab some more cash that he'd forgotten, but that he'd meet us all back in front of the castle in about 20 minutes.
"Okie Dokie!", says I.
We find the little plaza in front of the big white castle, and we meet up with my pastor and his family and everything is hunky dory. We're talking and having a blast and catching up and just killing some time while we wait for Chris.
Still completely CLUE. LESS.
Okay, pause button. I'm totally shaking while I'm writing this. Since my nerves seem to be doing the hula on top of my tummy right now, I'm going to take a break and then come back to finish this in a few minutes.