05 March 2009

The Engagement-moon - Part 1

Yep, that's right - we got engaged on what most people would consider an extravagant honeymoon in Thailand! Now before you think I'm made of money (which I'm not - remember I was in grad school!!)), I have to tell you a little bit about a profession called: astronomy. No, not astroLOGY, ASTRONOMY. Don't worry if you thought they were one in the same - about 75% of the random people I meet think they are! Alas, Miss Cleo I am not (duh! I'm Miss Bear Cub ;) ).

Anyways, astronomy is a rather small professional community. Add to the fact that there are as many sub-fields in astronomy as there are stars in the sky (hah!), and you find that your "coworkers" live on the other side of the world. Mr. Cubbie and I met in grad school for astronomy, and each of our research fields are completely alien to the other (heehee ;) ).

Every astronomer "works" with their colleagues by phone, email, and the occasional conference. The smaller the sub-field of research, the smaller the group of people researching that aspect of astronomy, and thus - the more remote the conference!!! Hence, THAILAND. And Vietnam too, but we'll get there.

Last year in May was the annual conference on interacting binary stars in Phuket, Thailand. Classes were out, and Mr. Bear Cub had a free plane ticket and lodging for the week of the conference! Basically we paid for one trans-pacific flight, which we found on the cheap-cheap from www.sidestep.com. Two for the price of one! BOO-YAH!!! The flight was by far the most expensive part of the trip. See? Told you I haven't been getting rich off of infomercials (Miss Cleo'd probably sue me anyways, right after she springs back from her own suit!).

We had our plans to go to Thailand all finalized before we even talked about getting married. It was awesome - a few days in Bangkok, a week in Phuket, scuba diving the Similans in Khao Lak, a few days in Hanoi, then a wonderful get-away to the remote town of Sapa at an eco-retreat. This was about February, 2008. Mr. Bear Cub was almost done with his thesis, and was hearing back from potential post-doc employers.

We knew it was highly likely he would get the job he'd wanted in Chile at NOAO, but I hadn't foreseen the extra conversations to come when he was offered the job! Of course I wanted to move to Chile too! I was almost done with my masters, and immediately applied for a job at the neighboring observatory there. Then it struck us. We'd been living together for over a year, and were now moving to another continent together. Was it so obvious that neither of us saw it before? I think we always knew we'd get married. We were already living the married life, very happily. Earlier that year, prompted by another engagement in the family, we discussed getting married. Not so much marriage, as that was really a given at this point. Rather - when we get engaged, when we start planning, that means the wedding is imminent. Neither of us liked the idea of "being engaged" as a symbol of future promise. We understand that for some people this works better (maybe time constrains prove to lengthen an engagement! We're definitely testament to that!) - we wanted the engagement to really start the ball rolling on legal documents.

So here we are, in February. Mr. Cubbie has a job in Chile. We're moving from New Mexico to South America together. I'm applying for a job in Chile. We've talked about getting married. We decide we should get married. There's just one thing missing from there - when does deciding to get married turn into an engagement?

Unfortunately I'm awful to surprise, but I LOVE surprises. Both of us really wanted an "engagement" moment. So we knew we were getting married (or "were engaged" technically), but he was going to ask me formally with a ring and all that jazz sometime soon. Have you ever noticed how talking about spending the rest of your life with the one you love feels like your mind is full of champagne-y fizzy bubbles? It's wonderful. :)

February: the "wait" begins. My birthday is in March, and I was certain I knew how he was going to ask me to marry him...

Did any life changes prompt you and your honey to see what was already so obvious? What was the biggest motivator in your relationship for "the talk"?


  1. Hooray for Chile! I got to spend almost 7 weeks down there a couple years ago. It was fantastic! I didn't go north of Santiago, but I've heard really good thing about that part of the country. I was bummed we didn't make it.
    Congratulations! I think you'll love it down there!

  2. can't wait to hear part two!
    I can't say that I've ever met or heard of a full-time astronomer...:-)