Nortina’s Egyptian Travel Diaries (#AtoZChallenge): “J” is for Just Engaged!

A few months before our trip, Brother announced that he was planning to propose to his girlfriend in Egypt. My immediate response was nervous excitement.

Excitement because I love weddings. I love love. I’m a bit of a hopeless romantic if you haven’t noticed from my stories (the nontoxic ones).

Nervousness because I am Big Sis, after all, and I have to make sure Little Bro is actually ready for the big commitment of marriage. There’s no turning back after this. Once you say “I Do,” you can’t change your mind…

Well, I guess you can, but we won’t speak of the “D” word…

When he replied, “This is it. She’s the one,” I said, “Alright, when are you buying the ring?”

Photo by Lukas on

Finding the perfect ring proved to be a challenge. As I said in “Buyer’s Remorse,” Brother is very high-maintenance when it comes to his jewelry selections. He only wants high quality, he can sense a cloudy diamond from a mile away, and he can always tell when a salesman is trying to pull a fast one on him. When he told me what his ring budget was, I nearly choked on my tongue.

“Don’t forget we still have a trip to Egypt to pay for. And there’s also the actual wedding!” I reminded him.

I told my Love about it, and he said, “Wow! Is your brother rich?”

Rich in love, babe. Rich in love.

In the end, he designed the ring himself, because none of the rings in the stores were good enough for his baby.

Does she even know how spoiled she is?

The next order of business was to decide where he would propose. We had booked a hot air balloon excursion, and that seemed like the perfect setting. Promising her the world while showing her the ancient world? It’s giving “A Whole New World” on a magic carpet ride!

Unfortunately, our hot air balloon ride was canceled due to inclement weather.

Mind you, there wasn’t a cloud in the sky!

“What weather?!” we all asked.

Turns out the weather excuse was just a cover. Apparently, Egyptian authorities have been cracking down on balloon rides, as there have been accidents resulting in some tourists’ deaths.

Well, alright. We’ll accept that. We do want to make it to the wedding alive and with all our limbs intact.

So the best next option was Luxor temple. With the way the lights and the fading sun hit the temple monuments at dusk, it was guaranteed to be a magical romantic setting!

Now that when and where were settled, we next had to discuss logistics. Mom was assigned to take photos, and I was assigned the momentous task of filming the actual proposal.

“I don’t trust my phone,” I said. It has limited storage and I’ve already taken over 100 photos, the screen freezes whenever I use it for too long, and the phone will randomly power down, even when it’s not overheating.

“I don’t trust your phone either,” he said flatly, and he gave me a look that said, Using YOUR phone was NEVER part of the plan.

But he has an iPhone, and I’ve been Team Andriod for ten years. I cannot work an iPhone. iPhones, in my opinion, were not made by humans. Whenever an iPhone is in my hand, I feel like a Boomer asking their grandkid to open a PDF. These phones are not user-friendly, and they’re overcomplicated for no reason. I mean, the whole blue bubble vs. green bubble thing. What’s up with that?!

I’ll tell you what it is. Andriod discrimination!

“Have the camera open already, so all I’ll have to do is tap the button,” I told him.

“Make sure you get the right angle and that you’re close enough to hear me but not too close that she realizes what’s happening. Don’t mess this up for me! I’m counting on you,” Brother instructed.

“Gee, that’s a lot of pressure,” I said. My stomach began to twist in knots. My heartbeat quickened its pace. My breathing became shallow.

Hold up, was I the one popping the question or was he?

“Pressure on you?! I still don’t know what I’m gonna say!”

“Yes, let’s focus on that,” I said. Not on my camera skills, not on the audio quality, but on your speech, how you will profess your eternal love, and more importantly, that she will say yes!

When the time came, we were all a little antsy. We were part of a larger tour group, but only I, Mom, and Brother knew about the “true” event of the night. As we walked through the temple complex and listened to our tour guide explain the history of the temple, it grew more and more difficult to hold in our excitement. I think she sensed it too, especially because Brother had a permanent goofy grin on his face, kissed her every ten seconds, and could not say her name without his voice shaking.

We hadn’t yet reached the inner temple sanctuary when he handed me his phone and gave me the nod. Immediately I wanted to scream, “No! Not yet!”

You see, Luxor temple is located right next to a mosque, and when Brother began his proposal speech, it was right in the middle of the Call to Prayer.

We couldn’t hear him!

I guess all that mattered was that she could hear him. And even if she couldn’t, once he dropped to one knee, opened the rose-shaped ring box, and the light inside shined brightly on that diamond, only one word was needed.

She said YES!

Was there really any doubt that she would?

Look at the happy couple! Mashallah!


“A” is for Arrival
“B” is for Buyer’s Remorse
“C” is for Cruisin’ the River Nile
“D” is for Delays, Delays, Delays
“E” is for Empty Tombs
“F” is for Fragrance
“G” is for Great Pyramid of Giza
“H” is for Hatshepsut
“I” is for Island Temple of Philae

This April for the A to Z Challenge, I’m sharing my experience of traveling to Egypt last month. These posts likely won’t be in chronological order, depending on what memory each letter strikes up, but if you’d like to follow me on this journey, subscribe below.

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