It was a special night in Siena a few years ago. Proof that saying yes is the gateway to adventures. The first part of the evening made that I became a karaoke DJ at an Italian graduation party. But that was only part of the story. The second part of the evening was even more remarkable. It was the moment I realised I wanted to marry Marieke. So this is the story how I knew I wanted to marry her.

A small word on her

Marieke at The Jane in Antwerp
Marieke at The Jane in Antwerp

Her is Marieke. Marieke is the best that could happen to me.

Marieke is more quiet than me. She will calm me down and she puts me with my feet back on the ground. She knows me well enough to allow me to do my multi-day hikes in Iceland, Jordan, the Arctic Circle or the Kilimanjaro and she is .

On the other hand she is way more outgoing and social than I am. She gets in contact with random people even more easily than I do (a true omakase traveler in that way). And this night would prove that again.

Back to the night I knew I wanted to marry her

So, Robb and I had ended up DJ-ing for a group of Italian graduation students because the bar didn’t have karaoke songs and Robb had brought 20GB of karaoke songs on his romantic holiday to Italy.

Marieke was enjoying the evening as well. Stealing the Italian laurel head wreaths and most importantly -from time to time- the microphone. The things you do when you’re on holiday, you’re enjoying yourself and you had one drink too much. We all had a blast.

As the evening continued and the alcohol kept flowing, Marieke would come to Robb and me ever more often to request songs. Especially one requests kept coming back: “I gotta feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas.

I gotta feeling

Robb had 20GB of karaoke songs, but “I gotta feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas was unfortunately not one of them. We had everything from Sinatra to Beatles and from Britney Spears to English folk songs. But no Black Eyed Peas.

But Marieke, clearly into dancing on Black Eyed Peas, kept coming back. At first, it was amusing. But the 10th time, it became a bit of annoying. Annoying for us, but I couldn’t blame her. Marieke had the time of her life and just wanted one song. Her song. “I gotta feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas.

So, Marieke – persistant as she is – kept pushing Robb and me for the song.

Graduation party in Siena
Graduation party in Siena

This went on until the moment she was standing on the other side of the bar shouting through the microphone “als je nu geen Black Eyed Peas draait krijg je nooit meer seks” to follow up with the literal English translation “if you don’t play Black Eyed Peas, you’re never going to get any sex”.

It had now gone from slightly annoying to just embarrassing. There certainly was no way I was going to pick a fight with Marieke over the microphone with a bar full of Italians. Especially when it was about something I couldn’t change anyway.

I tried to reason with Marieke, but it didn’t work. No rational, boring one-time karaoke DJ can reason with a girl who’s just having the time of her life.

Half of me couldn’t blame her. That half was jealous of her social skills, how outgoing she was, how amazingly free and liberated she was enjoying herself in the bar. The other half was embarrased. It was both the best of Marieke and the worst of Marieke and in that sense, the best of me and the worst of me.

Clarity of mind

Fast forward a few hours. We were close to the end of the evening. Italians were going home, the bar was closing. We were heading home.

Marieke was too drunk to walk. She had taken off her shoes on the Italian cobble stones, had lost her earrings (I had found them back) and I was now keeping her upright on our way to the hotel. I guess the way amazing nights end.

In our way out of the bar, I had the clarity of mind to ask the bar owner if I could have one of the red roses he had in a vase on the bar. As Robb and I had saved the evening, he was more than happy to grant me this.

So there I was, with a woman who clearly drank too much, who I had just given a red rose she could hardly bother to carry. Who picked a fight with me, embarassing me for a full bar of Italians.

And the only thing I could think of was: I love her so much. The warm, heart warming feeling of loving someone so much it hurts. I knew she was going to be my wife.

So, what was the night that you knew you wanted to marry her?

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