We spent a lot of time on beaches and enjoying great restaurants, which recharged me to head back to school. There was lots of this:
Now to set the context, you should know that earlier in the spring I had told him that I wanted to get married after graduation in May and that I needed *at least* a year to plan a wedding. Yes, I'm direct. I tell myself that's just one of the reasons he loves me. Despite my bluntness, I wasn't sure the message got through. (To his credit, he's a very smart guy, so I'm not sure why I doubted that.)
So during the whole trip, and in particular that night after a nice meal and this very romantic walk, I kept thinking to myself, "well if my message got through and he's going to do it, this is when it's going to happen."
But oddly, when he bent down to "get his camera" out of his camera bag he'd been carrying all evening and came up with a ring instead, I was shocked. Speechless. And then, "really?!" was all that came out. I just stood there and stared as he was down on one knee waiting for me to respond. Poor guy even had to ask a second time. I said yes through a mixture of tears and laughter at having made him wait.
We decided to keep the news to ourselves for 24 hours to just enjoy the moment. It was a wonderful way to celebrate together, but also so hard to keep my mouth closed! Especially when at breakfast the next morning, my latte appeared with a heart in the foam. Man, that would have made a good Facebook announcement.
I'm getting there. Thanks for your patience...geez.
Fast forward a few weeks, and we're looking at wedding venues in Baltimore, where I'm from. We're in a particularly beautiful venue that I would LOVE to get married in.
As you probably know, one of the tactics many good sales people use (and let me tell you, weddings are all about sales...), is getting to know you and building a relationship so it's harder for you to say no. So of course it came out that I'm getting my MBA at Darden.
After the sales pitch and the proposed prices, the venue owner asks, "how do those numbers look?"
I hesitate for a minute. "Well...they're a little high." I hadn't even meant to go down that path. We discuss numbers a bit and I'm starting to have some success getting them down. She then says, "Well you're in business school, so let me lay out the business. You can appreciate that I need to cover my fixed costs and still make an OK margin. Let me lay out what I need to cover and we can work something out from there."
Now would she have done this with someone who wasn't getting an MBA? Maybe? It did seem like an effective sales strategy to tell someone you were giving them the inside details. But the fact that she called that out really struck me and I've been turning it over in my mind for a while. Before school, I'm not sure I would have had the knowledge and confidence in my ability to handle a negotiation like that. Having to debate my point of view in relatively technical topics day in and day out for the last year seems to have made a difference, certainly in ways I didn't expect. Now if only I had the opportunity to register for Negotiations last year instead of 4th term this year...