Racing against time: aviation professional embarks on romantic challenge

My Covid story goes back to the first quarantine in March-April 2020. Me and Dominyka, my girlfriend at the time, made an arrangement ‒ I had to propose to her until February 14, 2021. Otherwise, she would be the one proposing to me and as a gentleman I couldn’t let it happen.

I wanted the proposal ring to be special. Instead of „three months-worth of salary“, I wanted it to be made with love.  I knew beforehand that my engagement ring would have an amber instead of a diamond. Amber has a lot of meaning to me, because it is a locally found treasure, sometimes even called Lithuanian gold. In August, we had a chance to travel to the seaside in Latvia, where we found some pieces of amber ashore.

From this point on, things get difficult.

Once the stone – amber – was ready, time came for making the ring. Dominyka’s younger sister is a jeweler and I wanted her to make the ring. The only problem was – she had moved to live in Australia a few years ago. By the end of August, most of the countries within the EU started closing the borders for the second time and lithuanian post offered no delivery service to Australia.

Luckily, my friend was going to the UK from Vilnius and the UK has quite a close postal connection with Australia. I gave the amber to my friend, who went to the UK and sent it to Australia via royal mail.

It took 5 weeks for the amber to reach Australia, but eventually it arrived and everything was set. The jeweler had the precious stone, I had already briefed her on the idea and a deadline. I wanted to have the ring back by December, so I could propose on Christmas.

Anyways, the production got delayed and then we changed the design a little bit.

We were slowly moving forward, December came. There were only a couple of days worth of work left and I was starting to look for a way to get the ring back to Lithuania. The Covid pandemic that month was soaring all over the world and Australia was all locked-up. The Christmas season didn’t help the matter either.

DHL, DPD, UPS, and other delivery companies could not provide me with any delivery deadlines and with the local Australia post taking 5-8 weeks to deliver, I was out of options. The December proposal became impossible.

I decided to contact an air cargo company with a branch in Melbourne. I asked if they had a flight to anywhere in Europe and if it was possible to deliver the ring. I thought that once the ring was in Europe, I would find a person who can help me get it back to Lithuania. Unfortunately, the description of the situation I got back was: “Australia is locked up. Nobody goes in, nobody goes out”.

They found a delivery company who was willing to take up my request but their delivery costs, at roughly 900 dollars for just the delivery, were way out of my budget. I had to keep looking for other options. Coincidentally, the production of the ring got delayed again and I got a confirmation that the ring would be finished on December 30th. Deadline was rapidly coming up.

There was no progress with any kind of delivery and at that point I was thinking “okay, I’ll just take the seafreight and whenever it arrives, I’ll propose then”. A couple weeks later,  I found out that the company I was working for had a business deal with DHL and they offered extremely good terms: €30 delivery, 4-5 days and it is here. Of course I took it.

The customs had one last challenge for me. The ring was handmade, not intended for commercial use and not even bought commercially. We ordered it as a company, so the customs asked for proof of value. I had to prove to them that I was taking the item as a personal subject, not a business.

Finally, Valentine’s day came and so ended the deadline. It was February 14th, the ring was already delivered to our company’s headquarters. On the morning of the snowy Sunday, I took back my ring, but I didn’t want my proposal day to happen on this day.

When Dominyka woke up next morning thinking that I couldn‘t keep my promise, I told her I‘ll make the best breakfast in her life. The recipe was easy: a couple of croissants, maple-syrup coffee, a piece of cake, and a proposal speech. The rest is history, as they say.

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