Will Enger, a Tabor graduate and now an admissions counselor, and Jesica Brucks, a current student, began dating in summer 2006. Enger had just graduated, and Brucks was entering her sophomore year.
That December, they began to talk about marriage—and Will began to think about proposal ideas.
“At that time I started thinking about different ways to propose because it was just something I wanted to think about,” Enger said.
It was last spring that an idea began to take shape.
“Last spring, (Jesica) started talking about Europe, and I started thinking—it was just a random idea—what if you flew out to Paris and surprised her in Europe,” Enger said.
After Brucks decided to participate in the January interterm trip to Europe, Enger began to set his plan in motion.
In the fall, Enger spoke with the professor in charge of the trip, Richard Kyle, and asked if he could meet with the group to surprise Brucks—although the engagement remained a surprise.
“I worked it out with Doc Kyle,” Enger said. “He had no idea I was going to propose to Jesica, but I just made sure it was OK that I came out and surprised her. And he said, ‘Yeah, that will be fine.’”
What was supposed to be a one-day trip to Paris turned into a four-day stay after Kyle encouraged Enger to remain in Paris with the Tabor group.
“I was originally going to come out just for one day, but (Kyle) said, ‘Why don’t you stay the whole time’ in Paris?’ I was like, ‘OK,’” Enger said.
After two canceled flights and a lengthy delay, Enger finally made the 91⁄2-hour flight to Paris.
“I was very anxious (on the flight),” Enger said. “I was so excited to see (Jesica), and mind you, I had the ring.
“The ring was in my carry-on,” he said. “I wanted to look at it so bad on the plane because I wanted to look at it and think about different things.”
Although he arrived in Paris four hours late, his luggage had been lost and he didn’t know how to navigate the complex Parisian metro system, Enger wasn’t discouraged.
“For me it was a complete dependency on God and his providing, because all I had was my carry on,” Enger said. “I didn’t have any European currency and I had no idea where I was going.”
One provision, Enger said, was an English-speaking man who took 30-minutes of his time to explain how to transition through the rail-system to get to different destinations.
“I was really blessed to have him help me out,” Enger said.
After narrowly missing the Tabor group at the train station, Enger made his way through unfamiliar streets to the youth hostel where the group planned to stay.
“I was really disappointed that I didn’t get to surprise her there at the train station,” Enger said. “But I did know where they were staying. I had an itinerary of their hotel.”
While asking for directions in a “run-down” part of Paris, Enger finally saw a familiar sight.
“I look up and there’s Doc Kyle and the Tabor group coming toward me, and my heart is overjoyed at this point,” he said. “I’m so excited and I’m trying to get my video camera because I wanted to see her expression.”
And Brucks hid.
“I just saw a guy video-taping and I didn’t want to be on his video, so I just hid,” she said.
Another member of the group eventually told Brucks that it looked like Enger.
“I don’t think I said anything,” she said. “I just stared at (Enger), making sure it was (him). I didn’t know what to do. Everyone kind of backed up in a half-circle so they could watch the whole thing.”
But the proposal didn’t happen.
“When I first saw him, I didn’t think about (a proposal),” Brucks said. “I was still trying to figure out why he was there.
“But other people’s comments and suspicions kind of led to thinking maybe he would—but I tried not to think about it in case it didn’t.
“I don’t think I would have been disappointed because it would have still been great that he had just come out to see me and surprise me. So I just tried not to think about it, I guess.”
On the third day in Paris, the group went to Sunday mass at Notre-Dame Cathedral, and then spent time at the Louvre. By mid-afternoon the group had free time.
“Originally, I wanted to take her on a boat ride,” Enger said, “but we ended up walking around the Latin Corridor, which was one of our favorite places to go.”
That evening, Enger presented Brucks with a gift while viewing Paris from Sacred Heart, a church that sits on the top of a hill.
“It’s a little wooden box,” Enger said. “Engraved on it, it says ‘Love.’ Her nickname that I call her is Love, like ‘hey, Love,’ so I thought she might like it.”
Making their way to the Eiffel tower as midnight approached, Enger once again stowed the box in his coat pocket.
“(At the Eiffel Tower,) we found ourselves sitting on a bench, kind of secluded,” Enger said. “We were trying to get away from everybody.”
At the top of the hour, the Eiffel Tower put on a show, lighting up and sparkling.
“I pulled that little wooden box out again,” Enger said. “I pushed it and it opens. The face slides open and inside it it says, ‘Love you with all my heart.’
“As she’s looking at that, I told her how I knew she was the one, and told her how much I loved her, and while she’s looking at that, I pulled out the ring.”
Brucks said yes.
“I started thinking, ‘Oh, this is real, it’s really going to happen,’” Brucks said. “He’s really talking about this, he’s finally telling me. And then I think some girls get really crazy and I just kind of take it in. I just watched him.”
The couple has tentative plans for a New Year’s Eve wedding.