An Engagement Adventure
Marriage is a journey but sometimes the trip to get there is an adventure. Just ask Stefany Shaheen and Craig Welch.
Stefany and Craig were on a trip to Belize when, to Stefany’s surprise, Craig proposed. Less than 12 hours later, after enjoying breakfast on the small island of Caye Caulker, the engagement ring slipped off Stefany’s finger and was lost in the sand.
The couple desperately combed the beach for hours, looking for the ring; beach-goers and islanders joined the search, but it disappeared. With several days remaining on their trip, Stefany and Craig pledged to return to the island to complete one last search for the ring. They even offered an award for its safe return. “I wanted to tell my family about the engagement but how could I call home and share this news, having just lost the ring,” Stefany said.
The day before heading home, Stefany and Craig returned to Caye Caulker. Retracing their steps, they asked all of the locals if their engagement ring had turned up; no luck. They paced up and down the tiny island passing the spot where the ring was lost and stopping each time to kick the sand around in hopes that they would catch a glimmer of the ring.
Later that evening, a man approached them at dinner, saying mysteriously, “I know where your ring is.” He suggested they meet at a bar later that night. When they showed up the man was drunk and incoherent, but hinted that the ring was back in Belize City, on the mainland.
Still not convinced they’d ever see Stefany’s ring again, the couple prepared to make their journey home – as it turns out, during a raging tropical storm. Uncertain whether water taxis would be running, they raced to the longest pier at the end of the island praying that they would be able to get a ride to the mainland in time to catch their plane. Soaked from the rain and battered by the wind, they were waiting for a water taxi when they noticed, attached to the same pier, a dilapidated boat called the Reggae Muffin. To Stefany and Craig’s surprise, out of the boat emerged the mysterious man from the night before! “He tried to board the water taxi but the driver wouldn’t let him,” said Craig. Hoping he might actually know something about their ring, the couple paid the man’s fare back to the mainland.
After a bumpy wet ride, all three disembarked in hectic and harried Belize City. The couple asked the man to meet them in front of the post office in one hour. Just as they were loading their backpacks into a cab to go to the airport, they saw the mysterious man running furiously through the crowded street. Out of breath, he approached them with an earnest look in his eye as he reached into his tattered shirt pocket to unveil a small piece of folded brown paper. Stefany quickly grabbed the tiny package and together she and Craig unwrapped it to reveal…the ring!
Stefany and Craig don’t know who actually found the ring, where it was hidden, or how they got it back. One thing they do know: the adventure was an odyssey they’ll never forget.