Now that we have seen as many people as possible face to face, I thought I’d put up my speech from our engagement party last week.
Friends, Surrogate Family, Soon To Be In-Laws, Colleagues and Nemeses, thank you all very much for coming tonight. It’s nice to see you all again in person, rather than just through your Facebook photos or via Skype, though some of you definitely look better in Standard Definition with a lossy codec. My thanks to Ed and Ben for organising a bucks night that would be memorable if I could remember it. Our thanks too to Makala for the awesome cupcakes here tonight and to Tricia, Emily Benjamin’s mum, for the myriad chicken wings, use of beach house and the lovely balloons. And thanks in particular to Emily Benjamin’s dad Laurie for having us stay with him this last month, using his towels, his Internet, his chocolate and of course for organising this evening. Thank you Laurie.
It is said that travelling around the world together will either make or break a couple. In fact, it was said, by many of you, loud and often! After 8 months of seeing each other every day, having not previously lived together, I’m happy to report back that you were right. Whether at 4am (in the morning) for a sunrise viewing of Angkor Wat, or after 14 hours on three planes in one day to arrive at altitude in La Paz; whether tired, frustrated or emotional, we never even got in sight of breaking. In amongst Petra, Easter Island, Halong Bay, Karnak and all the other wonderful things we saw, I had a constant companion to share the experiences with and to support me when I needed it. Thank you Emily Benjamin.
I realised after a few months that I was going to propose to Emily Benjamin. The more technically minded of you can check out the WHOIS record of emilytalbot.com, which will confirm for you that I had an inkling at least before July. I’d had these big plans to do it through a website at emilytalbot.com, naturally, and to propose on one knee as Emily Benjamin turned around. Then I blew it by asking her in The Grand Canyon instead. Still, it’s a memorable location for a memorable event!
We are now looking forward to our next big trip – moving to San Francisco. On Tuesday we head down to Sydney to get visas stamped in our passports and then next Sunday we will hopefully be on our way back to the US where Emily Benjamin will be going to college and I will be working for a company called StumbleUpon. I would encourage you all to sign up to this most wonderful of services because it’s great fun, you will find lots of cool stuff, and because I have stock options. That’s StumbleUpon; S-T-U-M-B-L-E-U-P-O-N-DOT-COM.
Finally, in the spirit of the recently departed Steve Jobs, we too have “One More Thing” to say. Laurie mentioned earlier that I actually proposed to Emily Benjamin before I asked his permission, so thanks again to him for being gracious about that. With the proposal coming before the permission, the bucks night before the engagement party and all of that before the appearance of a ring (be patient Emily Benjamin!), you may or may not be entirely surprised to hear that… Emily Benjamin and I were married on August 31st 2011 at 11:00am in San Francisco City Hall.
Now you don’t get off quite that easily. There will be a ceremony in a year or two where Emily Benjamin will be walking down some kind of aisle, in something white at which Laurie will have the chance to give his daughter away. We’re going to be having one ceremony in Australia and one in England, and we’re still trying to get RSVP to pay for the wedding – we are a success story after all!
At that point there is even a chance that Emily Benjamin might change her last name. That will possibly be the hardest thing to get to grips with! We’ve already rejected (yes, we have) James Graham Michael Benjamin – I need at least one non-first name.
Of course, that means that the 8 month jolly around the world we’ve just finished was technically our honeymoon, and of course this means that I proposed on our honeymoon, which possibly violates causality in a minor way, but it all seems to have turned out rather nicely.
We’re both very happy to see you all here tonight and I’d like to finish by asking you to charge your glasses and toast to my lovely wife, Emily Benjamin.
In other news, visas are approved and we fly to San Francisco tomorrow. And you should all sign up to StumbleUpon post haste!