Dickens’ novel, A Tale of Two Cities begins, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.”
For two couples who took part in a Missouri Southern State University trip called A Tale of Two Cities: London and Paris, it was the best of times and even better times!
Two coeds from MSSU came home from the trip engaged after their boyfriends proposed marriage in those cities.
Jansen Adams, junior management major and Courtney Caldwell, senior graphic art major, received grants and help from their grandparents to make the trip to London.
“From the time I got her to go on the trip, about seven months ago, I knew,” he says. “I’ve been working three jobs to save up the money for the trip and the ring.”
Although he had purchased a ring a few days before he left, Jansen waited until the last night to make his move.
On that night in London Jansen and Courtney went to a service at London’s Westminster Abbey. That same night he proposed in front of Big Ben, the large bell that chimes the hours in the clock tower of the Houses of Parliament in London.
“I was so surprised,” Courtney says. “I felt a rush of adrenaline.”
The couple asked a passing stranger to take the couple’s picture as he got down on one knee and proposed
For them, it is the culmination of a relationship that has existed and slowly grown over the last five years.
They made plans to be wed in the summer of 2014.
Tyler Kalbfleisch, junior criminal justice major and girlfriend Britni Stanley, senior criminal justice/law enforcement major, both come from Kansas City, Mo. Tyler says he came to Missouri Southern because he found that it has “the best ‘C.J.’ program around.”
Tyler and Britni had been dating for the last six years.
“I thought it would be cool to propose in Paris,” Tyler says.
That led the two to make a Sunday afternoon visit to Padlock Bridge, actually the Pont de l’Archevêché footbridges over the Seine River. The bridge, built in 1828 near Notre Dame de Paris, is often resplendent with “love padlocks” placed on it by young lovers.
“We spray painted the parts of the lock and put our names on them,” Tyler explains. “Then you lock them together and attach them to the side of the bridge. We did it on our last day in Paris.”
“I didn’t know he‘d propose,” Britni says. “Looking back on it, I should have thought of this. I kept wondering when he would propose. I had it in my head it would be after graduation.”
Brttni says after Jansen and Courtney got engaged in London, Tyler’s plan to propose was known to everyone on the trip but her.
“Everyone in the whole group knew but me” she laughs. “I was complaining that we weren’t engaged.”
No problem with that now.
Tyler and Britni planned a June 2015 wedding.
“We were joking that everyone is going to be signing up for these study abroad trips now,” says Dr. Chad Stebbins, Director of the Institute of International Studies at MSSU, who accompanied the students on the trip. “I can imagine that our students will be encouraging their boyfriends to accompany them now.”
Stebbins says a total of 15 students took part in the trip.