how we met
We met at our home church in San Francisco. Stephen was putting together a coed flag football team and I got recruited. He figured if I played basketball in high school, I might have some ability to catch a ball. His reasoning was debatable, but nonetheless that was the beginning of our friendship. After a few study hangouts and group hangouts with our friends, we seemed to gravitate towards each other. For me, his smile was contagious and I loved his company. He remembered to text me about the little things like if I had a final exam the next day. He asked me out to coffee for our first date, and I decided I wanted Marina Submarine sandwiches instead. Bad idea as the sandwich was huge, and I was definitely not eating like a lady. I appreciated how he could laugh about the mess I was making instead of judging me. I told him I wanted to take things slow and he respected me. I knew I could trust him, and I also thought he was really cute so I said yes!
how they asked
Three and a half years later, he popped the question. I was beyond surprised! People had jokingly asked me if he was going to propose on my birthday but I would always say, “I don’t think so, that’d be too obvious.” I guess Stephen is a master of reverse psychology and decided to propose on the most obvious day, and floor me with the most meaningful proposal I could have asked for. The night before, he called saying he couldn’t spend dinner with me for my birthday because he had to work on a presentation for the following day. He even made up an outline and sent it to me for editing. Apparently there was no presentation, just a really good cover. So I went out to dinner with my girlfriends (which apparently was also planned months in advance), and had dinner by my house. After dinner, the girls said they wanted to go to this park to see a famous yoda fountain. One of them was a huge star wars fan so I was not phased by the somewhat dorky request!
That same park was the park that Stephen and I went to after he asked me to be his girlfriend. We’ve had many picnics in that park and some of our most meaningful conversations. When I arrived with the girls, I initially thought there was a bunch of people playing PokemonGo. Then I saw my brother, who flew in from New York. Stephen had told my two brothers his plan last December so they could book flights, he knew how much I wanted them to be there. My family was lined up on one side of the green arches, his family on the other side. They were all holding whiteboards with a message from each of them.
All of which I couldn’t seem to process because my emotions were running so high. At the end of the arches, after I hugged each of our family members, Stephen came out of the bushes (haha!) and got down on one knee. After some more ugly crying, I said, “Yahhh!!!’
I hugged everyone there and then Stephen had everyone head back to my house for desserts. Before he and I headed back, he asked me, “Can I pray for us.” I nodded. We’d been through so much the past few months that we knew we couldn’t rely on our own strength to get us through this beautiful yet challenging time of our lives. Afterwards, we walked back to my house to find surprise part II! He had put together a timeline of our 3 years together and strung them up against the wall. Ugly crying commenced once again.
It was an incredible night that was a culmination of the challenges and victories we had faced in the past three years of dating. We had each other and we were surrounded by so many friends and family that have been there along the way. Let’s not forget that all the desserts were my absolute favorites! Green tea cake, mango sticky rice, and cookies that my grandparents used to buy me every birthday. Way up, we feel blessed.
My grandma passed away 5 years ago, and my grandpa a few years before that. They are so dear to my heart and I wish they could have met Stephen. I told Stephen that we didn’t need to go ring shopping because I just wanted to use my grandma’s ring. I had spoken to my parents about it before and they were all for it (we’re a sentimental bunch). I never saw her engagement ring before, but I knew no matter how it looked, I would love it because it was hers. When he opened the box, I cried because it was perfect and it had so much meaning to it. I am reminded of my grandma’s kindness and tender heart every time I look at my left hand. Not only that, but I am reminded of the love between my grandparents that was like no other. I know they are smiling in heaven and the ring made me feel like my they were both there. It meant the world to me.
In the video, you might notice he pulled out a a few boxes. My grandma’s ring was a little big and needed resizing. He pulled out a chain for me to wear my grandma’s ring as a necklace, and then he pulled out a second ring. He said he still wanted to get me something from him, which led to another round of ugly crying. It was a beautiful pear shaped ring with a halo and split diamond band from Golden Gem Jewelry. LOVE.