How We Met
A long, long time ago…1998: Our little 8-year-old selves were introduced at a Chinese school summer camping trip where Alvin’s dad lost his car keys while white-water rafting, and I lost my favorite headband. Alvin remembers meeting me; I only remember the traumatizing moment of losing my headband.
2007: Both our Chinese schools’ lion dance troupes performed at the halftime show of a NJ Nets vs Houston Rockets game. This was pre-Linsanity when the famous NBA Chinese player was Yao Ming, and Jason Kidd+Nets were still in their rightful home. I attended the game to cheer on my younger brother’s performance. Unbeknownst to either of us, Alvin and my brother ended up in a photo together. The below gem was discovered last year (Alvin is in yellow on the left, my brother is in red on the right).
2009: We had both chosen to attend Cornell University for undergrad. Our sophomore year, we were “reintroduced” after some (note: a lot) of prying from our meddling fathers (thanks, Dads!). We ate a meal at Koko’s, a Korean restaurant in Cornell’s Collegetown, and nodded at each other in passing for the next 3 years, as acquaintances do.
2014: 2 years after graduation, we both ended up in NYC. Out of the blue, Alvin texted me one day while I was at work, asking if I was in the city. He asked me on a date which I cluelessly did not realize was a date, and watched me eat a burger while he ate…nothing. This is VERY atypical of our relationship – you seldom find me eating if Alvin is not. With some help from the Penny Farthing bar on 13th, one wild night at M1-5 for my birthday celebration, and the infinite date spots in NYC, we started dating and were soon referred to as “Jackvin.” We’ve taken a 1,000 mile roadtrip without ripping each other’s heads off, cooked 7 Blue Apron meals, missed one flight, learned how to use a solar shower the hard way, brewed 2 batches of beer, and sang too many karaoke songs to count. What else is left to do?
Oh, maybe one thing. Or two.
how they asked
It all started when…
I had just come back from a 2-week Everest Base Camp trek, and spent the week upon my return sick & coughing (thanks, Derek). I had missed one of my best friend’s birthday, so when our other friend suggested having a belated birthday dinner with our close group of friends, I of course agreed! The men were invited. Dinner was set for 5pm at Cookshop on Saturday, May 6th.
Meanwhile, Alvin had been planning for over a month and a half. He had scouted potential proposal spots with said best friend whose birthday we were planning on celebrating (quite the clandestine meetups). He had gathered photos from the past three years. He bought a ring (nbd). He was ready.
Two days before the dinner, Alvin suggested that we go into the city on Saturday a little earlier for a date. It had been a while since we had one of those, since one of us had been off climbing a mountain for 15 days. He proposed (pun intended) visiting the Whitney Museum, and I said,”Eh, let’s go to the Met instead. There’s the new fashion exhibit!”
Alvin said, “I already bought tickets.”
I thought that was weird, but didn’t think much of it.
Saturday came along and we went to the Whitney. Here’s some art that we saw.
We left the museum around 4:15 PM and Alvin suggested walking on the High Line since it was en route to the restaurant. He mentioned there were some art installations along the High Line, which I had read about. We had walked for a bit when I suddenly saw a cute “art installation” with a wooden stool, flowers, balloons, lanterns, and a framed photograph.
“OMG SO CUTE! Let’s go see!” This was not my brightest moment.
As we got closer, the framed photo came into focus and…IT’S WAS A PHOTO OF US!
Alvin got down on one knee and pulled out the most beautiful ring. I freaked out and couldn’t stop smiling. I said yes, he wiped his eyes, I said he needed to put the ring on me, and he kindly obliged.
Just when I thought I could not be surprised, even more, we ended up walking to The Park (I still thought we were going to eat dinner with our friends!), where our closest friends and family were waiting for us to celebrate our engagement! I promptly burst into tears, gave hugs all around, and couldn’t stop thinking of how lucky I was to have the rest of my life with this thoughtful, amazing man!