How We Met
I met my fiance Andreas nearly 6 years ago in Xi’an, China. We were 19 years old, studying abroad for the semester. This was an experience that would change my life forever. Not only did I connect with my family roots, but the boy next door in the international student dorms would also become my best friend and life partner. We met on September 2013 on the first day of study abroad orientation. By the end of week 1, we were inseparable. Our first kiss was when we came over to show me how to get past the Chinese firewall and get on Facebook (LOL). For five months, we learned Chinese, climbed the Great Wall, rode on a motorcycle through the countryside, watched the sunrise from China’s greatest mountains, swam in the South China Sea, took the overnight train to the other side of the country, and fell in love. After a whirlwind semester, the next two years were hard. I went to nursing school in the US and he was finishing his engineering degree in the Netherlands.
We visited each other every spring, summer, and winter break and skyped every day. We wrote love letters in a journal to each other and switched journals every time we saw each other. Looking back, I’m so happy we made it through all the heartbreaking goodbyes. After I graduated as a registered nurse, I had some short nursing stints in China and Taiwan, then I moved to the Netherlands to be with Andreas while he finished his master’s degree. Countless adventures and 13 countries later, Andreas proposed on Korcula Island in Croatia. We are now applying for the fiance visa so we can live together in my hometown of NYC. Fingers crossed, his visa interview is coming up. I cannot wait to marry my best friend. All the hard moments have been worth it. We come from two different worlds, yet it feels like we knew each other in another life. We want to say thank you to all our friends and family who have supported us for so long!
How They Asked
Andreas surprised me with a trip to Croatia after I had just come back from a summer studying abroad in China. I’ve always wanted to visit this Croatia; this beautiful country with its crystal clear blue waters and relaxed vibe. We stayed at the Port 9 Resort on Korcula Island. We always talked about getting engaged AFTER he graduated with his masters degree so I was not expecting a proposal for at least another year. Sometimes we would talk about what our wedding plans would be like. Would he propose in China where we met? Would be get married in NYC or his hometown of Rotterdam? Halfway through our vacation I jokingly told him that he better not be planning on proposing on this romantic island. I would need a heads up and time to prepare myself. I had NO IDEA he had bought the ring already and told our families of his plans.
After an amazing day of canoeing and snorkeling along the coast, Andreas took me on a walk to St. Anthony’s hill to watch the sunset. We climbed up 102 steps to towards the 14th-century chapel, surrounded by beautiful, tall cypress trees. There, on top of the hill and with a beautiful view of the island, Andreas officially got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. I was so shocked I began to cry and didn’t speak for a few seconds. I managed to get out the word “YES” before I had to sit down because I was shaking so badly. I was so unbelievably happy. We watched the sunset from the top of the hill. I distinctly remember the moon being a crescent shape and was framed beautifully by the cypress trees. It really could not have been more of a magical day! We have a star map hanging up in our living room of the coordinates of the stars at the exact moment we got engaged.