How We Met
Jacqueline: I’ll begin with a little backstory. Peter and I went to the same high school. I was class of 2006, “best of the mix!”, and he was class of 2008. During my junior year, I found myself eating lunch with a group of Asians two years below me, which he happened to be a part of. I will admit, I knew his face and we might have exchanged a few greetings, but that was about it. My senior year came and went, and I still did not know who he was. The last thing I remember about high school was graduation day. I hugged a friend as I exited the football field and then hugged a random boy standing next to her.
Fast forward a couple of years, Peter and I ended up attending the same university where we continued to live separate lives. It was not until July 9, 2017, when we re-met at a mutual high school friend’s wedding and started to talk (strictly) as friends–I was not actively looking for anything serious or romantic. Moving forward, Peter and I began talking via social media, progressed to texting, and eventually made it to phone calls. Through conversation, I found out that this forgotten guy that I randomly hugged at my high school graduation could very likely be Peter!
With the feeling that he might get the wrong impression and to safe guard this comfortable friendship, I had several serious talks with him to make sure we were “on the same page”. I ended our most serious conversation with, “…if you can’t handle being only friends, then we should stop talking now.” Pretty harsh, but I was in a drama-free, Zen place in my life. Peter eventually called back, “okay, let’s just be friends. I want to continue talking with you, even if there is a 10% chance…”. After a little discussion I decided to respond with the raw truth, “mm…10% is a lot.” What can I say, I just wasn’t open to it at the time. Low and behold, with sincerity, comfort, and persistence Peter made the impossible possible.
Get your popcorn out for a short love story! The last “serious talk” was initiated because of a trip to Hampton Bays for his friend’s birthday. Little did I know, this trip was going to be life-changing. During the drive, I realized how easily I opened up to him without feeling pressured to or being interrogated. I talked about my quirks, growth as a person, family, and journey in life. And in the middle of the conversation I remembered thinking to myself, “why am I saying all this…it’s not like I’m trying to explain myself to him or he is asking me any questions?” I was in shock! This was the first time in a LONG time that I felt like I could fully be myself around someone.
In the weeks to come, Peter was able to bring more light and happiness into what I thought was a drama-free, Zen life. He broke through my walls and restored my faith in men. Being comfortable in my own skin was never a really strong suit for me. Peter not only made me feel comfortable in my skin around him, but he also helped me become more confident about who I was as a person. The people around him described him as an old-school gentleman. He was generous, compassionate, understanding, patient, and so much more. Honestly, what more could you ask for in a partner for life? To find out more, you’ll have to hear my vows at the wedding! ♡♥︎♡
Peter: I’ve known Jacqueline for 15 years. She was two years ahead of me in high school, so I only knew of her as the pretty, cute, very talented tennis player who would sit with my friends sometimes at lunch. I thought she was way out of my league, so I never thought of pursuing her! I have two distinct memories with her from back then. First, she signed my 2006 yearbook. Second, she hugged me at her high school graduation. I was standing by the fence where the graduating students were exiting, and she came out of line to give me a hug. I thought, “wow, I didn’t realize we were that close!” For the longest time she denied all high school interaction with me beyond saying “hi”, but recently we discovered photographic evidence that this graduation moment actually occurred! Now, her story is that she only meant to hug her friend standing beside me.
Two years later, I ended up following her footsteps to Penn. She was cute, two years above me, a student-athlete, part of an Asian-interest sorority, chased by many boys, and still out of my league. With our differences in friends and extracurricular activities, our paths never crossed until 2017 at our high school friend’s wedding. Thinking she was in a relationship, I said, “you’re next right?” She goes, “single as ever!” And then, I knew it was my chance.
We began chatting on Facebook. It helped that she knew my friends from high school and I knew a lot of her sorority sisters at Penn, so it felt quite natural. Our friendship grew easily. Every day I looked forward to chatting with her at night after she got off her evening work as a clinical mental health therapist. I eventually invited her out to a Brooklyn outing with my friends – and surprisingly she accepted the night before! We ended the night at 530am at Bryant Park, probably the last time I’ve been out so late in New York.
She was adamant about being friends at first and we went through a long discussion in which she afforded me a 0.0001% chance of breaking out of the friendzone. Apparently, I did just that during a long drive to the Hamptons. I missed a turn and made the drive longer by sitting in NYC metro area traffic. I thought I was making the drive more painful, but it ended up working in my favor because it allowed her to feel comfortable and at ease with me talking in her car with no one else around. In coming weeks we spent a lot of time together, going back and forth between her place in Jersey and mine in the city. She invited me into her personal and family life and I learned what a sweet, compassionate, and caring girl she was.
So, guys, this is a lesson that you can have the girl of your dreams and that given the right time anything is possible :)
how they asked
Jacqueline: Sentimental place—there is deep meaning behind Hampton Bays for Peter and me. The most serious “platonic friendship” talk was right before we were going to celebrate his friend’s birthday in Hampton Bays (August 2017). Little did I know this trip would be life changing. The ride up made me realize how easily I opened up to him about myself without feeling pressured to or being interrogated. This was the first time in a LONG time that I felt this way. In my head I was thinking, “man, if only I was attracted to him this could be the start of something special” (♡♡♡). Months into our relationship I shared this memory with him.
Making the impossible possible—the first of many incidences of Peter making the impossible possible was getting me to say yes to dating. But he must have prayed to all the God’s in the universe to make the weather and plans align perfectly. After 11 months of dating, we returned to his friend’s birthday party in Hampton Bays on Saturday, August 11, 2018. We took this opportunity to prioritize some “us” time. We planned to spend the night, take a walk along the beach, and have a relaxing day before returning to Manhattan. Unfortunately, the weekend called for rainy weekend weather. After driving through some on and off showers, we arrived at the party dry with an overcast sky (win #1). On Sunday, the birthday boy’s mother reported, I woke up at 9am to an overcast sky, with sun and blue skies starting to peak through. By 9:30am we strolled downstairs. The birthday boy’s mother had urgent news, “at 6:30am, I kid you not, there was a monsoon outside. The street was like the bay and it had waves! Had I known you guys would bring the sun, I would have woken you up earlier” (win #2)
Clue #1: Sweaty palms—as we made our way to the beach I could sense that something was on Peter’s mind, which was not unusual. I pried a little but didn’t want to push it so, I decided to be weird and chase some seagulls. The day couldn’t get any better. The weather kept improving, there were little to no people, and we were beaming with joy. With the heat setting in Peter was sweating, as he normally would, but his palms were on another sweat level! “Peter, why are your hands so sweaty?!?”
More clues—with the sun beating down on us and my body getting tired, I suggested that we head back. I pretended to not notice him taking his phone out and texting, mostly because I did not want to get my hopes up. Was he texting his friend that we were on our way back??
The proposal—as we neared his friend’s home, I spotted his friend organizing the chairs, “Peter, should we help?”. Peter agreed, but the closer we got the slower we walked. Eventually, he said, “we should stop here”. I blatantly played dumb and nervously smiled while my hands had a mind of their own. My eyes darted around looking at Peter, then his friend, then his sister with a ukulele, and then spotted an unfamiliar face with a camera. Coincidentally, his sister was visiting the area during the same weekend (win #3)! I was 99.99999% sure it was happening! We stood face-to-face, his sister started playing the ukulele to the tune of “Girl of My Dreams” by Brandon Heath and Peter started singing. With a few changed words to the song, he told the story of our lives. By the end of the song I felt tears welling up. I grabbed onto Peter, told him how amazing this was, and finally felt a little calmer. As I backed away, he got on one knee, uttered some sweet nothings and popped the question.
In one of the most sentimental places, Peter found a way to make the impossible possible and to propose in a unique, romantic, and perfect way.
Peter: I originally had planned to propose at Yosemite at the end of August 2018, but then near the end of July my friend invited me to his birthday party in the Hamptons, the same birthday party a year earlier where we started transitioning from friends to lovers. So, this place carried special meaning for us. I asked the birthday boy if we could stay the night and if he could help with the proposal. He graciously agreed.
My sister happened to be in Long Island that weekend, so I thought it would be a great idea if she could come and play the ukulele while I sang a modified version of the Brandon Heath song “Girl of My Dreams”. She was very happy to help, and we held several rehearsals over the phone. She sent me an instrumental recording of the song, and I walked around NYC singing to myself for a week. I had a fair share of odd glances. People must have thought I was crazy.
As the date approached, the weather forecast got worse and worse. It ended up raining the morning of August 12, with flooding on the roads. I woke up at 7am and kept on looking out the window. As the hours passed the sun soon came out and I was thrilled.
We went for a walk on the beach. I was anxious as I needed my sister, my friend, and the photographer to be in position at the right time. Jacqueline asked me why I was sweating–I blamed it on the sun. She decided to play with the seagulls which gave me a chance to text my friend to confirm everyone was in position. As we returned to the house, my friend was pretending to clean up his party chairs and Jacqueline wanted to help him. I said, “let’s just stop here” and waved my sister over. She played the ukulele as I sang, “I just saw the girl of my dreams, I wonder if she noticed me…” and then I got down one knee. Despite all my worries, everything worked out in the end, with the sun shining down on us and a whole beach to ourselves. As the song goes, “God must be up there smiling on me, I’m in love with the girl of my dreams.”