John and Tam

How We Met


I’m officially engaged to the man of my dreams and my best friend!!! 14 years ago, John and I met at Rollins College, at this very lake. This was our “forbidden love” spot. At the time, my dad was working there and super strict, not allowing me to have a boyfriend. So we would meet here every single time, for at least 4 years. So I’m happy he picked this lake, to ask me to be his wife. ?

Some might not know this but I was diagnosed with epilepsy when I was 15. A year after I met John. I had my first seizure in 10th grade and I ended up in a coma for 3 months. I lost all my hair, my weight, and my memory. When I woke up, John was right by my side. He took the city bus every chance he could, to come, see me. As a sophomore in high school, he was supposed to worry about girls, football, games, partying, etc, etc. But not John. He would just sit there for hours. Crying. I can’t even imagine what made him return each time because my mom was there every day and she didn’t speak English at the time. But he did not care. She told me he showed up every day, held my hands for a few hours, cry, then leaves. Return the next day and do the same thing. When I finally woke up, Unfortunately, I had no idea who John was. I broke up with him at the hospital (literally a movie), but he wasn’t having it. He spent weeks doing physical therapy with me and spent long months telling me about our relationship. What we did for fun, what we fought about, whats our favorite song. Etc. Etc. Making me fall in love with him over and over again. Throughout my high school years, I switched schools 3 times because of my condition, embarrassed when someone would find out, got bullied and even tried to run away from home a few times. As a teenager, it’s hard to process the thought of a condition you didn’t ask for and felt like you were being punished. But John taught me that I am already strong and with the condition, I am even stronger. A year or so later, my condition was still not controlled. My doctors had trouble finding the right medications for me, and I had a terrible car accident. I had a seizure behind the wheels and almost didn’t make it. It was such a dark time in my life. A chapter not many know of. I was in and out of the hospital all the time. But John drove me every single time. That’s when I knew he was going to be my husband one day. He still does it till this VERY day. Never ever does he complain. That is “THROUGH SICKNESS AND HEALTH”.

At 14, neither of us had phones or money… We would borrow phones from our friends or older siblings, having to wait until 9 pm because unlimited minutes didn’t exist then. Our dates? I would go to my parents’ room, steal $1 a day, or not eat lunch for that week… just to have $6 to spend at the Fuji Express at Fashion Square Mall. Some days, we wouldn’t even have money and we would just sneak in the dollar theater across the street. John would take the city bus from the west side to the east side, to see me. As kids, it seems so far away from each other. Or he’d pay friends/family members gas money, a few times he even walked. We literally had absolutely nothing. Now, not that we have everything… but we literally have everything we need. That is “… FOR RICHER, FOR POORER”.

John- In the last three years of our journey together (in LA), it has been nothing but magical. We made one hell of a life for ourselves, especially for two young kids who grew up with nothing, but city bus rides, Chinese food and a lot of sneaking around. This chapter of our book has been so crazy, many milestones, opportunities, & learning experiences. We have achieved so many things, beyond our wildest dreams. I’m so blessed it was all with you. You wake up every morning and you pick me. You pick to love me. Even when I don’t love myself. You are the best person I know. Most importantly, you’re sooooo good to my family. Your heart is pure, your smile is contagious and your love is unconditional. That is “TO LOVE AND TO CHERISH”.



How They Asked

Unfortunately, the night before… my dad was a little tipsy and told me “you did it my daughter, diamond!! Good job!!” Hahaha, my dad ratted you out! So I kinda sorta had an idea. But wasn’t 100% certain until my mother kept on stressing on how pretty I needed to look. So I practiced all night on how to say the “Yes”. I was scared I might say the wrong thing. Honestly, I think I was more scared than you! No matter how many times you pictured it in your head, it never plays out as you expected. John, the moment you started talking, I started ugly crying. & the second you got on your knees, I came down with you. I think my heart and my mind, I knew we are equals. I can’t just let you do it alone. We are a team.

You’re not just asking me to marry you. I’m also asking you to marry me. When you ask someone to marry them, you’re marrying their family, you’re accepting all of the responsibilities; to build with them, the financial dependency, all the duties that marriage comes with, & of course, the commitment. So I knew I had to get down on my knees as well. We will marry each other. I’m going to continue to be the best friend I can be, the best partner, & companion. Even though it took 14 years, I always felt like we were already married. The bond we have is like no other. Many would say “finally”, but I’ll say “you can’t rush something you want to last forever”. A relationship like ours doesn’t happen overnight. It takes a lot of patience, learning, understanding & compromising. We are each our own person, but together, we help each other grow. We will water each other, plant beautiful seeds in our hearts, souls, and minds. Thank you for loving me, & I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you!! This is “TO DEATH TIL US PART”.

I love you, Jonathan David Maner.

Special Thanks

Blue Nile
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