Khoi and Linda
how we met
Her side – The best day of my life was when I met the love of my life. We were so young and innocent, still naive of what love truly meant and dived in as though love were distant. It was the first relationship with a human being that evoked all emotion and question to come to life. Do we hold hands? Instead we became friends, but could never erase the memory of our first encounter. A shy girl, walking up to a boy for the first time to say hello, hoping he would be nice, but never guessing he would be the boy she trusted with her heart and whole life. I wish I could say we became inseparable, but instead the innocence and fear of love left us as friends never knowing what the future held. Years went by and continued conversation that started to appear as flirting sparked a fire that we never dared approach while young, became a crush. The courage to admit feelings that may not be reciprocated had to be overcome. I nervously said, “I like you”, the three words that started our seven, plus years of obstacles, tears, travel, laughter, and love. We learned each other’s flaws and stories from our time spent apart to become closer to one another. We adore each look, scent, warmth, laughter, voice, and mood that can be felt and heard from each other. This may still be a naive love, but it is ours to cherish. His proposal represents us in every way. The china lights were bigger than us, as though we were still kids, but roles were reversed and it was his turn to approach me nervously for the first time to make a proposal.
His side – Where do I begin? It was Lunar New Years 2004 when a girl introduced herself to a stranger. I was always a studious kid with sub-par social skills at best. Out of the blue, a girl introduced herself, “Linda”. I was petrified, but she was sweet and friendly. We talked, played, and celebrated Lunar New Years together that night. It is a memory I can never forget. We kept in touch ever since until 2009. She took a leap of faith. Linda called me late one night with a nervous tone in her voice. I asked her, “What’s wrong?” she paused and spoke three words, “I like you” and just like that, it was the beginning of the rest of my life.
Fast forward seven amazing years and we are still together; she is my world. We trust and support each other, and I cannot imagine my life without her by my side. I want to make promise that shows how much she means to me. Thus, I proposed. She said yes. The story is no longer his and hers. It’s us and, we are still writing that part together.
how they asked
Months before, we visited a custom jewelry store to get an idea of what type of ring I like. After we left the jewelry store, he said we would keep looking at other stores and made it seem like it would take years until he would pop the question. My sister told me she would visit in April for her boyfriend’s company’s crawfish boil and to celebrate her birthday. On her last day in New Orleans, she and her boyfriend were going to visit the China Lights event at City Park and did not invite me. I made an unhappy expression and said I was invited. They said they would pay for my ticket, although I was going to pay it initially. I texted my soon-to-be fiancé to meet us at China Lights and he said, “Okay.” When we arrived he was not responding to my texts or phone calls. My sister lied saying her phone died and she needed mine to check the weather. The entrance of the China lights exhibit leads you down into an open garden with giant lanterns shaped like dragons, fish, and people. My sister and her boyfriend never stopped to look at any of it. Regardless, I still naively followed them into another part of the garden that was separated from the rest. I saw someone with a camera, but still thought it was normal because Khoi said he was helping his friends with filming. I thought “Okay, they must be filming a bride somewhere.” Soon I found out that bride was me.
My fiancé walked opposite from where the camera was positioned. He looked nervous wearing his vest and slacks, looking more dapper than ever. He held a dozen roses in one hand and a ring box in the other. He gave me the roses and took my hand as we walked up to the front of the Rose Garden. Looking around, I still could not believe this was happening. Our friend was next to us playing the violin the entire time. I was told afterwards it was a song he composed just for us.
We walked up a couple of steps between two giant round lanterns surrounded by roses and he said to me, his voice cracking, “I still remember when you came up to me when I was just a kid; and I never thought that you would be the source of joy in my life and be the most important person in my life. If you’ll have me, I want to spend the rest of my life making you just as happy as you make me” He knelt down as all women picture it, “Linda Thi Tran, will you marry me?”
I was in shock; my face was glowing, and I was filled with happiness. He had our friends hiding within the garden and he shouted, “She said, yes!” They ran towards us applauding and yelling congratulations; we popped open a bottle of champagne and walked the rest of the park by ourselves. It was and will be one of the best days of my life.