Sarah and Mark - His and Her Sides

Sarah’s version:  Mark and I first met at Fritti Restaurant in Virginia Highlands on Sept 13, two years ago. I didn’t know what Mark looked like but he was the only asian waiting by the front so I knew it was him. All Zenia (our matchmaker) told me about Mark was that he was a solid Christian, Chinese, and he worked as a hospital admistrator.  I was so relieved to see Mark smiling at me when we first met because I was actually running late.  Mark was very pleasant and we had lot of fun talking that night.  It was just so much fun to find out we shared so many weird quirks. We are both really bad with directions.  We both can’t eat spicy food. We love doing outdoor activities. We are both involved in small groups for our churches. I don’t personally like romantic comedies but loved movies like Juno, so I was glad Mark liked those indie films too. He gets easily excited about little things like shin ramyun, watching Celtics game, listening to a praise song or indie artirst, and watching Sundance films.

Mark and I were planning to have dinner at Maggiano’s restaurant on Saturday night.  Little did I know that he had planned a total surprise at his home instead.  When I came home after work, my sister was waiting for me to play tennis with her.  At that time, I didn’t know it, but Mark already told my family about his intention to propose to me three weeks prior, and my sister had just been trying to distract me from going to Mark’s house too early.  She did a great job at making me late,  and she even went as far as hiding my car keys.  I was pretty flustered when I finally got to Mark’s house because I was running late and I had thought my keys were gone. When I walked in the front door, I saw a row of rose pedals and lit tea candles lined up, leading to his dining room.  I was totally blown away when he sat me down and serenaded me with a song that he wrote himself for the occasion.  I teared up a little when he finished the song, got down on one knee and asked me to marry him.  He even prepared a candle-lit four course meal! I couldn’t even recognize the dining table since he decorated it all nicely with flowers and chocolates.  The dinner was simply delicious and I couldn’t help but to smile the whole night.

Mark’s version: Sarah and I met on a blind date through our mutual friend Zenia.  Zenia had emailed me, asking me whether I’d be interested in meeting a friend of her’s from her church.  She told me Sarah was really sweet and a woman of God, and that she thought we’d get along.  So I called Sarah and we set up a dinner date at Fritti’s.  I had a great time on our first date – Sarah was easy to talk to and we had a lot in common—we both were very involved in our respective churches, had similar experiences in going to short-term missions, had common musical and movie interests, and we both enjoyed playing tennis and guitar.  We continued to hang out after the first date, and began dating a few months after that.  Sarah’s genuineness, kindness, and fun spirit really attracted me to her. She makes me laugh and we always have a good time together. I also admire her strong faith in God and selfless heart, and I feel so blessed to have her in my life.

I proposed on Saturday, April 16.  I had asked her parents for permission to marry her a few weeks before, so they knew about it, and did a good job of keeping it a surprise! I told Sarah we’d be going to Maggiano’s for dinner that night, and that we’d meet at my house after she got off from work.  Since I was planning on using tealight candles at my house as part of the decorations, I preferred it to be dark outside before she came over, so I asked her sister Nari to stall her as long as possible.  Her sister did a great job keeping her busy by playing tennis with her and hiding her keys, which bought me some more time.

I spent the day buying decorations and food,  decorating the house, and preparing dinner for her. When she came in, there were tealight candles and rose petals going from the entrance to the dining room area, where I met her and asked her to have a seat.  I sang a song I had written for her, and then asked her to marry me.  It was a pretty surreal moment, and it took a while to sink in that we were actually engaged.   We then ate a candleight dinner together.

Photos by Esther JuLee Photography