How We Met
I had just returned home to NYC after a year and a half of working abroad in Tokyo. A friend’s boyfriend at the time had asked for my help in planning her surprise birthday party by reaching out to her friends – he was afraid that she would see the messages on his phone and ruin the surprise. I found “Lawrence” on Facebook and messaged him on Messenger to introduce myself and tell him the details for the event day. Being a co-host of the event, I wanted to introduce myself in person at the party and found out that his friends called him “Larry”. We spoke for a brief few minutes but both thought nothing of it.
At this time, a popular mobile game called Trivia Crack was extremely popular. Like most other mobile apps, you can connect it to your Facebook profile and compete against friends to answer randomized trivia questions based on a few different categories. Larry had sent me a request to play and we were both getting the wrong answers for several rounds (failed nerds!). He messaged me, “Why do we suck at this?!” I had no words for him but remembered that one of our mutual friends had told me that he works in the advertising industry. As I was still looking for work in NY, I decided this was the perfect chance to network as his line of work aligned with what I majored in back in college. Feeling a bit flirty, I responded with “A little birdie told me you work in advertising”. We agreed to grab coffee the week after.
The night before, he followed up asking if I was still down for dinner. I thought we were doing coffee but why not? We meet up at Saomai for some casual, pho noodle soup given that he was recovering from a cold and it was perfect for a winter night in February. I was coming from hot yoga, had my hair up in a messy bun, and was in sweatpants (I did manage to shower after class). He was actually in a dress shirt and much cuter than I had remembered. We ended up talking about everything – his job first and foremost, our travels, favorite music, aspirations – over dinner and continued to get to know each other at a cafe nearby after till close to midnight. Little did I know that this was the start to our endless conversations, crazy raves, foodie adventures, breathtaking travels, and so much more.
He never got me the job (I did end up working in advertising 2 months after), but he got me a boyfriend – and now fiancee.
how they asked
My never-ending, surprise proposal started the night before. It was a busy season at work but Larry insisted that I leave by 6:15 sharp Friday night. He would be waiting in my office lobby and had a surprise planned for me. As he knows that I’m an avid foodie, he typically takes me out to a surprise dinner date once a month so I thought he probably snagged an early reservation at a trendy, new spot. Instead, he had booked a mani/pedi at an upscale nail salon nearby. This should have been a dead giveaway, but he explained that my nails were looking horrendous as I’ve been stress picking at them at work and that he is just trying to be a more observant boyfriend. That made perfect sense to me and I stopped prying as he reassured that I was still getting that monthly dinner treat the next day.
I had also bought tickets to the opening day of the Museum of Pizza popup in Williamsburg that same day (this was the biggest wrench in his master plan). He noted that we wouldn’t have time to come home to change before dinner so he was wearing a new, navy suit and I mimicked him with a royal purple, velvet dress. The interactive popup was full of photo ops and we even made it as the first 200 visitors! This meant that we received a mini oven sized pizza book within a DiGiorno book sleeve that plays the classic jingle when you open it. I was beyond ecstatic and so was Larry – or so I thought. He was secretly worried about having to carry this huge prop to our proposal.
Afterward, we took an Uber over to the Club Quarters Hotel in Tribeca to grab a quick drink before dinner. We went up to the rooftop where Tatiana and Vlad (our proposal planner and photographer) had already set up a path of candles which led to a countertop table with a bottle of champagne, waiting for us. I was impressed by the elaborate setup and next thing I know, he was down on one knee with the ring, asking me to make him an even happier man by marrying him. I was overwhelmed and nodded happily while Tatiana and Vlad captured every moment of it. This was not the end.
My heart was pounding as we’re winding down a familiar street to this mysterious restaurant. Entering through an unsuspecting door, we found ourselves seated at the chef’s counter at Atera where my childhood best friend worked. He knew that she would be the first person I would want to celebrate with and working in the restaurant industry meant that the only way to do so was to visit her. I’ve been dying to dine there and needless to say, the dinner was perfection. This was not the end either. He mentioned that he scouted out a cocktail bar a few blocks away for us to celebrate after dinner. I was a bit tired from the long day but reluctantly agreed. I am so glad I did. In the basement of Brandy Library, he had arranged for 40 of our closest friends to be in on the surprise and continue this celebration. One of my best friends had decorated the place with banners and balloons, a childhood friend came from out of town, another flew in from SF. Tears were streaming down my face by now being surrounded by all the love and support from people who have been dear to our hearts and who have witnessed our relationship grow over the years.
All I had planned for that day was to have a slice of pizza from the museum but received so much more. And yes, the pizza book made it into our engagement photos.