Congratulations Jia Fu and Vicky!
At Spirit of Aloha Gardens, Maui
“Little Red Riding Hood”
I first saw Vicky in the lab at my workplace in October of 2010. She was part of an engineering team from HTC Taiwan working jointly with Qualcomm San Diego on the then-groundbreaking but now-antiquated Thunderbolt (Verizon’s first 4G smartphone). I thought she was cute in her white Converse canvas shoes, red hoodie and hair in a ponytail. But everything was strictly business at first.
Our teams worked closely over the next several weeks including conference calls, live debug sessions, and late day sync up meetings. Work was work, but I started to enjoy being alongside Vicky. She was smart, sassy and strong-willed. I looked forward to her daily text in the evening inviting me to share her team’s take-out dinner. Of course, if I showed up, I’d have to give a status update on all the critical issues; but I didn’t mind because it meant time to chat with Vicky later. And so we eventually starting messaging outside of work.
About two months into the project, Vicky’s project manager invited me to a team dinner as a token of their appreciation. It was originally set for a Saturday night but they had to reschedule at the last minute. Vicky sent a text to inform me that our plans were cancelled for the night and we were both free. I took it as a hint that she wanted me to ask her out. So I did, and for our first date, we had yakitori for dinner and dessert at a chocolate cafe in the Hillcrest area.
From that first date sprouted more dates and we eventually decided to pursue a long distance relationship. We bridged the physical divide with instant messages, Google video chats, birthday cards and special deliveries. We grew in our admiration and understanding of each other. She treasures her family, hates having wet shoes, and can roll down a grassy slope straighter and faster than a beach ball.
Finally, two years after our first date I set about to propose to Vicky. With our parents’ blessings, a ring and 99 long stem roses in my trunk, and a gorgeous Saturday afternoon on the horizon, I planned to pop the question at Sunset Cliffs, the same place where I had made a promise to her twenty months earlier. But it just so happened Vicky went out for lunch with her sister Irene that day and took a visit to the mall afterwards…despite Irene being in on the plot! Unfortunately, it was just about sunset when they returned home so the proposal was not yet to be.
The next day started out cold and drizzly, and the forecast didn’t bode any better. But with the flowers confined in my trunk and our vacation coming in three days, my window of opportunity shrunk down to that Sunday. I suggested going to the mall just to get everyone out of the house. On the way there, I threw out the idea of going to see the sunset. Vicky looked out the windshield at the grey sky and, with the wiper blades whooshing in the background, said I was crazy. I said something about it going to clear up and rainbows showing up, and quickly took the exit for Sunset Cliffs before she could object.
When we got there I drove around looking for a parking spot, but really I was waiting out the drizzle. The moment came and I quickly ushered everyone to their positions. After sitting down for a bit and staring at the cloudy horizon, I cued Irene to get the roses from my car. While we were alone, I started with my proposal speech. And as the roses I arrived, I got on one knee, revealed the ring and proposed to Vicky. After sufficient assurances that I would take care of her and keep her safe (and that the diamond was real) she said yes!
A few weeks before my birthday in October 2010 I went on a business trip to San Diego. It was my first time abroad for work and I was excited about the upcoming experience. I don’t remember meeting anybody special but there was this one guy who showed up in our lab a few times and sat in the corner and minded his own business. It made me feel that Qualcomm didn’t welcome HTC in their building. During that time we had invited another Qualcomm engineer for dinner and he said we better invite his “boss” too. So I thought this boss person must be some big shot. And, what do you know, he turned out to be that guy who sat in the corner…and his name was Jia Fu.
One afternoon, Jia Fu and I we’re working in the same room when I was messaging my lead over MSN. Then he suddenly mentioned “bopomofo” (Chinese character input method). I felt a chill, as I realized I had been complaining about Qualcomm in front of him in Chinese to my coworkers. Did Jia Fu understand Chinese all this time? If it was true , a part of me was also mad that he had been pretending not to understand. I confronted him on the situation. His reply was to take out a piece of paper and write his name in Chinese. And that was how we exchanged our Chinese names.
Near the end of my trip, our project manager wanted to take our Qualcomm hosts out for dinner and It was my job to ask my counterparts. When I asked Jia Fu, he didn’t appear too excited. But it seemed like he felt obligated to attend so he accepted. The night of the dinner HTC had to postpone so I relayed the message to him: “You are free tonight”. But I was surprised he replied by asking me for dinner! That night, he picked me up in a lowered sports car but the radio was tune to a classical music station. Experiencing this side of him outside of work confused my whole perception of him. During the car ride, I didn’t know what to talk about and once out of the car, Jia Fu proceeded to walk very fast which I thought it was quite rude. I didn’t think there would be another date but we saw each other again many times.
When it was time for me to return to Taiwan, Jia Fu said he would keep in touch, and it turned out that he did. We actually spoke more then than while in San Diego. I felt that our conversations were like English class–I always kept two phones; one to chat and one to translate some English words. My head was hurting afterwards each time.
Early in 2012, I moved to San Diego for work and I enjoyed the new life and ample sunshine. It was then that I noticed Jia Fu had a certain youthful quality and a wild imagination. He also loves his family, likes children and is very patient. He’s responsible and volunteers his time for others. His interests are playing basketball, mowing the lawn, buying pillows, and researching kitchen and garden gadgets. When he mows the lawn, he wears a big hat, a couple layers of clothing, gloves and headphones for music. He looks like a technophile farmer working the land. And he has helped me practice for my bellydancing class, even teaching me how to shoulder shimmy.
One weekend Jia Fu suggested to go shopping. Before reaching the mall, he suddenly had a desire to see the sunset. But the sky was cloudy and there was a slight rain. His excuse was that the exit to the mall was too backed up and Sunset Cliffs as a better destination. When we sat down, he showed me a picture from one of our dates. He reminded me that we were also at Sunset Cliffs that night and at that time he had given me a ring. Well, today he had another one for me. And so with a diamond ring and 99 roses, proposed marriage. He promised to love me, take care of me, and treasure me. I said “Yes * “.
* contingent on a new proposal on a sunny day!