Sharing this beautiful and classic Chinese wedding at the The Bayview Golf Club in Toronto.
The first time I saw Dickson was in our high school cafeteria when I was in Grade 11. He approached a couple of my friends and started talking to them as if they had all known each other for a while. I remember asking someone who he was because I had never seen him before and thought I knew everyone in my year and everyone my friends were friends with. At the time, I was told “he’s your future husband” and I laughed it off because it seemed impossible that I would get married to someone I didn’t know (and never planned on talking to).Maybe it was fate, but the following term we ended up in the same Grade 11 chemistry class. He sat by himself at the back of the class, while I sat at the front with my friends. I learned his name while the teacher was taking attendance and although I was curious about him (how did he know my friends and why haven’t I seen him before?), I was more focused on class than on making new friends.Back then, a couple of us used to chew gum before class and it was the most rebellious thing I had ever done! One day before chemistry class, we realized that none of us had any gum. I watched as they approached Dickson to ask him for some, but I was too afraid to do the same. The same thing happened in the following weeks and my friends encouraged me to go ask Dickson (I guess they were getting tired of sharing). Eventually and rather reluctantly, I went to ask. I was afraid he would say no, which would have been extremely embarrassing and even worse than not being able to chew gum. I was so surprised to find out I was wrong and that he had much better gum flavours than my friends did!From then, we would occasionally talk in class until he asked one of my friends (Rebecca) for my email. Knowing how hesitant I was about talking to new guys, Rebecca asked me if it was okay for her to give Dickson my email address. She told me it would be for homework help and I agreed. He added me on MSN a couple days later and he would message me while I did my homework or send me emails after I logged offline. We continued talking to each other over the summer and I found myself looking forward to school starting so that I could see him again.On a Thursday evening (September 21st, 2006 to be exact), he messaged me to say that there was something he wanted to ask me in person. Regardless of how much prodding, he refused to tell me over MSN. I waited until the next day and I saw him from afar during lunch, but he never came over to talk. I remember waiting for him after school, but he never showed up! I messaged him that night to ask, but he still insisted that it had to be done in person. I had a suspicion of what he might be asking and it ended up being a weekend full of anticipation for what Monday would have in store. On Monday, I made sure to look for him during lunch and approached him to demand that he tell me about this “important thing”. He told me that we needed to talk in the hallway, not inside the cafeteria, and we sat by the window in silence for a while. It was almost the end of lunch when he finally asked me to go out and I told him that I would have to think about it. Luckily for me, the bell rang and I had to rush off to class, so I didn’t have to see his reaction. That evening, he messaged me to ask and I told him exactly what he told me the last couple days – I couldn’t tell him over MSN and it had to be done in person! Although I had very strict parents and wasn’t allowed to date until I turned 18, I decided that I should take a chance and told him the next day. I still remember how he gave me a hug after I told him the news and proudly grabbed onto my hand when we walked into the cafeteria. I was surprised by how bold he was, but I decided to go with the flow. I was also still a little overwhelmed by the thought and feeling of how nice his hug felt and I’m glad that’s something that still hasn’t changed! We ended up spending a lot of time together that year. Dickson waited with me before my first class started, we saw each other during lunch, and we had a couple classes together. Sometimes he even walked me home after school even though he lived in the opposite direction! We were each other’s partners in group projects and were lucky enough to attend prom together (he didn’t want to go). However, the end of the summer came too soon. It was scary knowing that I would be starting university in a different city and wouldn’t be able to see Dickson every day.Little did I know, university wasn’t a huge difference from high school. We still talked to each other every day – constant MSN conversations (later we upgraded to Skype conversations) and late night phone calls became the new norm. I came home often on weekends to visit my family and tried to squeeze in a date with Dickson whenever I could. Things got slightly easier when I was home during my co-op terms, but working as an accountant involved longer hours than I thought – it wasn’t uncommon to be working late into the evenings and even on weekends. Dickson was always a good sport about it and never failed to lend an ear (or shoulder) whenever I needed it. I really couldn’t have done as well in school or gotten as far in my career without him. In May 2016, right around Mother’s Day, Dickson and I were at his house after dinner. After watching him play video games for a while, he suggested we go to his room to watch something before he drove me home. I walked into the room, he closed the door behind him and told me he wrote something that he wanted to show me. He asked if I wanted to read it off his phone or if he should email it to me. Thinking it was another job application, I told him slightly impatiently that he should email it to me. I was a little annoyed because he was acting funny and he should have known that I would always help him with job applications if he needed it. A couple minutes later, he told me that he sent me the email and continued standing. I thought that was odd, but didn’t mention anything until I saw the email. Before opening the email, I could read the preview and I got nervous. Instead of opening and reading the email, I looked at him. I could tell he was nervous, but I wasn’t sure why and it was making me feel nervous as well. He asked me why I was staring at him and I told him, “well, it says here that you’re sitting next to me, but you aren’t.” I knew I was being difficult, but if I had to read bad news I wanted to make sure he was next to me. After all, when the first line says, “I want you to read everything before making any comments”, what was I supposed to think? I truly thought he was going to break up with me. He had joked a couple times about proposing and having a ring, but I tried looking for it once and came up empty handed. We also talked about proposals before and I remember telling him it didn’t matter how it was done, as long as it was cute and meaningful. In my mind, I always thought it was going to happen after a special dinner and flowers, but with Dickson, you can never be too sure. I remember telling him that I wanted someone to capture my reaction when it happened and he told me that I’d know because he would be wearing a Go-Pro. As I was reading the email, I felt a lump slowly grow in my throat. It was such a sweet email and I wasn’t sure if what I thought was happening was actually occurring. When I reached the end, I was waiting for the image to load – I thought Dickson made me something with my favourite one of his designs. It was at this time he asked me where I was in the email and when I told him I was waiting for the picture to load, he freaked out. He asked me why I didn’t tell him I was done and why I didn’t say anything. I was very confused (the picture still hadn’t loaded yet) and I showed him my phone. Shortly after the picture finished loading, he proposed!—–Dickson’s Response:To be honest, I don’t exactly remember when I met Stephanie. I remember seeing her in Chemistry class and thought she was very pretty and I wanted to get to know her more. I remember asking a lot of my friends at the time who that person was, and if she was dating, and to introduce me. I was kinda shy back in high school, so it was definitely hard for me to just walk up to someone random and make small talk. During high school I used to carry a lot of gum because my mom used to bring back a lot of packs of gum from work. Over the course of the term, I used offering gum as a way to start talking to Stephanie. It definitely worked as we started talking a bit more and we would occasionally be lab partners, which I would screw up at as I was never really good with Chemistry. I don’t remember if Stephanie remembers that! Sometime after I finally got Stephanie’s MSN, I used the excuse of needing to get notes for something I missed. I remember the first time I messaged her, she replied so bluntly that it made me think if I did the wrong thing by messaging her! Luckily it didn’t end that way and I started talking to her more and more. During the that semester we didn’t have a lot of classes together, but I remember always going to Chemistry because I wanted to talk to Stephanie. I wasn’t a model student, I skipped a lot of classes but I would always try to not skip Chemistry! During the summer Stephanie wasn’t on MSN a lot so instead I used to send her a lot of e-mails (which I still have some to this day). I remember waiting for her e-mails because it made me very happy reading it. I would say how pretty she is in my e-mails and I would always get a “I’m lying” reply or something like that. Actually I still get those replies even today! Fast forward to beginning of Grade 12 (essentially I spent the whole summer chasing her!) I got the courage to ask Stephanie out. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a answer right away as she had to think about it. I remember going to my final class pretty sad, and when I got home I just took a nap because I didn’t feel like doing anything haha. The next day is when she agreed and we have been dating ever since! (Its been 11 years)After high school, Stephanie went to Waterloo and I stayed in Toronto taking a year off before going to school again. I never truly had a problem with the long distance as we always found ways to talk to each other either through the phone, MSN, Skype, or e-mails. It made the distance much shorter than it really was. I sometimes found ways to borrow the car and drive up to Waterloo but with both my parents working a lot it wasn’t a very common thing. Stephanie did come back to Toronto often to visit her parents, and me, so the distance wasn’t too bad. A lot of our friends always asked us why we weren’t bothered by the distance or friends would ask me if I was worried if Stephanie would find someone else closer and not tell me etc. Honestly, I never thought about any of that stuff, and I trust Stephanie fully, so I was never worried about stuff like that, and vice versa I know Stephanie trusted me to not do anything like that as well. So it went on like this for a few years, and when we graduated we both started working right away. Unfortunately, Stephanie’s career involved super long hours and my hours were too random sometimes to make anything work. It wasn’t too bad since we always found ways to go see each other, have dinner, go to the mall and shop, watch movies etc. Fast forward a year or two later, I started saving money to purchase a ring for Stephanie because I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. I kept that a secret from her for a good while, and Stephanie never saw it coming because about a year before I proposed, I bought a sports car, and Stephanie thought I was spending all my money on that, which was only partially true! Since I already had the ring and didn’t need to keep paying it off. I remember trying super hard to come up with a way to propose to Stephanie. I remember wondering if I should do a fancy one? Maybe make it super public? My friends told me that it should be something special between the both of us, and it should mean something as well. After thinking about long and hard, I decided to write a proposal through e-mail as it was something we constantly used when we were talking to each other during school and its how we really bonded in the beginning of our relationship. When I finished writing the e-mail, I attached a picture of the ring. I asked Stephanie to come over, and we hung out, and I asked her if she could read something for me. I told her I would send it through e-mail. I told her to read all of it first before saying anything. When she finished the e-mail and saw the ring, I pulled out the real ring, and asked her if she would marry me. Although there wasn’t a huge crowd, or tons of people taking pictures of the proposal, I feel this was the best way to continue our relationship as we started out like this as well. Random thought, I remember being extremely nervous when she was reading the e-mail, and I was super worried she was going to be upset because I didn’t do some fancy or extravagant proposal!