Hello darling friends! Those of you who follow me in Instagram may have already seen that I’m engaged! My fiancé proposed to me on January 18, 2018 when I went to visit him in Indiana for the winter. It was not a complete surprise, because we have been planning our wedding since September last year. You may think that our engagement is a bit unconventional, and truthfully it is but it also isn’t. It’s unconventional from the Western point of view as you don’t generally plan a wedding until you are actually engaged, but here in Korea the couples usually meet with each set of parents to gain permission before they are considered fully engaged. So it is not uncommon for the proposal to happen after wedding planning is well underway.
Originally, we had planned for Drew to come visit me in Korea this upcoming summer and ask permission from my parents in the more traditional way. We had considered getting married in the summer of 2019, as I would be finished with school by then and we would both have had some time to save up for the wedding. However, when I broached the subject with my parents our plans had to change. After many heated, frustrating arguments, my parents reluctantly began to accept our relationship. Aside from their concerns regarding interracial marriages, they were dismayed that I wanted to move so far away from home. My parents were also concerned about my career. After all, I had spent the past 5 years obtaining a Masters and studying towards a Ph.D in English Education. My career was practically guaranteed in Korea, but what was I to do if I moved to the countryside of Indiana?
But I’m getting ahead of myself. I actually got to know Drew about 12 years ago. So the story goes, my ex had a friend who had a friend that introduced me to Drew. This was back in the heydays of MSN messenger, and we spent quite a bit of time chatting over MSN and over the phone. On one particular evening when I asked what he thought about long distance relationships, he told me that he didn’t do long distance relationships and had no intention of getting into one. Feeling rather deflated, I took this as a sign that he wasn’t as interested in me, and decided to move on. I began dating a mutual acquaintance and we gradually fell out of touch.
I never forgot about Drew, and even while dating other people, but I couldn’t find a way to contact him because my msn account had been deactivated from inactivity. When I reactivated my account, I was dismayed to find that all my emails and contacts had been deleted. It wasn’t until August 2016 that we got back in touch through Facebook. We began talking to each other every day over Skype, and on April 19, 2017 we had our first fight. I was upset that he was eating nothing but peanut butter sandwiches (I get stressed when my friends eat crappy; I grew up in a health-conscious family).
The next day, he told me we had to talk and informed me in his cheeky way that I was in love with him. The audacity of it! It wasn’t until two weeks later that he told me that he loved me and that he always had. We now fondly look back at that moment and refer to it as the Peanut Butter Catalyst. We traveled to London together during the summer and spent two wonderful weeks there exploring London together!
Fast forward to September, we started to seriously consider getting married. While my parents grappled with the idea of me getting married, Drew and I hired a wedding planner and secured a wedding venue in December. Some people were surprised that we were moving forward so quickly, while others were skeptical of our long distance relationship. How do you know he’s the one? was the question that everyone wanted to know. The answer is that I know what a loyal, dedicated person he is and I am constantly blown away by the level of communication he brings to our relationship. I always feel loved and cherished and completely accepted for who I am.
During January, I visited Drew in Indiana. I hadn’t seen him since our London trip together back in July, so I was really looking forward to seeing him again. Plus it would give us a chance to get officially engaged! During my flight to Evansville, I got really sick from the food and got to spend the last 20 minutes of the 14 hour flight in business class. Korean Air kindly upgraded me so that I could be sick in comfort. They also hired a wheelchair and had me delivered to the gate of my connecting flight, and by the time I hopped on my plane to Evansville I had thrown up 5-6 times and completely emptied my stomach.
Needless to say, I was quite a miserable sight when I landed in Evansville, but Drew was so sweet and kind to me and wrapped me up in his arms and made me feel better. I was staying at an Airbnb in Evansville, and the place was clean and had large windows that let in a lot of light. Before I had a chance to unpack, he went down on one knee right in this beautiful room and asked me to marry him. In all the movies, when the guy pops the question the girl answers with “yes!!” but in that moment I felt such love and tenderness swell up that all I could do was to embrace and kiss him.
The ring design was a surprise because it was so unique and had a design I had never seen before. He wanted to get me a trilogy ring that would symbolize past, present, and future, and decided on this ring with sapphires. I absolutely adore my ring because it’s so sparkly and it has my birthstones in it. Drew and I talked about our birthstones during our trip to London, and he had pointed them out to me when we were visiting the National History Museum. I was touched that he had picked out such a personal ring with so much meaning to it, and the ring feels that much more dear to me because of it.
Being engaged hasn’t been all champagne and roses though. While there are so many lovely people who are happy for me and have given me compliments on my ring, there have been rude questions and remarks that I wasn’t entirely ready for. Part of the reason is because weddings are by nature, quite expensive. Everyone has a different idea of how much one should spend on weddings, and judgement follows quickly. Another reason I’m told, is jealousy, and I was quite taken aback when someone suggested that my diamond may be perceived as fake because of the design.
I was also alarmed when I started reading about all the negative experiences people have had related to weddings. Friends falling out, bridezillas and bridesmaidzillas, and every type of relationship problem to be seen. All I want is to have a small cozy wedding celebrated with family and friends and to walk away with all my friendships intact. Only, I realize now, that everything is going to change. My relationship with my family, my relationship with my friends… it’s all going to change. One of my bridesmaids told me that she doesn’t feel like a priority in my life anymore, and I realized that she was right. Drew is now my priority in life; we’re going to build a life together.
That doesn’t mean I’m going to stop spending time with my friends. I still spend my weekends hanging out with friends, but I’ve been spending less time talking to my friends over the phone during the evenings as that is when I talk to Drew. Still, I felt like I could have done better keeping up with my friends over the phone, and have tried to make more of conscious effort to stay in the loop.