Just a city boy, born and raised in South … east Pensacola. I lost my southern accent completely at 13 when I started watching news compulsively. I also lettered in varsity nerd bowl, where I helped bring back a state title and brought the state of Florida to the brink of national notoriety when we placed second in the nation my senior year. I loved to sing, dance, and travel, which made me oddly equipped to meet a special someone later in my life. More on that later.
I had no idea what I wanted to do in life, so I luckily got a scholarship to University of Florida that allowed me to travel to a new interesting place each summer. This opened my eyes to a wide world around me I had no idea existed as a small town boy growing up. I bounced around between majors in college and still had no clue what to do except that I loved learning about personal finances and investing, so I thought why not pursue that as a job?
Hence, the wonderful accidental decision happened to move to Philadelphia when I got a job offer my senior year of college. For the first couple years there, I lived in the suburbs and worked there as well, but just felt like there wasn’t as much going on to make life exciting. I moved to the city to spice up life a bit, and I started going to this church called Liberti in Center City Philadelphia. Though I lacked the required uniform of stylish fashion and well fitting skinny jeans, I found a community of really smart caring Christians who became great friends to me.
I think meeting Christine had to be fate simply because when we met I wasn’t expecting to be in a relationship. It was a fundraiser for our church and everybody was dressed up to the nines. I was hanging out with my buddy and groomsman David Kwon when we noticed some young ladies hanging out in a group and we worked up the courage to go say hi. I noticed one in particular but didn’t want to make it weird, so I challenged her to an eating contest.
Later that night, I wanted to do what a dutiful bro must and encourage my buddy David that he should totally ask out that girl from church. He looked at me funny and said “duuuuude, are you kidding you guys had a way better connection. YOU should ask her out!”
Fast forward a couple months (I wasn’t living in the city until then), and I started going out to more social functions in Philly. Somehow I was in a group with me, Christine, and one of her friends and we were all supposed to go swing dancing together. Suddenly, her friend dropped out, and it was just me and Christine. She gave me an out in case I didn’t think of her in that way, but I totally seized the opportunity and said heck yeah perfect excuse for a date with a pretty girl and I don’t even have to take the risk of asking. She could fall back on the whole “oh I was just being polite and going like we planned” excuse in case I was a total weirdo. Little did she know.
So then I discover she’s an awesome dancer. A little while later, we went out in a group to a karaoke bar and I discover she’s a great singer. We started hanging out more and more, and we’d go to nights at the Art Museum (discount night of course) and walk around the city exploring things.
There was just one thing. In February before we started dating, I had bought a nonrefundable trip around Europe as part of my hair brained idea that I’d be permanently retired at the age of 25. I was a little odd back then, and I’m totally normal now of course. So the next four months were tough for us at times because I was half a world away and communication barriers were present all the time early on in our relationship. Sometimes that’d just be a time zone difference, and other times it was a shoddy internet connection that wouldn’t allow us to talk for days.
We finally got to spend some more time together when I returned from Europe, but then I was a bozo again. My best man Travis Heatwole had beaten cancer and got the all clear from his oncologist, so we had to celebrate. Naturally we did the only thing two responsible young men in their 20s would do, we went to Mexico.
So now I imposed another three months of separation, which Christine lovingly and graciously put up with and encouraged me along the way. I came back in March, and aside from a random trip to Europe again with my little brother Dennis to corrupt him with wanderlust, I’ve gotten to be together with the coolest gal on either side of the Mississippi (we straddle both sides sometimes since we’re in St. Louis).
She got a fantastic opportunity in St. Louis to be a research professor of surgery at one of the top 10 hospitals in the country, and since I technically had no formal job I decided I had to go too despite not having any particular fondness for the MLB Cardinals or the NHL Blues (at the time). It’s been an incredible journey, and Christine even inspired me to start my own business, which luckily for us has absorbed a lot of my crazy energy and focus.
I waited until the perfect moment, January 10, 2017 on a crisp Tuesday night, to ask Christine to let me love her forever. She said yes, but not before a dead fish floated up to us in front of the pond I picked out, or when I got down on the wrong knee, or when I opened the ring box upside down and she looked at me quizzically not seeing anything in the box. Thank goodness she said yes anyway.
I’m looking forward to so many more adventures with this woman, my love, Christine Chu. Can’t wait to unite ourselves together as husband and wife, and pray that God will bless us as we serve Him for as long as we’ll live. Next time I travel to a random continent on a whim, I’m bringing her with me.