I proposed to Trinh and she said yes.
After proposing, I felt happy and absolutely normal. Nothing between us has changed, we were already in a committed relationship. I look forward to making life decisions together and the ways her humor, intelligence, and perspective will continue to enhance my life. Just after getting engaged, Trinh and I walked on the beach making jokes about what a huge mistake we had just made. I loved that moment. It was evidence of how we embrace life with humor. In our playful way we got distracted on our walk and started looking for seashells.
Trinh and I aren’t perfect and aren’t perfect together. I have ample evidence that she can tolerate my flaws, exercise various degrees of patience with our differences, and brighten up whatever comes our way. I love her.
I decided to marry Trinh over a month ago when we decided we’d move to the US in late 2020. We concocted a plan to move to Phoenix. I could continue working at ASU and she could go to graduate school for two years. We would a few years Americanizing in Arizona before moving on to another place. It would be a fun change for us to go from an over populated, hot, city to a sparsely populated, hot, red, moon base in the desert. Trinh would be in the grad school bubble at the Thunderbird School of Management and I could continue the work I enjoy. We would skip out to Mexico on the weekends and drive each other to anxious tears over the minutia of a childless adulthood. We agreed not to have kids until after her degree is over and we had made the next move.
Inshallah, Life is what happens when you are busy making other plans.
Once I decided to marry her, I asked her parents during our bi-monthly dinners in mid-September. Trinh was out in the restroom when I had that conversation. Then I went to a number of jewelry stores to find a ring. I texted with Trinh’s mom via Google Translate to pick out a good ring and get Trinh’s ring size. Then I fumbled around at least 8 jewelry shops, until as usual I got to the last minute and decided on a simple diamond ring.
Oddly, I was asked to sit with the jeweler while he adjusted the ring size to be an eye witness that he didn’t switch out the diamond for a fake. As I mentioned in Vietnamese translation to Trinh’s mom, I’m incapable of recognizing a diamond from a fake. I had to depend on the reputation of the most luxurious brands. I bought the ring during a work trip in Da Nang. Trinh flew to Da Nang on Friday night to join me for the weekend. Before Trinh arrived, I plotted with our English friends Lucy and Sam to have the proposal on the beach on Sunday morning.
Stupidly, we went out drinking Saturday night so the 7AM alarm to “walk their dog” was rough. The four of us and the dog walked down to the private beach attached to Lucy’s complex. When we made it to the beach, Lucy and Sam sank into the background with her camera and I got on one knee, held out the ring, and asked, “Trinh, will you marry me ?” on a nearly empty beach. Trinh said, “Yes” and then humorously changed her mind to, “let me think about it”. We kissed – ya’ll can see how much I need to bend down to be Trinh’s height for a kiss.
My mind was somewhat blank because of the hang over, the early start, and the proposal. So it took a while for Trinh and I to really recognize what happened. Then we walked on the beach hand-in-hand together to enjoy the bright sun on the beach. For the rest of the day, we lounged around a cafe and then took a car to the top of a peninsula overlooking the ocean.
Today I felt as if nothing had changed for us. In reality nothing has changed. We are just more formally on the path that we are trying patiently to lay out for ourselves. I was happy to feel that nothing changed. It means I’m comfortable with the path I’m on.
Since I’m on a work trip and headed to another city after Da Nang and Trinh is going on a trip to northern Vietnam with her girlfriends, I won’t see her again for a week. I went with her to the airport then we parted ways so she could get on her flight back to Saigon. Looking back at it, it was poor timing to propose several hours before separating for a week.
So what now? Where and when is the wedding? Not until Summer 2020. I don’t think we’ll be able to decide where until much later when we know our path to the US and all that. I’m certain we will have two weddings. I would love for a time for our families to meet at once in their lives – even if they can’t say much to each other. So the immediate change for us is that Trinh will start preparing for the GMAT and grad school, we will start investigating immigration options, I’ll prepare for an internal transfer to Phoenix for around late summer 2020 and Trinh and I will live together full time in Saigon. Then in the background of this we will plan two weddings for late 2020 and a chance for our families to meet.
I have been on the fence about marriage for all my adult life, but realized that Trinh is the person that I want to set out on a life together with. I can’t really speak for whatever may come, but our relationship so far has tested and proven that we can gradually talk out our issues and help each other look on the brighter side of things. I’m excited to do these bigger things together.
Then again, I’m no idealist about what troubled waters lay ahead in our lives and how difficult this level of commitment will be for me. Over the past years, I’ve proven to myself that I’m willing to do the work to be together and don’t expect it to get any easier with marriage. That said, having been with Trinh for nearly five years I feel that the benefits greatly outweigh the costs. The tireless work of seeing eye-to-eye is worth it.
When I see her after work, I feel happy.