Elizabeth and Stephen

spanelmo2015

How We Met

Stephen and I were introduced over OkCupid in January 2015.  We met on January 27, 2015 at The Bao, in the East Village, Manhattan, NY. I was completely apprehensive about seeing him again after our first meeting but credit my friends who challenged me to give Stephen a chance.  I’m sure glad I did! Over the year, we became inseparable, enjoying the mundane moments of daily life together to a whirlwind tour of four countries in Asia in merely two weeks! We support each other personally and professionally, learning about our very different yet similarly demanding professions. We hope to continue working as a team and spur each other on as husband and wife!

How He Asked

Stephen calls me the “supreme ruiner of surprises,” since I constantly ask questions and then ruin surprises, from the insignificant to momentous. I apparently ruined two proposal attempts in April 2016 with my litany of questions and requests to be completely surprised.

So, on May, 8, 2016, Mother’s Day, my Mom, Stephen and I planned to attend church and then have dinner.  Mom and I went to church at Redeemer Downtown at The Salvation Army Theatre on 14th Street, Manhattan. I was a little suspicious when Stephen showed up late for service with a fresh haircut and sports coat. But I chalked up his clean cut look to anticipating Mother’s Day photos with Mom. After service, we went to Salinas Restaurant in Chelsea, Manhattan for dinner. Over elegant tapas and paella, Mom and Stephen talked politics and daily life as they usually do.  Right after dessert, Stephen took out a small gift and handed it to my Mom.  She opened it to find a photo of the three of us.  Stephen said, “Yeah, it’s a family photo.” Puzzled, I replied, “Family photo?” He smirked and then took out a package from his bag, “And this is for your, for our belated anniversary.” I opened the gift to find a book, written by him, detailing our lives together complete with photos. As I turned each page, I was struck by his surprising creativity and realized that perhaps this was more than an anniversary gift. When I reached the last page of the book, I was struck by a photo featuring a black jewelry box, opened and empty. I turned to him, and saw that he was holding a black jewelry box. He opened it and I shrieked, “It’s empty!! It’s empty!! Oh no!! Oh no!!!” I turned to my Mom who audibly gasped and looked like she was about to throw up her paella dinner. I then realized all my friends who told Stephen that he truly had to “punk me” or surprise me as I am the “supreme ruiner of surprises.”

Stephen then put the empty black jewelry box down and said, “I’ll never forget the first time we met, at The Bao, where we shared “xiao long bao” (soup dumplings). Now “bao” in Chinese can mean dumpling or treasure. Stephen then took out a celery green “xiao long bao” maker that’s shaped like a lotus flower with a large stem.  He held it in his hands, called me his treasure, and pushed down on the celery green “xiao long bao” maker’s stem.  It’s lotus flower “leaves” opened up to display a round brilliant diamond with pave double halo and split shank double band.  He then asked me to marry him in Chinese and English and I said yes!

waitforit

donedeal

IMG_7061 (2)

IMG_20160508_211838 (1)