Gondola Ride Marriage Proposal

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How We Met: Victor and I first met in college at UCLA in 2008. He was a sophomore and I was a junior at the time. My best friend, Lucy, co-created a Christian acappella group with our mutual friend, Clement, and that was where fate brought us together. Victor had joined the group in its infancy and would occasionally drop by our apartment for group practices. At the time, I wanted to focus on my schoolwork, so I didn’t give much thought to joining the group. However, in my senior year, I decided to relax a bit and give it a try.

During practices, I didn’t really pay attention to Victor, but the one thing I did notice was that he would love to sing Disney songs! I am a huge Disney fan so it was fun to have a friend who loved to sing along with. Especially since Victor was practically the only male brave enough to sing Disney songs in front of people. That’s what first drew my attention because he was funny and silly.

Then during Spring of 2009, we decided to take some classes together and that’s where I got to know Victor on a deeper level. We would occasionally exchange history about one another and talk about our goals in life. I found it really encouraging to talk to someone who not only shared similar interests with me, but also shared similar passions and long term goals with me as well. The love of God, music, and serving were core values we shared along with many other interests.

In May 2010 we began dating, and in November 2010, Victor officially asked me to be his girlfriend. And on February 22, 2012, Victor popped the question! The time in between was well spent getting to know one another and our families.

From the Groom, How I Asked:
It took me forever to think of an idea. In fact, I drove to San Diego the week before and spent the day planning with my best friends Jacob and Y.Y. for an idea that would make Catherine feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

Here were some of the ideas:
1. Set up two large inflatable pillows on ski slope and then label them YES or NO. Then make Catherine take a ski lift and stop when we are right above the YES pillow (the NO pillow will be father away and inaccessible) I’ll be on the bottom waiting for her to jump and declare her answer. (too impractical/dangerous)
2. Take her to the beach at sunset and have friends set up a tent with lights and pictures of us. Sing a song to her. Propose. (too Christian)
3. Take her on a hot air balloon with 12 strangers. Sing a song in front of 6 other couples and propose. (too expensive, and too awkward)

Though each idea had their pros, we decided that we needed something more unique, more personal. So here it is:

It was a bright spring day and the flowers were just about to blossom for the first time since the hailstorm last winter that destroyed all the precious fruit-bearing plants of Southern California. It was the same day that the U.S. defeated the Soviet Union…in a game of hockey back in 1980. It was, to say the least, a victorious day.

I not-so-obviously asked Catherine to take a half-day off because her compassionate soul was unwilling to take an entire day off and leave her co-workers with too much extraneous work. Actually, she did not have any more PTO to spare but that is beside the point. When she got off work that day, I picked her up and we drove off into the bright afternoon sun like a fearless couple ready for whatever I had in store. You see, I had this plan to take her onto a gondola and propose to her, but God forbid that she would ever suspect such a thing. We were headed towards Newport Beach like a pair of immigrants ready to cross the Atlantic Ocean and return to our homeland. But before we were even remotely close to our destination, she asked if we were going to Disneyland for our day off. Clever, she thought she was. I responded “Sure, whatever you want” while thinking to myself that by letting her control the schedule she would never guess that I had something, something epic, planned for her that day.

So we arrived at Disneyland, parked in Downtown Disney even when we were not supposed to (rebels, ya know), got our ticket validated at ESPN (Asians, you should already know), and went to Disneyland. The trip was uneventful because it so happened that there was a national holiday and everyone received tickets to go to Disneyland – or so it seemed. We were unable to get onto any ride and compensated by eating ridiculously expensive Disneyland food.

After a short while, we decided it was not going to get anymore exciting than it already was so we left and I took her to Fashion Island. I wanted to buy her a blue hairband so I could dress her up as Ariel because I had friends who were going to wear sea creature costumes and reenact the “Kiss the girl” scene in Little mermaid in the middle of our gondola ride. My groomsman, Michael Long, and a good friend of mine, Mat Ma, spent the weekend tediously sowing and stuffing pieces of felt to create the following: (Please insert the first photo of everyone in costumes)

After procuring said hairband, I drove us to our destination and arrived not-much-later than 6:45pm, our appointment time. We jumped in the gondola and contrary to Catherine’s opinions, I gave no hints of what was about to go on or what was going to happen when we hit the 38th street bridge.

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While on the boat, I took out my guitar and played a song that I thought we would really be able to hold on to in our marriage. I chose “Dancing in the minefields” by Andrew Peterson. I changed the lyrics a little bit to fit us:

We are both twenty-three
This is the year we got engaged
Everyone says we were much too young
But we’ll do it anyway

We bought our rings for pretty cheap
From our friend’s shop down the road
We’ll make our vows and take the leap
We’ve got five months left to go

We’ll go dancing in the minefields
We’ll go sailing in the storm
And it’ll be harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for

‘Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there’s nothing left to fear
So I’ll walk with you in the shadowlands
Till the shadows disappear

‘Cause he promised not to leave us
And his promises are true
So in the face of all this chaos, baby,
I can dance with you
We’ll go dancing in the minefields
We’ll go sailing in the storm
And it’ll be harder than we dreamed
But I believe that’s what the promise is for”

I gave a speech afterwards but the contents of that speech shall remain private to keep it sacred. Then I popped the question that one should only ask once in one’s lifetime. The skies opened up, the sun came to a halt, two doves mated overhead and I felt a voice saying …YES!

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When we turned the corner, our friends were singing the song “Kiss the Girl” from the Little Mermaid, but modified the words slightly… (check out the video below).

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Aside from the gondolier slowing down at my speech, forcing me to me stall, and our friends still practicing when we turned the corner of the meeting place, everything turned out perfectly.

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