Mai and Tyler's Proposal at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park
How We Met
Tyler and I met in Dallas on New Year’s Eve 2011, just an hour or two before ringing in the new year. In town from Ohio, Tyler was in Dallas visiting one of his best friends, Evan. Immediately when I saw Tyler, I knew I had to meet him (He was so handsome!). I introduced myself with my standard introduction, “Hi, my name is Mai like MaiTai, you know the cocktail!” But this time, I did not get a typical response like, “Oh, that is clever!” or “Is it spelled like that too?” He responded with, “That’s me too! My name is Tyler, Ty for short.” We laughed at the thought of MaiTy and immediately hit it off!
After New Year’s, I found myself hoping (Of course, secretly) for Ty to ask to exchange numbers to keep in touch, even though we lived more than a thousand miles apart. When it didn’t happen, I shook the idea, reminding myself that it was highly unlikely that I would ever see Ty again and to simply appreciate the start of the new year for what it was. I mean, with such a surprisingly lovely start, 2012 was bound to be a good one!
I was definitely right about the amazing year ahead, however, very,very wrong about never seeing Ty again. He surprise-delivered my favorite flowers in February, visited Dallas again in March and we were officially in a long-distance relationship by June. Since the day I met Ty, life has been a real adventure full of happiness, laughter and surprise!
And now four New Year’s later, here we are, together in New York City, approaching the next chapter in our journey. I am so excited for our big day in October!
How He Asked
A Little Background
I am a huge planner, so when my baby sister, Catherine, was coming for a long visit to New York after her spring semester, I had a list of things to do ready to go. On top of that, Cat just had a big birthday a month before.
In preparation for her arrival, Ty and I created a general itinerary of things to do, including an art installation I had been dying to go to, organizing a brunch to celebrate my sister’s birthday and attending Betsy’s 9th birthday (Ty’s cousin Kelly’s daughter / one of our sweet flower girls) at the boathouse in the park. And because I had work, I even created a few places for Ty and Cat to go visit on their own throughout the workweek. My sister was creating a five-seconds-a-day video of her trip, so I thought it would be great footage material for her.
The Most Uneventful Week in New York
But everyday that week, I came back from work and there they were: eating snacks, laughing and playing games. When I asked them what they did, they just responded, “Oh, just went to grab lunch…and now we are here.” Every single day! On Friday, once I got off work, I had big plans for us to visit the art installation – I was so excited.
When I met up with them both, Cat asked, “You’ve been raving about how cheap manicures are in New York, can we go? I have never gotten my nails done.” This girl has spent the entire week eating and playing games – and now she wants a cheap manicure in the city? I was immediately annoyed thinking that this was no way to spend a week in New York. Right when I was about to get upset, Ty added, “C’mon, just do what your sister wants. She is never in town.”
Begrudgingly, I took Cat to get her first-ever manicure. And she bugged me the entire time! “It’s springtime, get a nude! You always look so pretty with that color.” I told her to mind her own business and if she loved nude so much, she should just get it herself. So, I got a bright red-orange.
After a fun Friday game night with our best friends in the city, we all retreated back to bed to wake up bright and early for Betsy’s birthday party and the fun-filled planned birthday brunch for Cat.
The Big Day
As we were walking into the park, I was planning on who I wanted to ride boats with and urging Ty and Cat to hurry up before we were late. All of a sudden, Cat cuts off deeper into the park, away from the boathouse, saying she needed footage of the fountain that she had always seen in movies. Of course, I pushed both Ty and Cat to hurry up…we cannot be late to a birthday!
As Ty and I are waiting for my sister to capture her footage, we looked at the boathouse and water – it has always been one of our favorite spots in the city – reminiscing about the times we went on boat rides out there. We turn around to find my sister…and I see my grandma.
The first words out of my mouth to Ty were, “Is that grandma?!! What is she doing in Central Park?” My grandma, or my ba ngoai as I call her, lives in Texas and rarely flies, especially to visit New York on a casual weekend…so, naturally, my mind was spinning. And in the next moment, Ty was on one knee, explaining that he invited our families there and then asked me to marry him – of course, I said YES!
Ty’s master engagement plan for the weekend turned me upside down, leaving me with a million questions after my big response. “What about Betsy’s birthday? What about my sister’s birthday brunch? How did my grandma get here? Is that why we got our nails done? So, you guys weren’t just playing games all day? You were picking up the ring during that time?” The next few moments were such a blur, but filled with so much joy and surprise. My parents, grandma, Ty’s parents, Cait, Ashley, our friends – old and new – were there! And of course, in the background, Cat was crying and simultaneously capturing footage on her little camera. I was so shocked by the sudden change in weekend plans, which now included our families and friends and being newly engaged to Ty (I, Mai, was a fianceé!), that the first couple hours, I just could not make sense of all of it!
Because we live in New York, and with our families in Ohio and Texas, I had always imagined if we were to get engaged, it would just be us. So, I am eternally grateful and lucky to have found Ty, someone who holds family so close to his heart. It just wouldn’t have been the same without the support of our parents and sisters. As I have always been the weekend / event planner and coordinator between the two of us, I love that Ty planned with our families and orchestrated the ultimate surprise proposal that we will never, ever forget!