Tricia and Lafi

How We Met

We met back in 2013, during our 1st semester in graduate school. In the class, we are a small group of 12 but Lafi and I instantly clicked because we both came from the same university in college, same department and actually, I believe we also have the same kind of humor. I knew right away that we would get along well! Graduate school is a challenging journey. Balancing work, readings and time in class is pretty gruelling. Having the right support system is one of the key to making it alive and we got that from each other. We would often send each other messages of encouragement on a daily basis and would go to the school library on weekends to study together. We are each others’ support system. It was a fine saturday supposedly dedicated to a day of studying when everything changed. Lafi asked if I would like to watch the movie “Man of Steel” with him just to destress and cool down. I know we both needed it so I willingly obliged and went with him in the movie house. The supposed “study day” turned into our first “actual date”. Before the movie started, we decided to pass time in a nearby coffee shop and get to know each other more. I learned more about his family, his interests and hobbies, the books and movies he likes and the places he wanted to someday visit. We exchanged stories of our travels, of the things that makes us happy and of even our future plans and dreams. In that conversation, we discovered that we both loved the movie and book — Memoirs of a Geisha and both expressed the desire to visit Japan someday. I did visit Japan before, and the featured place in the story Fushimi Inari Shrine but, it was before I read the book Memoirs of a Geisha so I share the same sentiment of visiting that special place someday again. From that moment, I knew we are destined for each other. -Tricia

How He Asked

A proposal in Fushimi Inari April 19, 2017manilatraveler For the longest time, I’ve always wanted to see the beautiful Fushimi Inari shrine, I was amazed by its beauty when I saw the young Sayuri run through those now famous black and orange torii gates and just seeing pictures of it already inspired my wanderlust.

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The day was gray and rainy On our first full day in Kyoto, we made our first stop in Fushimi Inari. That day, it wasn’t a clear and sunny day but rather the opposite. There was no sign that the rain was going to let up or not even a peek from the sun, it was cold and gray. That of course didn’t dampen my spirits, rain after all is a blessing and a sign of good luck. Getting down from Fushimi station, the first thing I see were the gates and the shrine, even with the constant drizzle the view was still astounding.

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Listen to the gentle chimes We walked past the shrines and quickly made our way to the torii gates, but not before taking in the beautiful temple with the monks and visitors praying, or the walls filled with wooden boards filled with writings and what I surmise can only be blessings. Filled with excitement, we finally made our way to the black and orange torii gates. In front of me were two paths, one for monks and the other for tourists, being the obedient people that are, we took the tourist path. As we passed through each gate, I couldn’t help but take in the sight before me, rich orange and deep blacks, writings on each pillar (which I would find out later on were prayers and well wishes), all of these were exquisitely done and just marvelous to look at.

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Savoring each moment However, more than just looking at the wonderful gates, there was another reason why I really wanted to visit this beautiful shrine. It was to propose to my longtime girlfriend, Tricia, whom I felt already had an inkling of my plans. With deep breaths and with the rain not letting up, I decided to go down on my knee, bring out the engagement ring, and ask her. What happened next was the one word that I had been waiting for a long, long time, a resounding “yes!”.

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I asked THE question and she said “yes!” And so I had asked the big question and I got the answer that I wanted. I proposed in a place that both Tricia and I found beautiful. At the same time, we would find out later that the shrine itself is dedicated to prosperity and abundance, the message could not have been more hopeful. To Buddha and the rains, thank you for making my first visit to Fushimi Inari extra memorable and special. -Lafi