Friday, February 15, 2013

Engagement

Anthony and I went to nearby Clark Reservation for a walk almost every weekend. Every now and then, other graduate students would join us. My major Professor asked me once whether I was going out with Anthony. I told him, yes, we going out for a walk on the weekend. We were good friends since he came in 1987, not dating friends.
     We went to a conference hosted by the Rochester Academy of Sciences. Most graduate students decided to drive there and back each day since it was about a two-hour drive and it was a two-day meeting. Anthony offered that three Chinese students could stay in his parents’ house overnight and also would give us a ride to and from the meetings, since we didn’t have a car or money to stay in a hotel.
     We had a very nice meeting. I dressed up in my traditional Chinese silk dress that was a bit too much because it stood out and I attracted too much attention. It was the first time for me to attend this kind of professional meeting. The next time, I would dress like everyone else. Anthony’s mom cooked a very nice dinner for us even though Anthony had already guessed the menu on the way home. Yuli and I shared one of the bedrooms at their house during our stay.
     I had strangest dream that night. I dreamed that somehow I had dinner with Anthony’s family in the kitchen, which we never did. We actually had dinner in the dining room the previous evening. I saw a baby nearby our table crying so I picked up the baby so he would stop crying. It was a strange feeling because I did not know whose baby this was. I told Yuli about my dream. She told me that it might be my destiny. I laughed. We were just friends. We did not have anything beyond that. But my dream did awaken me to consider Anthony seriously. 
      I returned Anthony’s help by inviting him for dinner at Kathryn’s house. It was an eye opener for him since I cooked so many kinds of food he did not know and had never tried before, especially a number of vegetables. He tried everything and said "interesting." He was very nice to Kathryn, not like when Porter and Mark came to pick me up for our field trips. They made a "not so nice" remark. Kathryn and my friends Marjorie and Lucille were fond of Anthony too. It is important to see how good a person is by watching how he treats others especially those who are not so important in our society, or when there are no returns for being nice to someone. That was the Chinese teaching with which I grew up.
     He is two years younger than me, just like my dad two years younger than my mom.  I was born in 1961 and he was born 1963.  My mom just happened to be two years older than my dad.  She was born in 1931 and my dad was born 1933.  Even more interesting later I delivered my first child in 1991 last one 1998.  My mom delivered me 1961 and my youngest sister 1968.
          Just before Thanksgiving in 1989, we became engaged to be married. I was still a virgin. He later told me that he was a virgin too. Anthony took me to the store and let me choose my diamond ring. We showed my ring to Anthony’s parents at Thanksgiving. It was not "love at first sight" or a "dream romance." It was every day studying and working together. I guess that I finally learned that I needed someone to care about me more and share everyday living. I have also grown to appreciate gardens instead of cut flowers. I told Anthony not to buy me fresh flowers if he could not give me a garden. We have visited many gardens since he could not afford to give me one and he never brought me flowers.

     He  did write to my parents first, asking for their permission to marry me. My parents did ask me "why him"? and was there any Chinese boy I could consider first? They worried about me one day ending up alone since all they knew about Americans was from the movies. Love like lighting strikes comes and goes so fast. Marriage was not taken seriously in the US. I told them I tried Chinese boys and that did not work. My parents did respect my choice but only worried that they could not communicate with their son-in-law and grandchildren.