She's From: Taiwan
He's From: United States
Chapter 3 - "New York" February 1999
It was a long wait, but finally I travelled to JFK airport and picked up
my Love in February, 1999. This visit would be different from the short,
Tropical Taiwan vacation.
Chris and Sara having lunch with Chris's Grandpa in Connecticut
New York was chilly, and I had no vacation
time to spare, so I had to work all three weeks of her visit. But we
made the best of our free time together.
One day we took a horse drawn carriage ride around Central Park.
Afterward I paid a sidewalk artist to sketch her portrait. Then walking
back through the city Sara got to see snow fall for the first time in
On another day we went to the Museum of Natural History, and then saw
the Broadway play Cats afterward.
Sometimes we snuggled at home, other times we went out. She cooked for
me, rubbed my tired feet, and cleaned my house. I felt I was the
luckiest man on Earth. I did not ask for any of these things.
Sara only got to meet one of my family members during her New York stay.
That is because I don't have much family up here. Although the Havilands
are from New York (particularly Haviland Hollow which is an hour North
of me on my route), there are only distant cousins now. But Grandpa (my
mother's father) has a condo in Connecticut. His son, Uncle John, has a
house not much further. So Sara and I visited Grandpa on a Saturday at
his condo. Grandpa took us to dinner with his neighbor friend Ginny.
On a week day Sara also came into the city with me and we met Grandpa at
his office at CBS and went to a nice restaurant. As we walked along the
sidewalk toward the restaurant Grandpa said something that made Sara
happy... But it goes back to a funny discussion Sara and I had during my
trip to South Taiwan. As we were walking along the night-time streets in
Taiwan, she pointed out that the man should be always walking on the
outside, toward the traffic, with the woman toward the buildings. This
is to protect her from the vehicles. I had never heard this tradition in
my life, and I began to tease her by pointing out all the other couples
who weren't obeying those rules.
But today, Grandpa - by complete coincidence - said, "Chris, you need to
walk on the traffic side with Sara on the building side." Sara smiled
and said, "See I told you!" Grandpa has always been well versed in
On Valentine's Day we were going to meet up with Grandpa and Uncle John
and his wife for dinner, but it didn't work out because Sara and I were
otherwise detained on that day. ;-)
Sara and I developed a new level to our relationship during this visit.
It was as if we were a traditional married couple in some ways. I went
to work, she took care of the house, and we were together mostly in the
evenings to talk about our days.
I was a little nervous about letting her drive my car, but she got along
fine. She drove to the mall on her own, and to the market many times.
Like me in Taiwan, there were cultural things she had to learn about
America. One time I noticed that two of my huge sandwich-sized English
Muffin buns were gone from the new bag, and I said, "Wow honey, you ate
four English Muffins already!" She said, "No just two, I made a
sandwich." I said, "You mean you made two sandwiches." "No," she said,
"just one sandwich."
Then it dawned on me what she did. "Honey, do you know with an English
Muffin you are supposed to split it down the middle first?" "Oh, I
didn't know!" she said with amazement.
I tried to picture little Sara trying to eat this enormous sandwich with
two huge English Muffin buns clamping a shred of meat and lettuce and I
thought it was so cute I just wanted to cover her with kisses.
On almost the last day of her visit to New York, Sara had come to work
with me and set off on foot to see Chinatown on her own. On the way she
stepped into a pothole and hurt her foot really badly.
I took the next day off work and we went to my orthopedist. He X-Rayed
and could not find a break, but she could not put weight on it without
hurting, so he put her into a cast.
She had never worn a cast and was amazed at this because in Taiwan they
don't use casts unless bones are broken severely. It turned out to be a
bad sprain in the middle of her foot.
Anyway, my poor honey spent the last couple of days hobbling around in a
heavy cast. But we spent so much time loving each other, it didn't
Again we had to say goodbye. It was painful. We waited at the airport
for over an hour because we were early, and spentmuch of the time
sitting off by ourselves, hand-in-hand, quiet, and pensive.
What do we do about this? We are a couple now! But how do we go on?
After she left, she called me from an airport in Alaska where she
stopped over before flying on to Taipei. I wasn't home, so she left a
message on my machine. We already missed each other a lot. Discouraged
that she couldn't reach me by phone, she sent me a post card from Alaska
which I got a few weeks later, just to say, "I miss you."
We picked up our relationship on Instant Messenger and began talking
about our future
For the first time in my life, I am sure of my romantic future.
After Sara's February 1999 visit, I wanted her as my wife. Slowly, we
started discussing "what if" scenarios on the internet. What if we got
married, how many children would we have? What would be their names?
What kind of house would we want? Where would we want to live? Over a
careful 5 month period, these fantasies evolved into a more serious
discussion about getting married. I began to think of how and where to
ask her to marry me. It would not happen over the internet.
Plans began to form on what to do over the next year...
>> Continued in