Whenever we were asked how we met, Bryan would historically say, “Oh, we met online.” But that’s not entirely true. People tend to imagine we met on a dating site, but although the true story doesn’t make us that much cooler we actually met through a mutual friend who brought Jen to a small design forum that Bryan frequented.
Through a series of coincidences and a mutual fondness for DDR, we met in person shortly after at a GameWorks in Ontario, California on the night of August 21, 2002. After that fatefully geeky encounter, our paths were linked and the two of us were changed FOLEVAH. Nine years later, we will finally be able to celebrate and formalize what we’ve always seen ourselves as—inseparable.
“Welcome to Our World”
When we started creating the invitations, we knew pretty much from the beginning that it would take the form of a CD slipcase. What we hadn’t planned out at the time was what would eventually go on the accompanying disc. The idea came to us later, as we realized that most people we were inviting only knew one facet or two about either or both of us.
That thought sparked the idea of creating a DVD which allowed you to spend some time with us—not only reliving the night we met, but also experiencing what our lives are about and seeing how we work as a couple. Five days of filming and two weeks of editing later came out this 1-hour, 16-minute feature which we eventually titled, “Welcome to Our World.”
So as we share a few of our memories from the last nine years, we will post videos from the DVD to accompany them, the first of which chronicles the day we met a GameWorks:
After we started dating—the date we picked for our anniversary being February 21, 2003 (from lack of actual knowledge of when exactly we became official)—we would visit each other twice in following months because Bryan was still attending college in Rhode Island while Jen lived in Los Angeles. Jen visited in April for two weeks (as was alluded to in the video) and Bryan visited Jen for a week in late May after the end of the school year. That’s when he met her parents for the first time and then later proposed to her at the Santa Monica Mall after asking her to choose a ring for herself.
As an aside, said ring isn’t the current one, there’s been three rings total. The first had to be returned within a few days, the second was lost in a hotel after surviving most of the relationship (R.I.P. Second Ring 2003-2008), but the third was the charm. Jen was able to design her own engagement ring last year and it was more than a suitable replacement.
“Endless Summers of Moving”
When it comes to us and crazy ideas, they usually go through this process:
- The idea is introduced.
- We joke about how ludicrous the idea is.
- The jokes turn into what-ifs and the planning begins.
- The previously joked about idea is carried out.
This has been recurring in our relationship, which first happened in the summer of 2003, when Bryan jokingly offered that Jen should move in with him. With the blessing of her parents, she did just that in October. And the moving begun!
We lived in Providence (place of residence #1) until Bryan graduated from college in 2005. The plans were to move to South Carolina with Bryan getting a management job and Jen attending school at the Savannah College of Art and Design. After being unimpressed by the after-graduation job selection, that plan was nixed and we moved back in with our parents while Bryan regrouped.
With guidance from his dad, Bryan headed to Silicon Valley to find a job, where he eventually was hired by Facebook. We moved back in together in San Jose (#2) in August of 2005 and would stay in the area until August of 2007, after a move to neighboring Santa Clara (#3). By then, Bryan had turned into a freelancer and we were pretty much free to live where we pleased.
So from there, we decided to move to Seattle (#4). We fell in love with Seattle immediately and settled in the South Lake Union area in 2008 and on Mercer Island (#5) in 2009. Around April of 2009, freelancing took a turn for the worse and after a series of unfortunate events, we moved to Los Angeles (#6) in July of 2009 and have been here ever since.
Future plans for places to live include Japan, Hawaii, back to Seattle, and then to Mars as soon as it’s colonized.
“Together we make…”
In conversations about our relationship, when it comes to what one person gave the other, it usually goes something like this:
- Jen gave Bryan balance and sanity.
- Bryan gave Jen ambition.
When Bryan left Facebook in 2006, he started Revyver, which at the time was meant to be a small web design studio. Around the same time as Bryan was growing Revyver, Jen started proposing some of her many ideas, many of which were web applications. Unfortunately, the applications were so niche in nature that finding a suitable programmer who also had interest in the subject matter was closet to impossible. As a result, Bryan started trying his hand at programming and brought Jen on as the co-owner of Revyver in 2007.
The focus of Revyver began to shift as Bryan became better at programming and the two of us in general were becoming a stronger team. No longer would the focus be on clientele, but on applications for the fans of our interests. So you could say that Jen single-handedly changed the focus of not just Revyver, but Bryan’s career, to where it is today.
This team aspect has carried on ever since and has helped in almost everything we do. We know how to work with each other under lasting pressure and split-second deadlines. There is no such thing as “can’t” with us, just “how.”
We go into it in the middle of this next video, sandwiched by conversations on how we each found our love for Japan before coming together as Japan-aholics and our five cats.
There’s no telling how far our team will go further strengthened by our vows. But the gifts that we gave each other throughout our relationship has helped us get this far with sights set on a very bright future no matter where we happen to apply our efforts. :)
“Travel Addiction: Recovering Japan-aholics”
Our travel histories were pretty similar growing up. Outside of our home turf, each of us had only visited the country relative to our cultural background (Mexico for Jen, the Philippines for Bryan). Jen had a stint where she lived in Canada as a kid, and Bryan had gone on family vacations within the U.S., but neither had really gone as tourists to get to know new countries and cultures.
Once we started living together, the idea of travel was a topic we explored with idealistic interest, but almost with a sense that it wasn’t something very feasible. Granted, back then on a student’s budget it really wasn’t feasible, but even thinking of it as a future possibility didn’t seem very real. That, however, didn’t stop us from watching The Amazing Race late into the night and ragging on the contests as if we (with all our experience, of course) could easily communicate, adjust and perform better than all of them.
After Bryan got his first big job we started talking about traveling more realistically, but when it came to saving up the money for it something always seemed to get in the way before we even begun. It wasn’t until 2008, when Jen was getting very serious about wanting to visit Japan, that a string of stories from people who had been, were there, or were planning to go to Japan prompted her to decide it couldn’t be that hard if so many people were doing it. A plan of the utmost determination was hatched, and by March 2009 it came true—Bryan and Jen went on their first real vacation together, and on their first exploration of a country foreign to them, by visiting Japan.
This was possibly a bad move, because they fell in love with the place so deeply that whenever the opportunity to travel again came up, the most desirable place for them to go was always Japan. In December 2010, they went back for a second visit, this time because a commemorative concert they absolutely wanted to be present for took place in Yokohama (Morning Musume Concert Tour 2010 Fall ~Rival Survival~ Kamei Eri, JunJun, LinLin Graduation Special).
The third opportunity has presented itself in the form of our honeymoon. We plan to go to Japan after a quick stop in Ireland (made possible thanks to Bryan’s company, GitHub), which will be our first time ever in Europe. Our first time ever in any place that is not in North America, the Philippines or Japan for that matter.
We hope to get just as hooked to Europe as we are to Japan, because at this rate we will only ever travel outside of Japan when somebody else is paying for one or more of our tickets. We are working out other possibilities on how to get around this dilemma, so far we have a few:
- Live in Japan. That way travel will have to be to other countries!
- Apply for The Amazing Race (we’re not kidding, actually).
- Get filthy rich.
Ideally, we’re going for all three.
Our future prospects are looking good. We have a timeshare and are determined to travel abroad at least once a year from now on. We do have a list of places we would like to see within the next 5 years.. maybe we’ll put a challenge on our travel blog to make sure we do so!