(To Crissy and Crissy's mom (!!!) -- I will concoct a lovely grammar post for you soon! I am giddy that Crissy's mom lurks! Hi!)
Today is all about love!
It was the summer of the year 2000. I was 23 years old, 35 pounds lighter, and at least four times cuter than I am now. Footloose and fancy-free, I came to Los Angeles to be wined and dined by The Green Giant (not my law firm's real name, in case you were wondering).
The life of a summer associate at a large law firm is heavenly. Fine dining is a daily event, and you truly are the sun -- it is no exaggeration to say everything revolves around you for nearly three months.
Nothing could be more different from the life of a real associate. It's some bad-ass false advertising, I tell you. It's like the biggest sham ever.
But we summer associates were not quite that naive. We were well aware that this was not what we would experience when we came back to The Green Giant a year later. Thus, armed with this knowledge, we lapped up the luxury as best as we could before reality set in.
"Why, yes, I would like an appetizer and a dessert in addition to my enormous steak, thank you very much."
It was this summer when I met my longtime pal BPLJ. I still remember the first time he stopped by my office to see if I wanted to go to lunch. I thought, "What a friendly guy." Little did I know he would become one of my best friends, and we would see each other nearly every single day for over six years. He is like the Scarecrow to my Dorothy self.
But, far more pivotal, it was this summer that I met Mr. Monkey.
'Twas a day like any other day that summer. I was putzing about, pretending to do work when, in reality, I was surfing and surfing and surfing until it seemed that I'd reached the end of the Internet. Again. The "working" part of being a summer associate is a joke.
My phone rang. It was Stein, a friendly first-year associate who was most excellent about organizing lunches and outings to Dodger games and glow-in-the-dark golf. Stein told me to come down to his office. I grabbed my yellow legal pad and a pen and walked downstairs.
When I got there, Stein was smiling and seemed really excited.
"Come in, come in. Shut the door."
I shut the door and sat down.
"What's going on, Stein? Do you need me to research something?"
"No, no, no. This isn't work."
"Well, then...what is it?"
"Do you want to go out with my friend?"
"Do you want to go out with my friend? He's really cool. And he's Taiwanese, too!"
Little did Stein know that I'd never dated anyone of Asian descent. It always felt incestuous to me. I'm not really sure why. I felt like all Asian boys were like my brother.
And who wants to date her brother? Outside of Appalachia, that is.
But, notwithstanding my feelings on dating my fellow yellows, I said ok. After all, this was a summer-long interview. I needed to get an offer for a permanent position upon graduation, and I wasn't about to jeopardize my chances by turning down a date.
It was just a date, after all. And it wasn't even going to be a real date. I was going to meet up with Stein and a bunch of other people, including this mysterious Taiwanese guy, at a Jayhawks concert at the Santa Monica Pier. No big deal. Casual.
I went. We all had drinks together. We all went to the concert together. It wasn't very good. I don't think the mysterious Taiwanese guy and I exchanged more than 10 words the whole night. It was loud. And crowded.
I didn't think much of the non-date. The mysterious Taiwanese guy seemed sweet, but nothing really struck me beyond that. I wasn't swooning in the least.
Stein asked me what I thought on Monday. "He was nice." Stein said the mysterious Taiwanese guy would call me.
He did, and we went on a second date. Or, rather, a real first date -- a first date that Stein calls The Longest Date Ever, and, funny enough, Stein was part of this date, too.
The mysterious Taiwanese guy picked me up early on a Saturday morning, and we went hiking in Malibu. Now, those of you who know me recognize that this is no small feat for the Monkey to (1) wake up before 11 a.m. on a weekend, and (2) engage in outdoor physical activity for recreation. But I did it. And it was really very enjoyable.
The mysterious Taiwanese guy became less mysterious. He was so easy-going and kind. He held my hand to steady me and my clumsy self. He packed a picnic. He pointed out pretty views and interesting plants and rocks. We eventually sat on a log and talked about everything and nothing for a really long time.
And we shared a lovely kiss on that log.
The sun was setting, and the Taiwanese guy took my hand. We walked back to the car and drove to his place. We got cleaned up and changed into party clothes and met up with Stein and about a dozen other people at Tokyo Delve's.
Good God. The dichotomy.
Very quickly, we were all doing sake bombs and standing on our chairs, screaming and dancing.
I think the date was over 15 hours long.
And I still liked the boy, even after being with him all day.
We became inseparable that summer, much to Stein's delight. What could be better than one of your best friends from high school dating one of your beloved co-workers? Stein told the Taiwanese guy, "Dude, this is the one you're going to marry."
Did I know then that this was the one I was going to marry? No. I think the Taiwanese guy knew much earlier than I did. I think he knew just a few weeks in, just like Stein did.
It wasn't until about a year later that I contemplated this. I was done with law school and back in California, studying for the bar exam. The Taiwanese guy was so supportive and wonderful and put up with all the crazy.
And, trust me, there was a lot of crazy.
I think that was when the Taiwanese guy became Mr. Monkey for me. He was the one.
A little over six years after Stein set us up on a blind date, Stein married us.
And now Mr. Monkey and I are in the process of living happily ever after.