By Al Rodriguez
I wrote a piece for VOA 2014 titled “Ten Weeks and Counting,” focusing on the remaining time left before my daughter Nicole got married. My wife and I hoped that this marriage would be as enduring as the 35 years of marriage we’ve enjoyed. Well, to cut to the chase, it wasn’t.
Nicole came to us in deep distress, describing a number of troubling traits about her husband. Like most young people, she hoped that her husband would “grow” out of his behaviors as he accepted the responsibilities of marriage. But what pained her (and us) the most was her description of living within a marriage where she felt bad about herself every single day that she was with her then-husband. So, they split up and our daughter went about remaking her life.
One of the most supportive comments she received came from her boss, who quite frankly reminded Nicole that she had to get married three times before she found the love of her life. We hoped of course it wouldn’t come to that for our daughter. She told us she was determined to view herself as a “catch” and not settle for a second-best relationship.
And it was with this approach of valuing herself that allowed the story to take a positive turn.
Nicole enjoyed a close group of work friends and she occasionally invited my wife and me to her social get-togethers. I noticed that one of her male friends seemed particularly interested in her and apparently had been for some time. I asked her about him and when she blushed, I thought “and here we go.”
Cue forward a couple of years and wedding plans are in full bloom. Andrew Myung is his name and he has shown Nicole and us that he deeply cares for her and understands the responsibilities that come with a commitment to another person. We’re impressed that he’s well regarded within his public sector organization as an astute project manager with a strong skill set in fiscal management. We’ve enjoyed having his company during family holiday events and look forward to many more with him. As a Giants and Warriors fan, the one distressing trait that I’ve had to look past is his die-hard loyalty to the LA Dodgers and Lakers.
Core to Andrew’s make-up is his Korean heritage. We’re very pleased that in this time of ethnic and racial antagonism, Nicole and Andrew looked for and found love without regard to ethnic or racial differences. Elizabeth and I were able to do the same many years ago and to this day appreciate our different family and cultural backgrounds.
Andrew’s upbringing taught him to be respectful to us as Nicole’s parents and as his elders. We’ve met his parents and learned that they immigrated here from South Korea when they were young adults and have a large family network in Southern California. His parents were very welcoming and I hope they felt the same about us. In keeping with Korean tradition, Nicole and Andrew have decided to have two wedding ceremonies in November with the first being Korean-focused and the second more Western-based ceremony one or two weeks later.
So, Nicole and my wife Elizabeth are back on dress-shopping mode (thankfully I’ve been spared having to endure “Say Yes To The Dress ”), the date and venue have been settled, invitation lists have been crafted, save-the-date notices have gone out, and ceremonial details are being decided. Nicole and Andrew are happily finalizing the wedding details and are proudly negotiating reduced rates with all of the wedding vendors they will need. We’re happy they’ve found each other and that we can watch them embark on this new journey together.
Al and George continue to remotely rotate around each other’s orbits although Al is mighty proud of how brightly George’s star is shining these days. Al has slipped into retirement mode and has successfully fought off the employment itch that some often experience when finally out of the rat race. Al and his wife Elizabeth still reside in Santa Barbara and Al keeps himself busy with long bike rides, ocean swims, lousy movies and board involvement with a local community American Indian health clinic.
Editor’s note: Al Rodriguez has been a part of my life since grade school, when our fathers worked together at a pipe foundry in Union City, California. Through the decades, we graduated high school and college together, each became a husband and father, and remained best friends.
Tomorrow: Rachel Lippolis | Just a spark