Andrea & Vidal: The Proposal Story

I originally delivered this story on Andrea and Vidal’s wedding day on August 25, 2007.  Happy Anniversary to a beautiful and blessed couple!


Andrea and Vidal met back in October 2001 in a grade 7 catechism class at St. Matthew’s. Vidal was serving as volunteer, while Andrea as the parish youth minister came into make some announcements and lead some games, including the popular Lava Game where you have to get from one side of the room to the other by only stepping on little mats, while avoiding falling in the “LAVA.” Or else you’ll melt. Vidal’s first impression of Andrea: Wow, she is beautiful. Andrea’s first impression of Vidal: There is NO WAY that guy is in grade 7, especially with his moustache. Vidal’s 2nd impression of Andrea was that not only was she beautiful, she was extremely competitive, as she cheating in the Lava Game, scaring the 12 year olds. Andrea’s 2nd impression of Vidal was that he was deep, a real thinker. And that he was easy to beat in the Lava Game. Andrea invited Vidal out to a future WYD meeting, and the seeds were planted.

Over the next few months, Vidal and Andrea became really good friends, and a lot of their getting to know each other came on drives home from youth events and gatherings with friends. It started off with Andrea offering Vidal a ride home after one such gathering. After dropping everyone off in the Marfori Taxi, Vidal was always the last one to be dropped off as he lived closest to her. Thus, they would get alone time, able to speak, share, and get to know one another. Vidal got creative, even selling his car on ebay just so he could get more rides home. Very smart. Except he then had no way to get to work in the morning. Not so smart.

Anyway, as their friendship blossomed, they were officially a couple of after a hike at Shannon Falls with the youth ministry. According to Andrea, Vidal kissed her first. Vidal’s thought was “this is something that we’re gonna do together for a very long time.” Andrea wasn’t sure if he was talking about the kiss or their relationship. But it didn’t matter. Andrea was smitten. And Vidal strategized on breaking the ice with Andrea’s parents. Rumour has it that he played the Lava Game with them.

While with the teens, Vidal and Andrea kept it professional and subtle, focusing on the teens instead of themselves. Thus, they didn’t hug, they didn’t hold hands, they didn’t take pictures together. And Vidal still didn’t drive to any events.

Fast forward a few years to July 2006. As the two of them talked more and more about marriage, Vidal planned a date to the Westminster Abbey in Mission. For those of you who don’t know, the Abbey is a Seminary where young men study to become priests. While looking forward to a nice day, Andrea was naturally a bit confused: this was truly going to be a make it or break it day. Shades of God or the girl.

They went for a walk under the hot sun, reaching a look-out point on a cliff, high up in the hills. In her head, Andrea was thinking that this would be a perfect place for Vidal to propose to her. She basked in the glorious sun, mesmerized by the magnificent view. How wonderful it was to share this with the man she loves.

Too bad the man she loves was 5 feet behind her, shaking and ready to throw up. Vidal is afraid of heights, and thus the only view he was admiring was Andrea’s back as SHE enjoyed the view off the look-out. This is the same guy who gets nauseous riding the escalator to the 3rd floor of Metrotown. I’m surprised he even made it up here tonight.

He quickly composed himself, and suggested they go for a walk to a nearby pond. After talking for close to 45 minutes, Vidal was ready to say those 4 magic words in popping the question. Well, it was more of a statement actually, and a beautiful statement it was: “My mom has been the woman of my life for the past 26 years, and now I’d like to ask you to be the woman of my life so I can share the rest of my life with you.” And with those 39 words, Andrea started crying in happiness. Vidal was crying too, but only because they were still above sea level.

To add to the incredible scene, an eagle was flying overhead. It was very appropriate given the prayerful surroundings of the Abbey: but this bird wasn’t a bird of PREY rather a bird of PRAY. Vidal: you have both God and the girl. You and Andrea truly are a match made in heaven. May God bless you both.



I Better Put a Ring On It

Over the last few months, it was becoming increasingly more difficult for me to take my wedding ring off.   Yes, eleven years of marriage and Gail’s good cooking have resulted in some extra poundage.  Combine that with a slowing metabolism and fewer opportunities to exercise, it’s no wonder I can’t fit into size 28 pants anymore.

During our recent roller hockey season, I was taking nearly 5 minutes to get my ring off.  No matter what combo of soap, hot water, yanking and twisting I used, it was always a painful experience that tested my resolve and tolerance for pain.  Noticing that my ring finger on my left hand was actually getting deformed from the now under-sized ring, I decided that enough was enough and I stopped wearing it at the end of July.  Gail was initially okay with it; it’s not like she was (or ever has been) worried about some stranger making advances towards me because I was without ring.

I didn’t wear my ring to Hawaii in early August, and we didn’t really make the ring a priority when we returned.  However, I was at a function on Friday night where I met quite a few new people.  And in sharing with them that I was married with three children, I noticed that a few of them glanced at my left hand at my bare fingers.  I hardly think they were checking me out, but I do think that it’s a natural thing to do when meeting someone new.  Or maybe it’s just a natural thing for ME to do when meeting someone new.  I feel it’s a natural conversation topic if someone is engaged or married.

Using the same rationale, I realized that I needed to start wearing my ring again so others didn’t think that I was single and checking THEM out.  Gail soundly agreed with this realization.

So the next day Gail and I went to the very same jewellery store where we bought my wedding ring 11 years ago.  In fact, Gail both impressed me and surprised me by producing the original sales receipt from June 2000.  After talking about some pricing options, it came time to measure my finger.

“What size was I?” I asked the store employee.

She measured my ring and answered “You were a 7.”

“Okay, cool” I replied, not really knowing what that meant.

She handed me the ring of sizing rings and I first tried to slip on an 8.  It didn’t even go past my knuckle.

Next was an 8.5.  I barely got it on, and in trying to get it off my knuckle cracked somewhat loudly.

A tad embarrassed, I asked Gail “Did you hear that, hon?”

“We all heard it” said the employee.


Next was a size 9.  This one slipped on easily and took a bit of work to slip off.  The 9.5 was too loose so after a bit of back-and-forth we decided to make the new ring a 9.25.  While we were completing the paperwork I asked the employee what the average ring size and size increase is.

“Well, most Asian men wear a size 7 or 8” she said.

“Oh good…so I was average to start off at least” I chuckled, mostly to myself.

“And the average increase in ring size is 1 or 1.5 sizes” she continued.

Using my uncanny math skills, I quickly computed that my ring size increase is 2.25.  Not the best thing to be above average in.

We thanked the employees and left the store, likely to return in a week or so.  When I put on my new old ring, Gail will be happy that I’ll once again be marked as “taken.”

And I’ll be thankful…as I always am…that God has blessed me with such a loving, forgiving, and understanding wife.

Our Hawaii Family Vacation (via Facebook Status Updates)

Here is a complete summary of our one-week vacation to Hawaii…as told by my Facebook status updates:

August 3 @ 10:54am:  An auspicious start to our trip: while the family was reciting the Guardian Angel prayer in the van, I broke into “Bless us, O Lord, and these Thy gifts…”

August 3 @ 4:29pm:  Of the 5 of us, Jake was the lucky one chosen for the random security testing. Can’t decide if it’s because of his necklace, his t-shirt, or his face.

August 3 @ 4:41pm:  Wow…traveling with my family is sure a lot different than traveling alone. Phrases like “gong show” and “dog’s breakfast” come to mind.

August 3 @ 11:17pm:  Having a little trouble distinguishing the locals from the Filipinos. Maybe they are all local Filipinos!

August 4 @ 12:55pm:  Thinking of starting up my own chain of stores down here: “XYZ Stores” sounds original enough!

August 4 @ 2:45pm:  Feeling the Aloha Spirit.

August 4 @ 10:58pm:  Excited for our first tour. Hope it turns out better than that other tour that embarked from Honolulu many years ago…that supposed 3-hour tour on the S.S. Minnow.

August 5 @ 10:54am:  Jake found a “SPAM Platter” at Jack in the Box. Needless to say, he’s a happy boy.

August 5 @ 10:06pm:  Angry Boys…next thing you know they’ll be breaking pieces of wood with their heads.

August 6 @ 10:24am:  Kayla was so excited to swim this morning that she blessed the poolside with a #1. Better outside of the pool than inside of it I guess!

August 7 @ 9:57am:  Thinking of doing a home version of “Silent Library” in honour of my Japanese roots. Now I just need 6 willing participants. Who’s in for some pain and some mess? :p

August 7 @ 2:46pm:  Enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon.

August 7 @ 3:45pm:  Today’s Mass reading from Matthew’s Gospel is one of my favourite passages: I guess Peter didn’t think that Jesus was going to call his bluff. :p

August 7 @ 7:53pm:  I think I have finally found my post-youth ministry job: a teppanyaki chef! I have the personality, the love of Japanese food, the sense of humour (questionable) and the coordination. All I need to do is learn how to cook.

August 8 @ 2:39pm:  Spent a few hours at Pearl Harbor: a fascinating look at one of the most historically significant places in world history. Didn’t see Ben Affleck though.

August 8 @ 6:00pm:  Taking the boys to hike Diamond Head tomorrow morn. Thanks to Oggy …I feel as ready as I’ll ever be!

August 8 @ 10:06pm:  Forget teppanyaki chef…I have found my true calling: as a hula dancer! Affirming comments only please. :p

August 9 @ 6:48am:  Sunscreen? Check. Power bands? Check. Water in pop bottles? Check. Off to Diamond Head!

August 9 @ 8:54am:  Proof that we made it…well at least the boys did.

August 9 @ 6:08pm:  Okay…forget teppanyaki chef and forget hula dancer. I want to be a tour bus driver: I enjoy driving and I enjoy talking. And I can do both at the same time!

August 9 @ 6:46pm:  Jacob McDonald, Sean McDonald, and Ronald McDonald. Once again, in their Angry Birds t-shirts.

August 10 @ 9:05am:  This trip has certainly been a blessing and has also re-affirmed the different personalities and relationships within our family: good, bad, and ugly. Gail and I have told the kids that the next trip will be just the two of us…haha!    

August 10 @ 9:49am:  Visiting Waikiki Beach one final time…albeit while picking up breakfast at McDonald’s.

August 11 @ 2:18am:  I’m surprised at how many Boston Bruins fans I met in Hawaii. Interesting to hear their perspectives on the series and their impressions of our city after the riot.

August 11 @ 10:56pm:  Home is where the heart is. Along with a bunch of shows on the PVR.

August 11 @ 11:42pm:  Timing is everything: a couple we met at the Seattle Premium Outlets today complimented our kids impressed with their politeness, respect for each other, and “advanced” vocabulary (their words).  Kayla’s next words were: “Jacob, you stupid idiot!”

10 Blogs and Videos for Sean’s 10th Birthday

It’s hard to believe that Sean Isaiah is already 10 years old! It was on August 2, 2001 that Gail gave birth to Sean at 3:53am at Richmond General Hospital. Over the past decade, Sean has blessed us with his maturity, sensitivity, and child-like faith.

Here are 10 of my favourite blogs and videos about Sean (5 of each).  Enjoy!


Easter Musings: Smart Sean, Sly Sean, Sneaky Sean (April 24, 2011): It was only a matter of time before Sean figured the Easter Bunny out.

Like Father Like Son (August 2, 2010):  Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Giving it His All (July 2, 2010):  Reflecting on Sean’s ball hockey season and track and field.

Quality Time (October 24, 2009):  After a long day of work there’s nothing better than some quality time with a quality kid.

Sean’s First Communion (May 10, 2009):  Sean receives Jesus Christ in the Eucharist for the very first time.


Sean Bustin’ A Move (St. Paul School Spring Fair Talent Show) (May 28, 2011):  See Sean dance to Rocketeer and Club Can’t Handle Me.

Getting to Know Sean Isaiah (January 17, 2011):  Hear Sean talk about his family, his favourite foods, his favourite hobbies, and his favourite vacation spots.

Where is the Love? (Sean and Tia at Skillz Talent Show) (June 12, 2010):  Sean and Tia do a little Black Eyed Peas.

Sean’s Book Report as a Rap (to Ice Ice Baby) (May 30, 2010):  In this rappin’ review, Sean enlists the help of Jacob, Kayla, and his rhythmically-challenged Dad.

The Faces of Imoo (January 3, 2009):  A blast from the past.