How we started

The anticipation of the 2010 Olympics coming to Vancouver was exciting for most Canadians nation wide. I was one of them. 2009 saw a lot of decorative and structural changes throughout the cities here in the Lower Mainland. It was really nice to see so much world wide coverage in this tiny but growing city I live in. We held the Speed Skating events in the Richmond Olympic Oval. Unfortunately, by the time the events started, I was on the Carnival Dream cruise ship sailing somewhere in the Caribbean, sitting in my cabin with Patrick watching the Olympics play out on our television. We were also still on the cruise ship when Canada beat the USA 3 to 2 in men’s hockey. I remember people jumped out of their cabins and ran down the halls cheering. It was truly a memorable evening.

A couple of months earlier, I had met a girl in Hong Kong through a website for pen pals named I was the senior profile moderator there, who happened to come across a report on someone stealing another member’s profile biography. So I had to get in contact with the person of whom the profile was stolen from. To make this part of the story short, oddly put, her and I connected right off the bat. There were a lot of uncanny coincidences in our budding friendship leading to something more romantic. First of all, she lived in the exact same village I live in every time I go back to Hong Kong. She also has a very similar family situation that I have and she also has nearly identical values and life principles, which I rarely find in others. We also shared many other interests, philosophical ideals and outlook in life. In short, it seemed that I had finally met the person suitable for me after over a decade of broken relationships.

A lot of things went through my mind during my time sailing around the Caribbean. If you are wondering what I was doing there, I was the best man to my friend Jonathan Tsang. He got married to Martine. Our mutual friend Patrick Leung also went along. He was hired to be their photographer. He was also there to help ease my phobia of traveling alone. I have some very great friends who are very supportive and patient.The time spent island hopping and sailing, allowed me to rethink and refocus myself. One of these things I thought and focused on was my relationship with that girl in Hong Kong.

The thing is, I felt that things moved way too fast. I felt overwhelmed by the amount of emotion and expression I received from her. I appreciated it, but ultimately, I found that as much as there were a lot of uncanny coincidences and similarities in our life goals and ideals, we couldn’t match up at the same time. I felt that she was emotionally broken and I was too ‘bold’ in my other advances. Often times, I felt a huge amount of pressure just having a conversation with her.

So when I came back from the cruise, the first thing I did was tell her how I felt, which lead to a series of other non-related topics and eventually ended up with a huge misunderstanding. It sparked the bottled up negative emotions I had of her since about two months prior and that pretty much ended our budding friendship, that edged on a romantic relationship.

I wasn’t too torn about it. I thought it was a bit of a waste though and the thing is, I rarely thought past relationships were wasted experiences. It was just that this particular one fueled anticipation to meet the following year.

About a month had passed and a report from the online chat room at came up in the queue. This time, it was a report on a member named Amberly.Anne using vulgarity in the chat room. I quickly went to check up on it and found out that it was not nearly as bad as the report made it out to be. Coincidentally, she even became a profile moderator herself in the near future. I stayed in the online chat room for awhile. In my time spent there, I saw the usual clutter of conversations flying between people. For the most part, I stayed silent until the topic of art and design came up. It was right up my alley. So I started chatting with the locals about it.

In this chat, that same member Amberly.Anne who was reported took interest in my words and we started to chat with each other directly. She told me about her interest in art and design and a bit about her own paintings. I went to her profile and saw screenshots of some of her paintings, such as the Alan Rickman and Charlie Chaplain ones and commented that those were wonderful. I noticed the words she spoke with, which was very fluent considering I found out she is German. She wasn’t shallow in the way she talked. I felt every word she typed in the chat room. I knew this girl had substance just by the way she chose the words to use.

With that, we added each other as ‘friends’. We started off at the chat room, that lead us to posting messages to each of our profile page walls, that lead to private messages and finally to emails. Emails finally evolved to MSN conversations about two months later.

Our friendship had evolved to a romantic one when we started using MSN to talk to each other. In the beginning, I didn’t take it too seriously, but eventually, I had a feeling that I had to take it more seriously, otherwise she will get hurt. I confess that in the beginning, I wasn’t too sure about anything. How could I? She lived in northern Germany and I live in the west coast of Canada. That’s almost the other side of the planet. Regardless, time went on and as our romantic relationship strengthened, she started to get a peek of my temper as well.

Unfortunately, I was going through a dwindling period of my life where my job had to lay me off and my family partially relied on me for financial support. Fortunately, I was also doing freelance work on the side. So although I was ultimately laid off from my job, my former boss still hired me to do certain projects. Still, in this time of personal strife and anxiety, I often misunderstood the intentions of Amber, especially when we still primarily used text as our main communication method. However, I will post up these misunderstandings and how we eventually solved them in a different blog post later.

Anyway, time went on and we pretty much emailed, SMS texted and held MSN chats on a daily basis. In the winter time of 2011, Uncle Dick whom is the father of my childhood friend Patrick, offered to fly me out to Germany along with his friend Francis, so I could finally see my girlfriend in person! It was unreal for me, because although I had spoken to Amber that I was hoping to see her sometime in 2012 if I get enough money, which was most likely a no-go, I didn’t think I would get such a generous offer ever from anyone.

So it was settled and after I broke the news to Amber, she was literally weeping with joy. March 2012 rolled around and Uncle Dick lost his job suddenly. It was a mass lay off. He phoned me one morning and told me his situation and although my voice was optimistic, my heart died that instant. After I hung up, I called Amber and told her. She was also in a sudden state of panic and upset.

As the days went on, Amber went to a family dinner, got drunk and started texting messages. She was very upset and I wasn’t able to do anything about it. She persisted in telling me I need to go there sooner than later. I agreed, but what could I do? It was truly time we finally met in person. I love her and I need to hold her in my arms and tell her that in person.

An evening came and Uncle Dick, Francis and I went to a bar. For some reason, he acted like the trip was still happening and that whatever his job situation was, it didn’t affect or travel plans because they started planning on where to go, how to get there, when to meet up right then and there. I remember asking Uncle Dick, “So we’re still going?”

He responded, “Why wouldn’t we?”

My heart suddenly started beating in anticipation but I was also worried I was going to face another setback, a false hope. So I waited a couple of days for reassurance. Then I finally broke the news to Amber and she was also very happy, but worried as well.

The days came and went, leading up to the big day: April 6th, 2012. Please click here to read about my first visit in Germany to see Amber.

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