Recap of last year and 2015 goals

2 Jan

Happy New Year y’all! I hope you celebrated exactly the way you wanted. We came to see Oma in central-east Germany, and stayed at a fancy hotel for NYE overlooking the market square where all the fireworks were. It was a real treat! Now we are still in Oma’s city but have switched to a more affordable apartment. The apartment has a kitchen which is great for 2 vegans! :)

2014 was a really great year. We planned to have a restful time with little travel, and that’s exactly what we did! We needed an easy year.

Even still, a lot has changed over the last 12 months. Here’s a recap of 2014:

– I moved in with Martin. Happiness!!

We had been living apart for 2 years because of my faraway job. I gave notice to quit said job at the beginning of the year (with no job lined up) and we immediately started apartment hunting for a new place. It felt so liberating to prioritize my personal life over my working life.

– New job closer to home (i.e. Martin)!

I went from a small 20 person German company to a multinational company with thousands of employees. There are good days and bad days of course, but overall the job is a good fit for me and so is the company. I started out on a 1-year contract with a 6-month probation (!), and after 5-months, my probation was shortened and I was presented with a permanent contract effective immediately. It required some pressuring on my end (i.e. I applied to and got another job!), but still it worked out very well. :)

– I’m married!

2014 was the first full, calendar year that I experienced as a married woman. It does NOT feel the same! I don’t mean that you need to be married in order to be committed, or that being married is better than not being married, because really it can go either way. For us, being married changed our relationship and I felt it. I feel I am maturing in my marriage and working together (nicely!) in a partnership – and it feels GOOD. I also got the hang of refering to Martin as ‘my husband’, although I don’t wear a ring. Compromises, you know? ;)

– Vegan husband.

I mentioned this at the beginning of the post, but it deserves it’s own bullet point. My meat-loving, meat-eating German husband went balls out VEGAN without me even asking him to or pressuring him in anyway! He did it on his own for his own reasons, and for that I’m so proud of him. It was a happy surprise and I can barely believe that I have a vegan partner in crime who can understand the challenges and help me navigate it through the German culture. Woo hoo!!!! btw, being vegan isn’t that hard at all. It seems hard and takes some discipline at first, but it’s actually quite natural and easy to do. Plus all the health and lifestyle benefits are a no brainer. If you need help, ask me!

– No Toronto.

I normally visit Toronto 1-2 times per year, but 2014 was the year I didn’t. This was intentional because I didn’t want to do any international travel, I was just starting a new job, and we just wanted to relax. Toronto is not very relaxing since I have a thousand friends and spend most of my time making plans and being out and about. While I’m glad I didn’t visit, I’m also missing Toronto a lot. I was thinking of holding out on Toronto again for 2015, but I’m not sure I can do it. We’ll see how it goes.

– Mentor.

I started working with a mentor who has been teaching me lots of good stuff. Another perk to working in a big company is that I’ve been exposed to many nice and helpful people, which is not only good for my career, but also my life in Germany. Very grateful about this.

– Vegan birthday.

I celebrated my 33rd birthday which was also my 3rd year vegan anniversary. This year, I really felt like I grew into being vegan and became stronger because of it. I’m writing about it so vaguely, because I can’t really describe what happened this year, but the idea of being vegan and the way of life became very entrenched in my soul (and my daily practices). Soon I will be celebrating my 20th vegetarian anniversary (!), but it’s not as big of a milestone to me as being vegan is. Basically, this is how I’ve always wanted to live without even realizing it until I started living this way. Everything is falling into place and the cornerstone of this all, I feel, is being vegan. Living my life in a purposeful way. Activism at every meal, voting with my money. It’s just so me.

– Living in Germany fer realz.

A big difference from 2013 is that I actually, truly, starting really liking living in Germany in 2014. It’s my 4th year living abroad (5 if you count my first stint – which I don’t!), and I can see myself living here for the next big chunk of time. I couldn’t see this before, so it has been huge for me. My friends here have also noticed it, without me even telling them so. It’s been a big mental shift.

2015 Goals

Moving forward, I want to stay on the same track as 2014. I want things to stay simple, to enjoy, and to continue being grateful for this beautiful life ahead.  :mrgreen:


29 Dec

Happy holidays y’all!

We have 2 weeks off and are celebrating in the rural countryside of east Germany.

This is my favourite Christmas gift, gifted to me from my in-laws:


It’s a really well done vegan cookbook written by a German author in Berlin. Which means, the ingredients are easy to source here, so no more having to make crazy substitutions. The cookbook also has an editorial spread of every dish, making it fun to flip through. My other vegan cookbooks contain almost no pictures (but yet have great recipes!). I haven’t tried any of the recipes in this book yet, but they are very creative and use simple ingredients (vegetables!), so I’m excited to try and I can already tell it’s gonna be good.

Come to think of it, this is actually my favourite gift from my in-laws:


kekekeke. ;)

Poor city, rich city

21 Dec

I’m considering letting go of my domain. I renew it every February for about $11, which is not too much of a hassle, but what do I really need it for? This blog will still be hosted by WordPress, just without the domain re-direct. Hmmmm.

Maybe I should get on Instagram! It’s more visual and less wordy, I think. Sharing pictures tends to be more striking than what I’m writing here anyway.

Gosh I feel old.

But I also love feeling old!

Because I don’t actually feel old. Physically, I mean. I eat better and am more active now than I was in my 20’s. My life in general, is more balanced and healthy too, despite having more responsibility on my plate.

Martin and I are searching for a house or an apartment to buy. We’re leaning more towards an apartment, because we want to live quite city-central, and are torn (at least I am torn) between buying in an under appreciated, economically depressed steel city, versus buying in the wealthiest city in this region.

Probably it seems very obvious, like duh, go with the rich city. But there are pros and cons to both.

Obviously, cost of living is a big factor. If we lived in the rich city, all of our costs would go up significantly. The real estate market in the rich city is tougher and the costs are double, if not triple the price of the poor city. The rich city is closer to my work, but farther from Martin’s, and Martin is the one driving to work (gas is $$$ here). The poor city’s infrastructure is excellent though, and is literally 20 minutes away from the rich city.

So that’s really the difference for me: 20 minutes.

Could I put up with an extra 20 minutes of commuting each way, living in a poor city, but only having a much lower mortgage? Like a 5-10 year loan versus a 25-30 year loan. Hmmm.

This 5-10 year loan thing is very enticing for me. But the market in the poor city is not very elastic, so it’s likely the price of the apartment won’t at all rise, not even to match the rate of inflation. Which basically means it’s losing money, which maybe doesn’t matter since we are living in it and also saving bank while doing so.

Real estate in the rich city is expected to rise. But the spread of renting versus buying in the rich city is far too great. Like nothing meets the 1% rule. Which makes me think it’s a bit of a rip-off.

Maybe the answer is really just to rent. I’m also a big fan of renting! I love the flexibility of picking up and moving whenever we want or if our circumstances change.

We don’t have the answer yet but currently we are house hunting and that’s kind of fun. :)

The Gift of Paper

5 Oct

Today is mine and Martin’s first wedding anniversary!

We had said we weren’t going to exchange gifts, because we don’t generally give gifts anyway (we’re one of those couples – we don’t even exchange birthday or Christmas gifts!). But he surprised me this morning by gifting me with the sweetest gift ever – a picture of myself. :)

Just kidding, sort of!

Martin is an avid hobby photographer so has tons of pictures of us and everything we do. He sorted through his picture-stash, selected 1 for every month, and made a calendar out of it for me! Every picture is a selfie of the 2 of us from the previous years’ month. We had started taking these couples-selfies in the first summer we met (before ‘selfie’ was even a term, and before we were even a ‘couple’!), and have continued on with this silly habit of ours, much to our delight. :mrgreen:

Us househunting in Sept 2014.

House hunting in September 2014

I’m impressed that Martin could fit this calendar-making into his busy schedule. He had to first match up the pictures with the correct month, create a calendar template, and manually insert all the pictures. Then adjust for margins, colours, and get it all printed. All while I was practically next to him.

Yesterday when I was clothes-shopping, he said he would duck out to go to the electronics shop, and said he would come find me later. Little did I know he was actually getting each calendar month printed as a photo! Then later when we were at home, he made the base stand out of garbage!

Literally garbage! There was some stiffer cardboard packaging that he retrieved from our paper-recycling bin, and got to work making the calendar stand by hand. It looks amazing! Fantastic crafts[person]ship. Something that you would buy from Etsy.

Newlyweds in Toronto

Newlyweds in Toronto

Martin wanted to stick with the theme of first wedding anniversary gifts, which is paper.

It is soooooo sweet. He is soooooooooo sweet!!!!!!!!!!

Thank you Sweetie!!!!!!!!!! <3<3<3

Looking at this calendar, we’re a pretty active couple. We’ve travelled to 8 countries and easily 20+ cities together in our first year of marriage alone. Holy cow!

Mostly we are homebodies though, which is shown in some of the pictures too.

I’m often marvelling to Martin about how we are so fortunate to be able to live the lives we live. There’s not a day that goes by that I’m not over the top grateful for everything.

It’s also pretty surreal being married.

I’m very grateful to be married to my love and best friend.

Martin and I are actually very different. We come from different countries, different cultures, and we have very different ways of dealing with life. It can definitely be challenging at times, but we work through it together. For someone who grew up so differently than I did, he certainly can understand what I mean and where I’m coming from. And if he doesn’t, he hugs me. It feels so nice to have a partner who is equally as committed to keeping our relationship healthy and strong.

Also, Martin is extremely intelligent, kind, funny, tall, and HOT. Really the whole package. Basically, he exceeds my definition of dream guy, really. :)

Settling into my new life

31 Aug

My new job is going really well. :mrgreen:

I feel extremely lucky to have gotten my job, because it’s not only a very interesting and engaging job (with very nice people), but I also get to live with Martin again.

Working in a big company has also expanded my German network by a lot. There are a thousand people working at my office, and obviously I haven’t met all of them, but I’ve met a good bunch of them already. I actually meet up with people after work now, it’s nuts!!

Before I would finish work at my 20-30 person company, walk home in 15 minutes, and just stay in and stream Glee. I didn’t feel like going out because it would take 1-2 hours to get to my friends in Cologne or Düsseldorf, and after a long day, that was way too much effort.

Now that I live only a 20 minute train ride from Düsseldorf, and like literally everyone I’ve met at work, my social calendar has exploded. But that’s not always a good thing (or at least not a sustainable thing) for an introvert like me, so I limit myself to only 2 social engagements per week.

Actually, me and 2 work friends sort of made a deal to go out twice a week (not necessarily together) without our partners, so that we could establish a social life here in Germany that was more about us. The reason being that sometimes, when you come over abroad for someone, your whole abroad-identity is tied up to being a partner to them, and we knew that we needed more than that to feel happy here long term.

So that’s where the 2x per week came in!

I think I will reign it in sometime soon though, because I do like spending my free time with Martin. :)

My 1 hour commute has been the biggest adjustment so far. 1 hour is not that bad, I know, but I am the type to want to close the gap on commuting and move closer to work. Which is how I ended up livng 100km away from Martin in the first place. It’s also how I ended up moving from my parents’ house in east Toronto, to living literally across the street from my inner city university back in the day. So 1 hour is a lot for me.

We have talked about moving closer to my office so that I could walk/bike to work, and Martin will do the lion’s share of commuting by car. But I’m not sure that’s a good solution either for a multitude of reasons. We’ll see how it goes and re-evaluate it next year.

Otherwise, no complaints really, except that the summer is almost over. :(

Wanderlust tag

18 Jul

We just got back from hanging out with my parents in Normandy, so I figured it would be fun to do this wanderlust tag.

1. Your most treasured passport stamp?
None. I don’t treasure these things.

2. Can you recite your passport # from memory if asked?

3. Preferred method of travel: planes, trains or automobiles?
When I lived in Toronto, I would have said planes because I liked to travel far. But now I’m perfectly more than happy to travel by train or car. Last weekend we drove for 6 hours from Germany through Netherlands, Belgium, and northern France!

4. Top 3 travel items?
– comfy shoes
– my phone (has all my maps and saved wiki travel pages on there!)
– my hot guy (not that he’s an item or anything, keke. he’s just really cute and I like me some eye-candy!)

5. Hostel or hotel?
Neither, I prefer Airbnb or staying in an apartment/house. I like having a kitchen, and it’s usually so much more flexible with check ins/outs, plus it connects you to a local who you can hit up for travel advice. I also like to see how people live in real homes rather than just the inside of a hotel chain.

6. Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?
Ugh, I’m a total repeat visitor. I can’t help but want to re-visit places I’ve already been, sometimes several times. Like I’ve been to Paris 8 times, and London 6 times! None of these trips were work trips either (okay one to London but I extended it for some after work fun!).

7. Do you read up on your destination (culture, history, safety) or do you wing it?
I used to research like crazy when I travelled less frequently, but now that travelling is EASY since I live in and travel mostly around central Europe, I tend to wing it. :)

8. Favorite travel website?
I like happycow (to look up vegan restaurants!) and wikitravel. But I also like to look up blogs from people who have travelled to whatever spot I’m going to and who happen to want to write about it verbosely. :)

9. Where would you recommend a friend to visit? Name city & why.
Honestly, where Martin and I got married was AHHHH MAAAAZZINGGGGG. Fly to Calgary, drive to Banff National Park, and then to Jasper National Park. The drive between Banff and Jasper is like 3 hours, but it will take you 9 hours because you’ll have to stop and absorb the beauty. It’s soooooooooooooo nice. I wanna go there now.

Other than Alberta, I’d recommend you visit somewhere in South East Asia. I hear Vietnam is very nice and underrated as a travel destination. I have only been to SE-Asia earlier this year for our honeymoon in Bali, but that has really woken me up to see MORE. It’s incredible!

I would also recommend that you visit north-west Germany, because I live there and am a super cool person to visit. 8-)

10. You’re leaving tomorrow, money is no option, where are you going?
It’s hard for me to answer these questions because money is never NOT an option for me, and I also prefer it that way. If I could just throw money at every turn, it wouldn’t be fun anymore. I like figuring things out, trying to stay on budget, and working with what I’ve got at that moment.

Like when we were in Beijing, we could have booked a private driver for the day to take us to the Great Wall and back for less than the cost of going out for dinner here. But instead we looked up the local train schedule and figured out how to get there even though we don’t read Chinese. Taking the Chinese train was an experience in itself, and not one that I will soon forget (in a good way).

Instead of sitting alone together in a nice car, or sitting on a bus with other western tourists, we sat with local Beijingers who happened to be touring the wall too. I peed in a squat toilet on a fast moving train! We had to RUN to get a seat because everyone else was also running (there were like a thousand people!). I laughed with glee as I tried to run with the crowd as fast as I could to catch a seat (and I was running slow because I was laughing ^_^). Everyone ended up getting a seat anyway because even though there were a thousand people, there were like 1,200 seats! Asides from the actual Great Wall itself, taking the train there was one of the big highlights of my China trip. And the price? A whopping $1.50 each. Or should I say: Priceless. :mrgreen:

Saying good bye to my flat

25 May

Yesterday I gave up my old apartment, which means we are finally, fully moved into our new place!

It was harder than I thought to give up my old place though. Even my landlady noticed I was tense, and I told her it was because I was sad to leave and that I really like the flat. She asked me if it was my first place because she was also very attached to her first apartment, and then we looked out the window as she pointed to her first apartment. :)

Which was cute to me because the building that I lived in was her childhood home. It figures because the people who live in that region love it so much that they stay very close. Now my landlady is in her 40’s, married, and she moved literally 2 steps away from her childhood home (and first apartment). The other residents of her childhood home (her parents and her sister) also live literally right next door. And who’s taking over the flat after me? Her son! He’s 20 and it will be his first place. :)

This family that rented me the flat was very kind to me. We got along really well despite the language barrier. I will truly miss them and I think they will miss me and Martin too.

As sad as it is for me to give up my flat, I’m happy to be able to live with Martin again. My old flat was for me to forge my own way here in Germany, become more independent, and gain some confidence and work experience. In retrospect, it was a very necessary step in our relationship and my living abroad journey. So it was worth it for the past 2 years but we’re both ready for our new life now.

My new job starts in a week!

I will be taking the train 50 minutes to work, with 2 x ~10 minute walks. Which will be a big change since for my last job, I walked to work in 15 minutes.

We’ll see how the next few months of train commuting + walking goes. I still have a student pass so I’ll be riding the train pretty much for free until October. If I hate it, I’ll consider buying a car which (according to Google maps) will cut my commute down by half. But having a car is such a drag, and will cost more than taking the train, so I’m really hoping the train works out. I expect it work out though because I took the train 55 minutes to uni everyday when I was in grad school, but it was worse then because my train came only once an hour. On my new work-commute, I’ll have 3 trains an hour, which makes a ton of difference.

Overall, I’m so grateful everything is working out so well. I got this job after I gave notice to my old job and my old flat. So, it could have been that I’d be sitting here now, writing about finding something new. Looking for new work doesn’t bother me so much usually, but it is pretty difficult when you don’t understand 99% of the job ads. So, phew.

Martin is also really loving our new life together and we’ve been creating healthy habits together, which I will write about in another entry. :)

How we ended up having 4 honeymoons

24 May

My wedding day was NOT the ‘best day of my life’. It was a very nice day, and I’m very happy that I married the hottest guy in the world, but the day itself was also more stressful than just a regular day.

I don’t like stress, or planning, or even weddings really.

What I’m more about, is the honeymoon. (which is a different type of planning)

Case in point, we’ve been on four of them! :mrgreen:

First honeymoon – Jasper

We went on our first honeymoon before we got married.

Maligne Canyon

We had been together for 6.5 years before tying the knot, and have been travelling a lot the whole time. But, this one was a real honeymoon in that we called it a honeymoon and didn’t have time immediately after our wedding for a ‘true’ honeymoon.

So we booked a nice hotel, and our lovely friends LM and Dave lent us one of their cars, and off we went to Jasper for a few days.

OMG, Banff and Jasper and the road leading from Banff to Jasper is absolutely crazy crazy beautiful. It took us more than 8 hours to drive 100km (usually a 1 hour drive) because we kept stopping and exploring and taking the best picture in every picture (because there are no ugly corners in these parks).


It was one of our best trips ever and it felt very fun having a pre-wedding honeymoon! We did couple-y stuff like pose ourselves for couple portraits using our camera, the delayed timer function, and a tripod.

Second honeymoon – Paris

We ended up having a second honeymoon too when we went on an impromptu roadtrip to Paris a few weeks after we got back to Germany. We live about a 7 hour drive north of Paris, so it’s entirely doable to go to Paris often, and in my opinion we should do it more often! Paris is one of my favourite cities EVER, and an awesome place to visit honeymoon or not. I also lost my wedding ring in Paris on this trip. *sniff* But I guess out of all the places in the world where I could have lost my ring, I’m glad it was in Paris – the city of love – on my honeymoon. :)

la cite

Third honeymoon – Bali

Now we are sounding spoiled but with weddings come family expectations, and there was an expectation from my Hong Kong family that we would throw a wedding reception there when we were ready. Since my brother also got married on the same day, we decided to host a joint HK reception. It was hard coming up with a date for my brother and his wife, so when he asked us a few weeks before whether we could make a Christmas trip, we said Yes. That’s how we suddenly went to Asia to host our 4th wedding reception in 3 months. And since we were already in Asia, we decided to steal away to Bali for yet another honeymoon.

It was amazing!! We stayed in a little villa turned into a hotel, that had individual bungalows for their guests. In the courtyard of this villa where our bungalow stood, was a pool and a lush garden. Everyday we would play with a stray kitten that wandered the property, and she was so precious.


I actually fell in love with Bali and thought maybe we could live there one day. Martin liked it but didn’t like it enough to move there. Maybe I will write an entry about my thoughts on retiring (early) abroad, and all the confusing things I feel about it.

Fourth honeymoon – Munich

Yes, we had our 4th honeymoon just a few weekends ago. Why am I still calling it honeymoon and not just a regular trip? Well, because as part of our wedding gift from Martin’s family (we also hosted a wedding reception in Germany inbetween the Toronto and HK receptions), was a gift certificate to stay in a nice hotel in Munich. It was really sweet because they knew I had never gone to Munich before, and wanted to encourage us to go.


So I consider our recent Munich trip to be a honeymoon too, because it was related to one of our many wedding receptions. And it was relaxing and nice and allowed Martin and I to unwind from our stress.

Too bad life wasn’t always one big honeymoon!!

How we got married and a surprise!

23 May

Martin and I eloped back in October!

After getting engaged and figuring out a wedding date, we started making plans.

The most beautiful venue – Banff National Park


First off, we decided to elope in Banff and have our ceremony outdoors. Nothing beats the mountains. We were already planning to visit our dear friends in Alberta anyway, and wanted to spend most of our time in the mountains, so why not also get married in the middle of gorgeousness and ask our 2 friends to be our witnesses?

It was too perfect really.

Except it wasn’t.

Will someone please marry us?

We weren’t doing anything fancy or complicated but needed at least a wedding commissioner to marry us. But most of them were booked because Banff is a wedding destination hot spot in Canada, and the first weekend in October is still high season for weddings. Who knew all of this? I didn’t until I did!

Finally I found a wedding commissioner who had a sliver of time between his other wedding appointments that day, and he agreed to marry us in the evening. Not the best time but right before it got dark, so it was okay. We booked him and then started getting our marriage license processed.

Paperwork in Alberta – the marriage license

Getting married in Alberta is fairly easy. We filled out a form with our details and emailed it to the marriage license office, which unlike Ontario, is not a government office but a private office that is allowed to process government things. Already familiar with international elopements, they were really great and sorted everything out easily. We had to go in and pick up our marriage license, and sign an affidavit in the pressence of the staff to swear that we gave correct info and that we were not each others’ biological grandparents.

en route to get marriage license

Then we had to take our marriage license to our marriage commissioner, and meet with him to go over everything.

It was pretty easy going.

Whom to invite?

In terms of guests, we originally just planned on having our 2 witnesses be our only guests, and have a simple evening. Since we were eloping, we only told our families and a few friends. I told Stephanie and Anthony, both of whom wanted to come when they found out and flew all the way there just to see us get married. *sniff*


Our guestlist exploded (doesn’t it always?) to 9 people. We still ended up having a simple evening though.

The little extras

Other frills we had were a professional photographer, vegan cakelettes, champagne, and then later a dinner at a vegetarian bistro. Most of this was organized by my wonderful friends LM and Dave. :)


Martin wore a brand new suit that he can wear again and again, and I bought a wedding dress that fit me perfectly right off the rack, that of course I can only wear once. It was a cold day on the day of our wedding so I wore my thermal bicycle tights underneath. Yeah!

Our families were not invited

We didn’t invite any family members to our wedding, because our families are spread so far apart. And we chose a neutral territory like Banff which was far from everyone. We figured that since it was impossible to accomdoate everyone, that we would accomodate no one but ourselves! It worked out well, I would say. :mrgreen:

But if a family member really wanted to attend, we wouldn’t have said No of course. My parents considered going but luckily they didn’t…

My brother gets married!

A few weeks before we got married, my brother and his fiancee decided to get married on the exact same day but in Ottawa! So my parents were able to attend his wedding instead of ours.

double happy

This was by total fluke.

My bro and his fiancee were engaged since December 2012, and couldn’t decide on what to do either (it must run in the family!). So my brother’s in-laws suggested some auspicious dates based on the Chinese almanac.

There were only 2 dates left for 2013. One was on mine and Martin’s wedding date, and the other on our Toronto reception date. (No I didn’t consult an almanac – it just runs in my blood ;) )

Justin didn’t remember our wedding date (he wasn’t invited, remember?), only our reception date which him and his soon-to-be wife and her parents were invited to and attending. So out of the 2 dates, they chose our wedding date to also get married!

They also had a small, outdoor affair with a photographer and cake, except they put themselves and their guests up in a fancy hotel and treated everyone to the spa. Hmm, maybe I should’ve gone to their wedding instead! :P

Some people may think it wasn’t cool of my brother to have his wedding on the same day, but in my family we aren’t competitive and don’t see it as stealing the other’s thunder. We were very happy to celebrate alongside each other.

My brother had been hassling me on what they should get us for a wedding gift, and I told him more than once: ‘nothing’. But really, the best gift he got me was getting married on the same day so that we could celebrate our future anniversaries together. :)

In Chinese weddings there is a symbol called ‘double happiness’ that is used for celebration and good luck. My Mom told me our day truly was double happiness for her because it was the day that both of her kids got married. :)

How we got engaged

22 May

We got secretly engaged last year in May.

Basically, we both agreed that we wanted to get married, and then shelved it.

That’s it, end of story. Just kidding!

The thing is, we were too scared to announce our engagement because so many difficult things were happening at that time, and we were just worn out and nervous in general.

About a month after we agreed to get married (aka getting engaged), we acknowledged our nervousness and decided to talk about it. We were on vacation at a cute town by Lake Constance, walking around while we worked out what we wanted to do. We were so confused. The only thing we nailed down was that we wanted to elope and agreed on a month – that was October. But the year and the day was beyond us.

October was just a few months away and surely too difficult to plan anything. So maybe next year, or something.

Why October? We chose October because that’s usually when we fly to Canada, and we also wanted to marry in Canada because the paperwork would be easier. If we got married in Germany, I would have to order my long birth certificate, and a statement from Canada verifying that I’m single, have it all translated professionally by a certified translator ($$$) and then legalized at the Canadian Consulate (i.e. get a stamp). Then we would present our papers and wait for the German offices to approve it, and then they would give us a wedding date. That seemed a lot of work when compared to showing up in Canada with our passports or driver’s licenses.

So we continued to walk around this little city by the Alps, and fretted over having no idea what we were doing. Until Martin stopped me, pointed to the ground, and said ‘HEY. LOOK!!!!!!!!!‘. I looked down and there on the cobblestone street, was a big heart made out of red cobblestones.

cobblestone heart

‘It’s a sign!’, Martin said, and he suddenly wanted to know what street we were on. We looked up and saw that we were on Bindergasse, or `binding together way’, in German. So here we were, standing in a sleepy Bavarian town, with a heart on the street on Bindergasse, freaking out.


We took it as a little message to us to stop being ridiculous about marriage and just go for it already. That we loved each other, that we wanted to be together, and that it would be okay.

Once it registered in my mind as ‘a sign’, I wanted to know what street numbers we were at because I slightly believe in Numerology ^_^. When we looked up again, the Bindergasse signs also had numbers. There were 3 tiles – one with 1, 3, and 5. And that’s when I screamed ‘OMG, that’s our wedding date right there!!! It’s telling us October 5th, 2013!!

numbers MWI_4709 Crop 13 sign

I know, this is a lot of patching stuff together, but in the moment it was very surreal and just made sense. Like a bulb went off in our brains. We immediately looked up October 5th on our phone calendar and saw that it fell on a Saturday.

We kissed, danced around the cobblestone streets, and celebrated. It was a memorable night!

When we got home, we ordered our engagement rings: handmade olive wood rings from an Etsy store in Europe. They took a while to arrive and came to my apartment. I took the package to Martin’s place so we could open it together.

Martin opened the package, took out my ring, and proposed to me! I said yes and he slipped the ring on my finger. Then I took his ring and proposed to him back, and he also said yes and I also slipped the ring onto his finger. Cuz you know, I wanted to make sure he wanted to marry me too. ;)

And that’s our engagement story. Tomorrow I will post about our wedding story.


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