As Told by Tonya

Saying “YES” in under 365 days

June 8, 2017 2 Comments

I recently read an old diary of mine and it’s probably the most embarrassing thing ever. While I have way too much shame to show the excerpt, it went a little something like “When will I find the one?”, “I’m tired of waiting on him” ,”I’d like to be married by 25 and have 3 kids by 30.”

This diary entry made me literally laugh out loud and quiver with embarrassment as my fiancé read it out loud. Yeah, I don’t know what possessed me to allow him to read it either!

But what was even funnier was that the girl that had written that entry, say 4 or 5 years ago, had been long gone; yet there I was right on track with these old goals.

When I first moved to Korea I had been enjoying a full and free single lady life. About one year in, I started dating casually and getting into dating apps (all which seemed more like an addictive game of Candy Crush rather than making real life decisions on men). It wasn’t long before I had enough awkward conversations and self-absorbed assholes for my liking that I gave up the pursuit of love.

Gangwha Island

Enjoying the sites of Gangwha Island (North Korea in the back 😲)

Along with scars from my past long term relationship, navigating the Korean dating scene as a foreigner made me feel that much more rejected. I deleted the dating apps and stopped “looking” when out with friends. I became quite bitter towards the male species to be honest. My advice to girlfriends was quick and heavy on the “harsh reality” of what men want/ who they are.

As some of you many already know, I met my fiancé at a club…while in the exact mindset as described above. Then, in less than 365 days, we were engaged. Whaaaat?!?!?

What possible sorcery did this man use to get me out of my bitter cloud of judgement and pain?

If you’ve seen my “Boyfriend Girlfriend Tag” video on YouTube or the LIVE chat I had with Christelyn from Beyond Black and White, you’ve heard several times that I thought nothing would come of our interaction. Stephen and I danced and had amazing convo that night, and he charmed the hell out of me when he left and then returned to the club to talk to me again. Even his chivalrous gesture of lending me his jacket in the cold didn’t have this girl convinced.

The two traits about Stephen that melted the icebox inside me were loyalty and familiarity. From the first night meeting him one thing I quickly noticed was that I felt I had known him before. It felt like I ran into an old friend from high school and we jumped seamlessly back into our old friendship with all its quirks and jokes.

Young love

I love this face!😍

As if a bitter heart isn’t enough, I naturally put up walls (as most of us do) and in my past there weren’t many, come to think of it there weren’t any men (in dating) who could see the true me. I always hid the super geeky/dorky or overly passionate sides of me in dating, especially for first meetings.

Maybe the bitterness aided in my open (idgaf) attitude but I believe it was more-so the familiar feeling we shared, curating a space that allowed me to feel free to be my true self with out shame or fear.

In the beginning, Stephen and I fell down a rabbit hole of infatuation so quickly it really felt like a high school romantic comedy that I couldn’t stop (nor did I want to)! It was unreal how our connection blossomed so quickly, how that familiarity, that unspoken vibration between us pulled us in faster and deeper than we both ever planned.

LOYALTY. *Cue Kendrick Lamar* This connection would’ve meant absolutely nothing had it not been for my fiancé‘s unwavering loyalty. As we shared during our interview on Beyond Black & White, Stephen lived a 3-hour bus ride away from me in Seoul, and he made this trek every weekend to see me. Everyday after work we’d text or video chat. He made sure his presence was always with me even when his body wasn’t.

This degree of dedication was unheard of to me! It threw me and surprised me and knocked me off my feet consistently. No guy had ever shown me how “sure” he was of me, how loyal he was to us.

Cherry blossom festival in Seoul

First time vlogging together (Cherry Blossom Festival 🌸)

I can’t remember exactly when it was but marriage became a discussion between us literally 2-3 months into our relationship. I remember us always stating how we couldn’t believe we had only been dating for one month, two months, etc.

My fiancé once told me he imagined in a past life we were lovers who got separated but before it took place he swore to me that he’d find me again, and his journey to me took him into this life. Am I crazy to believe in this story?

When I look at logic it would say “Hold up! Slow it down, you’ve only known him for one year.”

I say, “Logic, you just wouldn’t understand!”

I am beyond grateful for the stars aligning (finally) and to be marrying my best friend! Now for the three kids, that’s TBD!!!



Right after Stephen proposed💓




  1. Kim

    June 10, 2017

    Hey Tonya: Great post. I think when you know – this is “the One”, you know. I dated my husband for about 13 months when we got engaged and then we got married 6 months later (I’ll be married 9 years in September).
    For me, I’m older than you (a LOT older – Ha), so I’d figured that marriage wasn’t in the cards for me – and frankly I was fine with that. I won’t say I was bitter, but I’d decided to take the pressure off myself to get “married” and just date. Living in the South (and I’m not from here), Black men are at a premium (especially educated professionals). So I come here – good job, own home, no kids, educated and professional – but Black men wanted me to be a glorified housekeeper & cook. After a year here, I was “over Black guys trying to play me” (sorry, but I’m keeping real).
    I met my husband online (on Match or Yahoo Personals – see I told you I’m older than you). We were both looking for the same things in life and our personalities matched well.
    Honestly, while dating and during our engagement – we rarely disagreed and got along so well; it kinda freaked me out, like “why is this so easy”?
    While marriage hasn’t always been “quite so easy”, I’m still very very happy that I got married and took a leap of faith after only dating a year.

    Take care and keep the videos coming!


    • Tonya

      June 11, 2017

      It is crazy how real the phrase “when you know, you Know” is! I am inspired by you and your husband’s love story and marriage. It is very refreshing when you find someone who doesn’t put you in a box. Stephen and I were really similar in how we didn’t argue much at all, of course now we do a healthy amount I’d say 😉 I will be posting videos every Wednesday now and blog posts twice a week! Thank you so much for your support <3

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