That is possibly the question I am most frequently asked. (Also making the top three are the questions, “Do you guys really spend all your free time at museums?” and “So what do you like about him?” Answers: No, and he has too many good points to be summarised in a single sentence! Gosh, I can’t believe I just typed that. Don’t let it go to your head, dear.)
Contrary to public opinion, we do not live at the National Museum
In the inaugural post of this blog, Andrew discussed the origins for the name and theme of our blog. I guess the natural follow-up would be to explain the origins of our relationship.
My mother loves telling us how she just knew that my dad was the man she would marry the moment she set eyes on him, way back when. (My parents just celebrated their 25th anniversary, by the way!) But for Andrew and I, it wasn’t love at first sight. Not even love at first fright.
We were doing a round of introductions in a Lit course in NIE, and I had snuck in through the back, late (again). Perhaps Andrew could share what his first impression of me was – but my first thought was that he was the most handsome guy in the room. He was clean-cut, quietly confident and articulate. And he kept turning in my direction.
I would look up from the notes that I was scribbling, only to see him looking at me before cutting away to focus on the lecturer. This would happen several times in every class that we took together.
From Andrew’s point of view: geeky girl doodling on notepad
As student teachers at NIE, we had collaborated often on “multiple and highly successful” (Chong, 2009) group projects (scoring As, I might add!). While I like to joke that I was the brains and he was the brawn, it was a partnership of equals. (Although, as George Orwell might say, some animals are more equal than others.) We worked well together, brainstorming on msn and proofreading each other’s drafts late into the night.
Hard at work surfing the Net
Yet there was a period of over two months when we did not see each other during our teaching practicum. One day, he called out of the blue, and asked me to help him pick out a birthday present for his sister. We spent precisely forty-five minutes shopping at Parkway before parting ways. In fact, the thing I remember most vividly about that day was how I wandered into my all-time favourite boutique, GG>5, hunting for a black dress I had tried on just the evening before, and the salesgirl pulled it off the rack for me before I had even asked for help.
First thought: Now he’ll think I’m a shopaholic! (Update: now he knows I’m a shopaholic.)
Second thought: Can I convince him that the sales assistant is prescient?
Third thought: Sod it. Let’s just get out of here.
Guilty as charged
But the turning point in our friendship was a lunch that Mills, Pei, James, Andrew and I had at Taman Jurong. (Andrew my darling: perhaps you could help fill in what was said here? I’m shy to say…)
The long and short of it was that he called me that night. And as good teaching practice, allow me to summarise our relationship “milestones” for gist:
1. He waited five months before he asked me out on our first date.
2. In response, I scribbled “yes” on his lesson plan after class the next day.
3. The next week, we went out. (We watched the Angels & Demons movie and headed out to the Da Vinci exhibition.)
4. A fortnight later, he asked me to be his girlfriend. (I made him ask my father for permission first.)
5. I have never been happier.
My favourite valedictorian and his lovely parents