Susie & Johnny
– The story –
Johnny was born and raised in Singapore, where it is always hot and humid. Susie spent most of her life in Boston and Canada, where the land is usually blanketed in snow. Somewhere in the concrete jungle of New York City, they found each other as they began their PhD journey at Columbia University in Fall 2012. Immunology brought them closer (though Johnny would go on and change his research direction while Susie spent the next 5 years grieving over T-cells) and they endured several other classes together. After the last final exam of their first semester, just before winter break, Johnny finally summoned the courage to ask Susie out for dinner at an Indian restaurant. The mode of invitation was a Prezi presentation which Susie claims almost crashed her laptop. As Susie returned to Canada to spend time with her family that winter, Johnny wondered where things would go from there.
Due to work obligations, Johnny knew he would have to go back to Singapore after his PhD and Susie was uncertain of how the future would pan out. After a few long and difficult conversations, they decided to take the chance and Spring 2013 marked the season of a budding romance. Through the years, they would encourage each other as PhD often felt like a proverbial tunnel without a light at the end. They cherished the five-and-a-half years together in New York and every walk on Sundays to and back from church felt so precious (even though Johnny would grumble, especially on days with groceries). Johnny would ride the Greyhound bus with Susie back to Ottawa in the depths of winter to spend the holidays with her family and Susie would fly 24 hours with Johnny to Singapore in peak summer to spend time with his family.
Fast forward to February 2017, two weeks after his dissertation defense, Johnny decided to propose on the day after Valentine’s day (to ensure surprise and future ease of anniversary celebration). He entrusted distraction to Susie’s closest friends and colleagues while he strung lights and prepared a montage. Without any grand gesture or scenery, he got down on one knee. Their eyes both glistened with tears and Susie slipped on the ring like in a fairytale – except they had to get it resized due to Johnny’s overestimation.
Through divine providence and Susie’s incredible resolve, she landed a job in Singapore and followed Johnny into the unknown. Johnny bade New York farewell in March 2018 and Susie joined him in Singapore 3 months later, having finally conquered her dissertation on the unruly T-cells. To this day, Susie still swears she is melting in the oven that is Singapore but she has grown to like the country and her people. Johnny is so grateful to have found someone so patient and willing to take a risk and embark on this crazy journey with him.