I was in an on again off again relationship with a girlfriend of many years until we decided to call it quits which actually meant that she had the sense to end things. Being the geek that I was, I decided to put more energy into my studies which was probably the reason why the relationship didn't work out in the first place. I was obsessed.
I need to explain how this obsession began. I had just returned from an internship I had with Bayer Aspirin in Cologne, Germany. As a part of being over there, the company was gracious enough to take the other student workers and me on a trip to Berlin. It was the summer of 1990 and the wall had just fallen. It was a powerful scene that demonstrated to me the power of non-violent protest. It helped to bring down the wall and to unite a country. I later studied in Hamburg and very interestingly made friends who were predominantly from the former East Germany. The juxtaposition of East and West was fascinating to me that I wanted to learn as much as possible about that history.
To get back to the story, I came back to the US and decided to study Russian before graduate school, so that I could learn more about the Soviet perspective of this history. I decided to take an intensive Russian class. It was during the summer and classes were all day. Fortunately, there were a lot of activities offered by the university at night. I had planned on going to a movie with another classmate in the Czech program. At the last minute she decided to bail. I thought about some advice a friend gave me after I told him that I was no longer dating my old girlfriend. "Oscar," he said, "dating is a lot like baseball. You're going to strike out an awful lot, but you need to keep going to the plate." I took his words to heart and rather than just going home, I decided to go to a party for students in the Russian program. And it was at the party where I met my wife.
We talked a little bit at the party but nothing more. It was only after we randomly started seeing each other at various events that we began to know each other (and I began to like her). I tease my wife about a time we met at the bookstore the Russian program had set up. I always claim that she was following me, trying to talk with me. Truth be told, the aisle was in a circle, so she had to follow me. It's good that she did because it gave me enough time to work up the courage to ask her out. I was lucky because she agreed!
It was a balmy night and we didn't have much money, so we basically walked through campus talking. I thought I would impress her by introducing her to Taco Bell. My wife is from South Korea and I thought that I would show her the place where I was nourishing myself. In addition to being very geeky, I was also very poor and was basically living off the 7-Layer Burrito. While I guess she didn't like the food, we did manage to have a good time. (At least, I think it was a good time, even though I did bombard her with questions comparing the situation in Germany with the possibilities of a similar unification in Korea.) As I dropped her off, I was a bit nervous but still asked if I could give her a kiss. She agreed and the rest is history.