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I’m the drooly one in blue, just in case you can’t tell.

My husband and I had very different childhoods. We both loved reading encyclopedias, but Ron’s favorite books were fantasy novels, like the Lord of the Rings series, while I loved historical fiction and anything with “real” ghost stories. Ron played on a soccer team; I took ballet and knit.

Ron grew up in south Dallas with four siblings and a green parakeet who sat on his shoulder as he walked around the house. I grew up in the south Bay Area with one brother. Before my family became cat people (we’ve had four feline overseers in all), we raised two fancy rats named Brandon and Jason, who took turns escaping from their cage every few weeks and had me in tears until my parents found them, usually curled up under some piece of furniture.

Ron’s mom is of Czech descent and his family occasionally went to weddings with a polka band; his grandparents grew up speaking Czech at home and didn’t start learning English until grade school. I’m second-generation Taiwanese American; at weddings the other guests and I would bang on tea cups with chopsticks until the bride and groom kissed. I grew up speaking Mandarin until kindergarten, but by the time I was in third grade I spoke English almost exclusively at school and at home.

But despite the differences in our background and upbringing, Ron and I both have one thing in common… the Olan Mills experience.

Family portrait

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You know, when I first saw Ron, I could sense that there was something binding us to one another even before we had our first real conversation. There is a Chinese phrase, 緣份 (yuán​fèn​), that means the fate that brings two people together. Since we met in graduate school, I’ve constantly thought about how much being with my husband has changed my life and how lucky we were to be placed in the same master’s thesis group. But after seeing these two portraits I realize it wasn’t luck it all… it was 緣份, and by 緣份, I mean the almighty hand of Olan Mills the First.

So thanks dude! I can’t wait to have our kids photographed on a startled teddy bear by your company (I’m being serious here).