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Love Story: From Chance Meeting To Engagement in 6 Months

February 11, 2017
Patricia Chang

A chance meeting turns into a whirlwind romance that sparks an engagement after only 6 months (yes, that happens in real life!). Now, designer Patricia Chang and her loving husband Hank are expecting baby number two in a few short weeks and things couldn’t be more picture perfect. You can’t help but smile when you hang with these two and their love definitely gives us all the feels.  

You two are the cutest – thanks for taking the time to share your love story with us! How and when did you meet?

Patricia: We met at a mutual friend’s birthday party on September 25, 2010. I never go out alone, but that night I did. Otherwise I likely would not have had a chance to make conversation with a complete stranger! He was lively, spontaneous and most of all fun, so we chatted all night.

Hank: At a friend’s birthday party. I had just enough liquid courage (ok, a little more than “just enough” …this was in my mid-20s) to approach her.

What was your first date? Can you remember what you or they wore?

Patricia: The night we met he mentioned wanting to check out an art fair in Dumbo, Brooklyn the following day. Hank wore a beige argyle sweater and I wore a loose fitting t-shirt with a graffiti print of monster characters on the front and back. Hank recalls thinking I wasn’t interested in him wearing an outfit like that!

Hank: It was the day after we first met at the now-defunct annual art festival in Dumbo. This was during my short-lived phase of trying to become (or at least seem) more cultured. I remember clearly what Patty wore because we joke about it all the time – it was the baggiest t-shirt I’d ever seen and had a graphic print of what looked like Mickey Mouse with rabies. I remember thinking to myself “she seemed into me last night, but that t-shirt screams “let’s just be friends…”

Patricia Chang

Was there a pivotal moment that made you realize you had found “the one”?

Patricia: Traveling with someone reveals a lot about your compatibility. I think we both knew there was something long term when we went on our first vacation together to Napa only two months in. It was also clear that we enjoyed the same things and, as cheesy as it sounds, that we “completed” each other. I am very right brained and he is very left, so we rely on each other’s strengths where we are weak to compliment the other.

Hank: Not a pivotal moment – the first six months were just a whirlwind (in a good way) of love.  We were joking about getting married within a month of meeting each other, talking seriously about it within two months and engaged within six.  I think it was when I realized she was either completely blind to or somehow able to forgive my laundry list of character flaws that I knew she was the one.  

What 3 words describe your partner?

Patricia: Patient, practical and easy going.

Hank: Beautiful (inside and out), sunny and loving.

How would they describe you (no peeking!).

Patricia: Positive, affectionate and fun loving.

Hank: She SHOULD describe me as pragmatic and calm with the stunted emotional capacity of most men my age, but I suspect her description will be more positively skewed.  She’s still wearing those rose-colored glasses (see comment above), which I love her for.

Patricia Chang

How do you make your partner feel special?

Patricia: I try to my best to let him know he really is special to me with lots of encouragement and support. He loves it when I cook for him since its is not as often as he’d like. He is always, I mean always, doing something thoughtful for me. When we were dating and I was out to dinner with my girlfriends, he would do sweet things like send champagne to the table, but when you’re married it’s the everyday things that mean so much to me. He never complains about being hands on as a husband and father while going above and beyond. On top of that he’s always trying to make me laugh.

Hank: I’m not good at the big things, so I focus on the little things like making sure she feels loved everyday, helping out around the house as much as possible and making a conscious effort to be a better husband than the day before.  There’s only so many times you can plan some special event or present or whatever before you run out of ideas or money (in my case, more likely money).

How often do you go out sans kids? Do you have family near by or who can you lean on to watch the kids?

Patricia: We go out often sans kids, but rarely together. We recently had a movie theater date for the first time in 3 years. My parents live nearby so we were fortunate enough to get a lot of help from them when our first son was born, but being grandparents they eventually got burnt out. I work as the founder of my namesake brand from home so now we have a part time nanny which is incredibly helpful.

Hank: Not as often as we would like. My hours are long and I don’t get to spend as much time with our son (soon to be sons) as I’d like, so weekends are generally designated as family time. I do believe that setting aside alone time to reconnect with your spouse is important, but practicing what I preach has never been my strong suit.

What do you like to do on date night? What would be your ultimate fantasy date?

Patricia: We like going to a nice relaxing and romantic dinner. My “sky is the limit fantasy date” would definitely include taking a private jet to some exotic outdoor location and having a private dinner with candles all around.

Hank: There’s this cheese and wine bar right by our apartment. We’ll just go there and unwind, drink some nice wine and reconnect.  We have some very fond memories there. Ultimate sky is the limit fantasy date? Two front-row seats to a showing of Hamilton where they bring back the original cast.  Those tickets are IMPOSSIBLE to get.  Patty doesn’t even actually want to watch the show – she just wants to watch me tear up at “It’s Quiet Uptown.”

Patricia Chang

What is your favorite outfit that each other wears?

Patricia: I don’t think he has an opinion about what I wear and generally lets me do my thing. As long as his pants are skinny fit and his hair is styled with hair product, we are good to go!  

Hank: Patty loves me in some skinny jeans.  The tighter the better.  She’s usually pretty laissez faire about my wardrobe, but she recently put her foot down on some of my older pairs of straight/boot-legged jeans.  They were donated to the local thrift store when I wasn’t looking and replaced with proper skinny jeans.  As for my favorite Patty outfit, I’ve only seen Patty in maternity clothes for the last few months.  I honestly don’t remember at this point what her normal wardrobe includes.

Patricia, finish these sentences: The first thing we do in the morning is eat breakfast and feed the cats. Hank always takes a morning shower. The last thing we do at night is “nighttime routine” where we tidy the home for the next day. Then we all jump in bed, read books, sing bedtime songs and go around saying our “I love yous” and “Good nights”.

Hank, finish these sentences: The first thing we do in the morning is tell Chase to go back to sleep. The last thing we do at night is tell Chase to go to sleep. To be clear, it’s not that Patty and I have the sleep cycle of a toddler – it’s that Chase has the strangest sleep cycle I’ve ever seen or heard of for a two and a half year old.

Patricia Chang

What’s your fondest memory together?

Patricia: There are so many from our travels, but I have to say there was a moment I felt a deep love from him after I gave birth. It was a complicated birth with our first and I had to stay at the hospital for a while. Chase was born right before our second wedding anniversary which we ended up celebrating sitting side by side in the small hospital bed together, eating hospital food (my first meal in days). I knew for certain he would be a rock I can lean on no matter what life throws at us. It will always be a special memory.

Hank: Really too many to name.  Relationships are a constantly evolving process and there’s a beauty to every stage in that process – starting as boyfriend/girlfriend, getting engaged, getting married, becoming parents.  I have to say parenthood has been an amazing ride (so far – I’ve heard less stellar feedback about the angsty teen years). The mutual love we have for our son has strengthened our bonds with each other and it’s so much fun watching our son change everyday.  

What’s in your travel couple bucket list?

Patricia: Greece, Morocco, Maldives, pretty much anywhere we haven’t been we’d love to go!

Hank: What’s not on our travel bucket list?  We love to travel together.  I didn’t catch the travel bug until late in life, so there’s plenty of spots left on my bucket list.  Hell, when I first met Patty, 75% of the reason I wanted a girlfriend was to have a travel partner.  

Do you have advice on how to stay in synch when you can’t get away for couple time?

Patricia: Hank doesn’t have the shortest work hours, so we have to make an effort to make time for each other. I’ll even follow him into the bathroom while he showers to take any extra chance to talk to each other. When we are home together, we implemented a “no technology” hour for quality face time.

Hank: I think it’s about learning to make the most of what time you do have together.  People made it work in the days of horse buggies when a long distance relationship meant a letter a month.  We have e-mail, text, Skype, Facetime, etc.  No excuses – make some time to connect.

Patricia Chang

Lots of couples start to dress alike, accidentally walking out in matching looks…do you have a go to couple style?

Patricia: We have matching sneakers and I make him wear skinny jeans.  

Hank: Our whole family has matching Adidas sneakers.  We went down to the Soho store one day and decided to be that family.  I don’t remember having agreed to being that family before we entered the store, but by the time we exited we had definitely become that family.

Define the word love as it feels to you.

It’s evolved. I’m learning to feel loved over time the way he expresses it, which is by actions. Love feels selfless, doing whatever it takes to see the other person happy.

Hank: A highly pleasant and addictive programmed neural response to external stimuli – like crack, but good for you.

How do you plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year?

Patricia: This Valentine’s Day, we’ll probably celebrate it over a nice relaxing and romantic dinner either out or at home. We often leave the house taking turns watching our son, but rarely just the two of us for dates. I love how it reminds me of when we were dating and those early butterfly feels.

Hank: Can’t tell you…it’s a surprise.

Patricia Chang

Photos by Stevi Sesin

@stevilou

Patricia:  Shirt / Sweater (similar) / Jeans / JacketHat (similar)

Hank: Sweater / Hoodie / Jeans / Sneakers (similar)

Thank you Old Navy for sponsoring this post.

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