A cartoon I drew for my then-internet girlfriend/teerak/fiancé from Thailand, Rungnapha “Aou” Phangpataew sometime in 2002 or 2003 when we used to just chat by instant messengers and webcams.

Many people wondered why we would fall in love with someone on the other side of the planet that you hadn’t yet met in person? Why not? Both of us had unsuccessful dating experiences, and both the culture shock and long distance was far easier to deal with than spoiled, disillusioned, untrustworthy, unattainable goal-oriented and otherwise incompatible dating experiences we experienced in our own countries. Long-distance relationships are not for everybody, but we trusted in each other fully and made it work. And many of the people who did ask that have been through multiple unsuccessful relationships.

Since then, I flew there and stayed a month in April 2004, then applied for a fiancé visa upon my return home. She then flew here in October 2004 and got married in January 2005 where we lived on my parents property in Oswego, NY, USA.

After years helping in my family’s small business and saving our pennies, and in 2011 we started a small business as owners/operators of a sushi bar (at first, taking over a franchise location and then getting an LLC) at first in a local grocery store, (but corporate decisions on franchise made us) then move our operation to the local college.

We now own our own home, and welcomed two perfect little girls born in 2014 and 2018, and they are the center of our lives, now.

We started back then with basically nothing, and built from there. All it took was love… well, and trust, patience, a LOT of hard work, and a little divine luck along the way.

She was — and still is — the answer to my prayers I had made all my life before I met her.

Love is love.

© 2002-2020 Christopher Galletta Stevens