If you missed Part 1, Click Here.
Love can take you to some of the most surprising places. It can be radical or slow. Or it can just meet you where you are. Nevertheless, it’s nothing short of interesting. For Ken and Andie, though, the journey simply led them to each other. Their first year was wonderful and exciting as it is for all new couples. The second year, however, was pretty bumpy. Ken calls it the roller coaster. “You have your high times and your low times. You have the bumps and the smooth parts of it. But that is what a relationship is all about making the bumps become smooth when they arrive and you’re trying to maintain the smoothness as long as possible without falling off of it and dying.”
Their cultural differences did not cause many of those bumps, but provided some useful lessons along the way.
Lesson 1: Ken will eat with his mouth open.
Ken: Yes, that’s an Asian thing, not just the Chinese.
Andie: It’s a Broadway musical when he eats. Its his f**king soundtrack.
Lesson 2: Differences do not have to divide.
Ken: She’s also religious and I’m not, but that has never caused tension between us.
Andie: I don’t believe that has affected our relationship negatively as I don’t force my religion on you. I’m open and I don’t use my religion as a way to make people feel inferior to me.
Lesson 3: Be more intentional about learning the culture of your partner.
Ken (On Haitian culture): I love their food! Nuff said.
Andie: You also love their women. Nuff said.
Ken: I love women. Period.
Andie: I really wish he were more interested because I think to him we don’t have any culture.
Ken: I went to that religious thing, communion, once. That was interesting to see her family and Haitian community.
Lesson 4: Barriers do exist, but love and communication is key.
Andie (On Chinese culture): Ken was the first Chinese man [I dated]. I was never interested in them because of the first born son rule and most being closed off to dating outside the Chinese community. But Ken, he is not traditionally Chinese. But I did have a problem with meeting his family the fourth year in the relationship. I had to force an introduction and that wasn’t cool. I felt that was something that he should have done already. My family and friends are all aspects of me. So, I felt that I was missing out on knowing who Ken is and how he interacted with his family. That was a big problem for me. I felt the reason he did that was because I wasn’t Chinese. I felt if I were a Chinese girl I would have met his parents a lot sooner. The language barrier was used as an excuse, but there are other ways to communicate. To this day, it does hurt me because I wanted the fairytale. Especially now in this stage of our engagement, I wish we were growing closer as a family and I would be able to call his mom “mom”, but we’re not there yet. He continuously goes to dinner and doesn’t invite me. I don’t want to be a stranger, especially if we’re going to have kids.
Ken: It really is a language barrier, but I do understand where you’re coming from. That that’s not necessary. All you need is to see the person and hugging them can overcome the language barrier.
***Now before you judge, since this interview Ken has learned his lesson. After Andie addressed her concerns, he listened and has reportedly done better. ***
Lesson 5: To real parents, happiness is all that matters.
Andie: [My parents] They don’t care. … As long I’m happy, they’re happy. As long as he went to college and doesn’t wear his pants below his knees, they were cool. They were surprised that he was shorter than me <giggling> and square. My mom was so used to flamboyant Japanese men coming through her door. Ethnicity to them didn’t really mean anything. The only thing I got flack for was staying out late because they’re very strict, but I got that with any guy I dated.
Ken: The only thing they asked was if she was educated, what was her career, and where did she come from. My mom knows I’m a rebel. As long as I’m not getting into trouble, she’s cool.
After almost 5 years together, their masks have fallen away completely. With each struggle, both are changing and most importantly, growing together. Its growing pains. “You’re constantly trying to adapt to this changing person. You keep the foundation the same, but change the scenery. At this point its work, you have to remind yourself you love that person and you have to show it. Its one thing to know it, but when you don’t show it the person its not tangible. We always try to make each other feel and touch our love,” says Andie.
***Retraction: Although it was stated the couple have been together 5 years, a miscalculation led to their initial meeting to be in 2007. They met in 2008. It was also previously stated that Ken has a preference for black women. I wish to retract that. Ken would like to make it clear that he loves ALL women period, but is more attracted to beautiful and bootyful women, i.e. women with curves. He fell in love with his fiancé because she is beautiful and BOOTYFUL. She just happened to be black***