Love at first sight is as old as Adam and Eve. No disrespect to our ancestors, but Ivan and I were love at first bite.

Both of us were raised with a very serious view toward dating: Don’t date until you’re ready to marry, and then only date someone you’d actually consider marrying. 

Ivan and I met in our school’s music program and were friends for about six months before he got up the nerve to tell me that he liked me. We were lounging on some well-worn couches across from a vending machine one night after class. Providentially, God had been growing similar fond feelings in my own heart. But neither of us wanted to rush into anything unwisely. It was almost Christmas break, so we agreed to spend the holidays praying separately about God’s will for our lives.

We broke our “no communication” rule just enough over the following month to ensure we were on the same page: Both of us felt God leading us to be together. Nothing would be official until Ivan talked to my dad, of course, but I felt pretty good about his odds of success.

And so we arrive at January 6, 2014. Ivan and his dad were driving down to Riverside, CA from Concord, CA (about seven hours); they would pick me up and take me out for Indonesian food once they got into town. I couldn’t wait to meet my potential boyfriend’s father or try his native cuisine – although I was a bit confused that my family had lived in Riverside for a few years and never heard of such a restaurant.

Alas, there was no Indonesian restaurant. We ended up at Pick Up Stix, an Asian American restaurant that falls somewhere between Panda Express and P.F. Chang’s in regard to its level of authenticity. That is to say, not authentic. There are three things to look for when judging an Asian restaurant’s authenticity: name, amount of non-Asian staff and customers, and presence of fortune cookies. If the name is trendy and the other two are present, you’re in a restaurant designed for the masses. That night I was disappointed to be eating run-of-the-mill chow mien at a restaurant I could’ve visited with anyone.

I do have a penchant for fortune cookies.

I grabbed three cookies (one for each of us), and brought them back to the table. Maybe we could open them as an icebreaker while waiting on our order. I certainly needed an icebreaker: Neither Ivan nor his dad had said much since picking me up or referred to the obvious and only reason we were eating together. 

I opened the first cookie by right of “Ladies first.” It was one of those generic classics like finding a lost sock, or good luck being around the corner, etc. No one was prepared for what came next. Ivan opened his cookie, then turned red and folded up the fortune without reading it aloud.

“Well, aren’t you going to tell us what it is?” I prodded.

“It’s a bit awkward.”

“It’s only a fortune cookie! Come on, it’s part of the game.”

“Okay then.” He took a deep breath and unfolded the paper. “Wedding bells are in your future.


“Oh wow. That’s, uh, very specific.”

Blood was pounding in my ears. If only someone would laugh, make a joke, anything. But no. I was having dinner with my prospective boyfriend and his father – who had not yet given his opinion of me or the potential relationship – and Wedding bells are in your future.

Ivan’s dad must have opened the third cookie. Our food must have come. I must have eaten my chow mien. But I have no idea what we talked about. Did we talk at all? Hopefully Ivan’s dad gave his blessing on our relationship, because mine would the following night. 

“It was so awful. I just wanted to die!” I recounted to my family after I got home from Pick Up Stix that night. We were roasting marshmallows over a lit burner on our gas stove. I was too shy to tell them that I really thought it was romantic. What if wedding bells were in our future? 

Back at the restaurant, nobody had seen Ivan sneak the folded fortune under the table and into his wallet. It was still there when he got down on one knee eighteen months later.

7 thoughts on “Fortune Cookie Day

  1. Cute story, romantic husband and a reminder of God at work in your lives for all these years! Thanks for sharing the tapestry of your lives with us. Jan

    Liked by 1 person

  2. ❤️ it… thanks for sharing those moments.
    I began smiling and chuckling when the restaurant came into the picture. Ivan’s fortune wow! That was smashing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. How interesting and exciting all at the same time. I’m sure Ivan felt awkward but what a romantic thing to happen for your future lives together. That is really quite a story and a fun story to tell.


  4. What an awkward moment for Ivan and yet a fun story to tell. It can always be an exciting and romantic story for years to come. I love it!


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