Love at first sight at Comic Con

stunning interracial couple

Sharon Litchfield Photography

The story of Elyse and Allen

When Elyse was in Junior High she discovered her love for Anime, which drove her to attend her first anime convention. At the same time, Allen had a similar insatiable hunger for Anime. Influenced by the Japanese animation art style and coming from a family of artists, Allen began drawing fanart, which led him to apply for an artists table at the same anime convention Elyse attended. Each year of the anime convention, Elyse and Allen would be at the same venue, but their paths never crossed.

In 2012, Geek culture was starting to come out of the underground in our city. The 1st Comic Convention (Comic Con) was established and Allen was beginning to branch out into comic book art. Naturally, he signed up for an artists table at the three-day convention. Meanwhile, that same weekend of ComicCon Elyse went on an absolutely terrible first date which left her thinking she would have had much more fun at ComicCon. On the last day of ComicCon, a Sunday in October, she went with a friend. Taking in the sights, she walked around the artist alley, where she saw an artist with a really nice hairstyle. Their eyes met and all he had to say was “Hi”.  He nervously made conversation about art, but his nervousness dissipated quickly as he introduced himself and then asked if she had a Deviant Art web account (so as not to seem threatening) she divulged the information and Allen gave her one of his prints that she liked. Thinking back on it, she wouldn’t admit to herself then, but she was in love. It really was love at first sight. That evening, she wrote in her Deviant art journal for the first time in ages about her experience at her first ComicCon, complete with an account of the artist in artist’s alley that she met. Allen found her page and contacted her through Deviant Art that same evening, they conversed online and finally exchanged numbers. They have been together ever since!

Allen and Elyse are the same age, both born and raised in the same city, in Canada. Allen is called CBC – Canadian born Chinese (slang term in Canada); he has the best of both worlds, he can speak fluent Cantonese as it is his first language, but adopted the cultural norms of Canadian life. They have been together for 5 years and still live in the same city in Canada. Allen recently proposed to Elyse in January 2018 and they will be having two wedding celebrations, a Western-style wedding and a traditional Chinese style wedding in 2018.

blond canadian girlQuestions to Her

On our first date

Allen and I had our first date a week after ComicCon. We were texting every day leading up to our date and we found out that we both love to eat and try new food! We went to a sushi restaurant we both wanted to try. Despite constantly chatting that whole week we had known each other, we still found lots to talk about. It was a great first date! We had ordered a combination of sushi displayed on a circular tray that was placed between us and unconsciously I would eat every second piece on my side of the tray, creating an even pattern. I think that was when he knew I was “the one” as he noticed immediately (since he is an artist). That whole evening he was such a gentleman and I felt like I could be a true self with him, that I didn’t need to hide any aspect of myself.

During the first months of dating my deal-breaker would have been…

It’s completely shallow for me to say, but initially, I noticed that Allen has some dental issues, his teeth aren’t correctly aligned. I was fortunate enough to have braces as a child, and my previous boyfriends had great teeth, so at first, without knowing him I judged him superficially and was seriously considering not pursuing a relationship with him. But the more we talked after we met, the more I gravitated toward him, even though I was trying to fight the attraction I felt. I had been deeply hurt in my previous relationship, so I looked for any excuse not to pursue a serious relationship with Allen, to try to protect myself.

my asian boyfriendI learned he was right for me when…

A couple weeks after we met, I was scheduled to travel to Chicago on a business trip. I had no one to pick me up at the airport upon my arrival home and did not want to take a cab by myself. So I casually asked Allen if he would be able to pick me up in the middle of the day on a Tuesday. I didn’t expect he would be able to, thinking that he would be at work, but he said: “I’d love to”. I knew at that instant he would do anything for me, that I could count on him for anything. I found it incredible as I was a woman he met only a couple weeks before.

I had experienced culture shock when he…

Brought me over to meet his parents less than a full month of dating. In my previous relationship with a Chinese man, I was never brought to meet his parents, so this was a huge step for me because I understood the traditional implications of the situation and how serious Allen was about me. I was completely nervous and considered holding off on meeting them. But Allen convinced me and I never regretted it. Sometimes you have to take that leap!

3 things I love about him are…

How he treats his and my friends like his family. Allen is very family oriented and even though he doesn’t have a lot of friends he cherishes the ones he has and will go out of his way for them if asked.  The same goes for my friends. For example, when he picked up the entire bill when we went for dinner with one of my good friends from out of town. Such a redeeming quality.

He knows how to work hard. In our relationship Allen is the chef, he cooks most if not all our meals as I am not a good cook at all. He also vacuums and will clean the kitchen without any complaints. I have to fight him for my share of the housework because if I let him, he would do the laundry, tidy and dust as well. He is amazing, but for a relationship to work, you need to work together as a team. One person doing it all means the other is taking advantage.

Allen is undeniably loyal. I know he will always be there for me, and I trust him completely. I don’t need to go through his phone or wonder where he is. We have an open line of communication and I feel completely safe with him knowing that he will always have my back.

The biggest misconception about his country and culture is…

This question is a bit hard because Allen was born in Canada, however, his family is still traditional but are a bit more relaxed. Because of the way his family is, the biggest misconception would be that all Asian families in Canada or even the US are very traditional as they might be in Hong Kong, China and/or Vietnam (where Allen’s Chinese parents originated). That they wouldn’t be accepting of someone outside of their own race into their family. I mean there are Asian families with more strict traditions (like I experienced with my Ex) but not all are created equal.

Pepper Potts, art by Allen

The most beautiful thing he ever did for me was…

Allen drew a photo of me and him together for my 28th birthday. I am not materialistic, so something that was produced by his own mind is the most cherished thing I have because it is the only one in existence.

During the course of this relationship, the most important thing I have learned about myself was…

To be patient and not to give up. Allen is an amazing guy, but he does have his own faults, much like anyone. For me, it was to learn to call Allen out on his BS, because he has a stubborn streak and I feel he always needs to be right (which he isn’t fyi). Also to learn when an argument is worth having, sometimes the point isn’t worth all the energy, you can agree to disagree in some instances.

If there is a piece of advice I would give my fellow Western girlfriends who want an AMWF relationship it would be…

To be open and try to be understanding of how Asian men and their culture think. Allen was my third Asian boyfriend and my last (he’s now my fiancé!). He is the most “Canadian-ized” out of the other two, but ultimately, a relationship should always be considered a team of two people working together towards a common goal, no matter if there are cultural differences between them. It will always be more complex than a Western relationship, so the AMWF couple needs to help each other navigate through the stresses of different cultural practices and overcome them together if they truly wish to pursue a long-lasting, meaningful relationship.

 

hot chinese canadianQuestions to Him

Asking Her out for the first time was…

Wasn’t too bad for me, I had been communicating with Elyse via text message so It wasn’t stressful or anything. But the first time I talked to her was intimidating. When I looked into her eyes and said “Hi” for the first time, I immediately went into thinking about how I would be able to contact her and the best way to NOT sound like I just wanted to get her number. I tried a very methodical approach, I saw her looking at my artwork so I tried to make small talk by asking her if she did art, she said yes. So I asked if she had a deviant art account. I knew this was just going to be down to pure luck. So I took that leap of faith and turns out that was the luckiest day of my life.

I learned She is right for me when…

When we went on our date to go see Wreck it, Ralph. We walked around the mall for a bit before our movie started. She grabbed my hand for the first time and just the way her hand held onto mine, it was natural and I felt no stress. There was no sweat in our palms. I knew at that moment she was the one.

I had a cultural shock when She…

I did not really have culture shock. My previous relationship was with a Dutch-Canadian girl. So I got pretty used to most of the things I saw. But I will say that something I never got used to was when Elyse got into arguments with her mom. Some of the things that she said to her mom, would NOT have been close to something I would say to my own parents. I probably would have worded it differently.

hot canadian girlfriend3 things I love about Her are…

How similar we both are. There have been SO many countless times when we have both had the same thoughts, I mean EXACT same thoughts. It makes it easy to understand her and why. Sometimes I can actually read her mind. I’m not even joking about this.

She makes me smile. I think that because we are both the same age, we share a very similar taste and knowledge of pop culture. There are certain things that she can say to me that just makes me laugh. But the simplest things she does always makes me smile.

She has this burning drive to do the most random things. Sometimes its good, sometimes its bad. But I respect that passion of hers when she gets going on something. I know this is something that I lack because it gets things done. Sometimes things don’t always go the right way, but this I where I step in to help solve the problem.

The biggest misconception about Her country an culture was…

I think something that was new to me was that her parents are divorced. This was something I didn’t really have much experience in. It was an eye-opener to see how both sides of her family are.

The things that She likes to do for fun with me are…

Art, Video Games, Anime, Movies, Music, Shopping, Walks, and playing with our Dog. But most importantly Eating. I think the number one thing that we both love is eating. When we have good food, there is not a single care in the world, all the bad things just go away, and we are just “us”. I love cooking for her. As egotistical as this sounds, I just like when she tastes that first bite and says “Mmmmm” and tells me that it tastes good.

She hates when I…

Get moody. Sometimes I get lazy and just tired. I just don’t really care about much and just want to be left alone. I tend to get negative and I sometimes let this negativity bleed out to the people around me.

During this relationship the most important thing I learned about myself was…

I need to learn to communicate myself more often. I sometimes don’t speak my thoughts and tend to keep stuff in. I don’t bottle stuff per say, but I don’t voice the things that I should be voicing. When I get frustrated, I like to be left alone. This doesn’t really help our relationship because it causes a lack of communication. Something I am also guilty of is being extremely stubborn. I think this all goes hand in hand with the communication. When I am frustrated, I tend to get more stubborn, and it either makes me very quiet and un-talkative, or ill-tempered and angry.

sweet amwf couple

Sharon Litchfield Photography

If there is a piece of advice I could give to my fellow Asian friends who are into the AMWF relationships that would be…

As you learn more about your significant other and become more immersed in their culture, you will start to see the differences/similarities. Don’t be afraid to ask about these things and learn about them. This is you being respectful and appreciative of culture. If your significant other’s parents cannot accept you because you come from a different culture, or if you are seen as an outsider, or because you are not the same race, this is called racism. Under NO circumstance should you be accepting that. I had an experience with an ex-girlfriend who was Dutch, she had one of her older cousins over at her mom’s place at the time. Her cousin’s husband during dinner time, said this to me: “If Chinese people are so smart, why did they invent the chopsticks, and not the fork and knife?” I honestly had no words to reply. I regret not saying anything at the time because I felt that I had no place to confront a guest at her mom’s house. Clearly, there was no respect for me and my culture.

Don’t be afraid to speak up about this stuff. It’s important that both you and your significant other understand the situation. No one should be treated that way or accept it in any way, not even in the name of love.

I do have one more piece of advice for my Asian friends who have those SUPER traditional parents. Don’t be afraid to stand up to your parents. I am not asking you to defy your parents or be disrespectful, but don’t be afraid to talk to them and ask why they think a certain way, or why they don’t accept certain things. Most of the time, you might be surprised that they may be just confused about how western culture works. People generally fear what they don’t understand. Your parents are no different. They might just have a really big ego or think that they are never wrong. My parents only recently in the last 5 years became more relaxed and more accepting of change to modern ways. But I had my arguments in the past with my parents about “old school” ways. I challenged them, got into fights, didn’t talk for months. I found out at the end, that they kept seeing me as a child who didn’t know what was good for myself. They finally came around to accepting me as a grown man who could take care of himself. At that moment you could see that a huge burden was lifted from their shoulders. Don’t live your life the way people “expect” you to live, live your life the way YOU want to live. At the end of the day, you need to figure out if the person you love is worth standing up to your parents.

In closing, I must say that I am a bit sad my parents are not so traditional anymore, because can I feel that they definitely love my fiancée more than me… and that to me, is perfectly okay.

Curious to learn more about this couple? Check out Elyse’s Instagram.