"I talk. He listens."
You might think these words would suggest the marital confidence of a long-time wedded woman. Consider instead that they come from a young woman who has been married just under two months, and something about Angela Fung's personality is revealed.
When you visit Angela at work at Chinatown's Fong Chong Tea Room, it's pretty obvious who's in charge. Angela runs the dim sum spot with her mother, and during the lunch rush, the 25-year-old native Portlander answers phones, swipes credit cards, signs checks and seats people--all at the same time. She says she doesn't like to sit still, never dines alone and knows exactly what she wants.
But for someone who's enamored with process and order, Angela lost a little control when it came to 35-year-old Hanh Truong. For starters, she didn't know when she first met Hanh--at a group dinner at Tuscany Grill in the spring of 2002--that there were romantic forces at work.
"I was being set up!" she recalls with a laugh. "My friends were playing musical chairs so we would be sitting next to each other." Angela left Tuscany Grill that night and headed back to Fong Chong in time to close the restaurant. The next day, Hanh showed up for lunch. "She was a looker," says Hanh, revealing he knew the set-up plot all along. "And I was very impressed with someone her age who was so ambitious."
Still, Hanh had news of his own that day: He told Angela he was leaving Portland in less than a week to live with family in Bakersfield, Calif.
After Hanh moved, the two talked regularly on the phone. "There were no awkward silences," Angela says of their new, long-distance relationship. During one of their conversations, Angela was lured by Hanh, who lived in the sprawling flatlands of Bakersfield, with promises of trips to Napa Valley and San Diego. When she arrived, things didn't go as planned.
"There is nothing to do in Bakersfield," Angela says. "We literally ate breakfast, drank Slurpees, watched movies and had barbecues for two weeks." She did make phone calls back home to the restaurant, but says the break--her first vacation in a year--was a needed one. Toward the end of her stay, Angela and Hanh visited San Francisco, and that's when Hanh had an idea: He wanted Angela to ditch her return plane ticket so he could drive her back to Portland. Thing was, Angela hated long car rides.
She relented, she says, because "I wanted to spend the time with him."
Hanh moved back to Portland that summer and began working in the restaurant. During that time, Angela set in stone her ideas about their relationship. Life at the restaurant might be stressful, but she decreed that they wouldn't take work pressure home. "If you can work together and live together," she says, "you can stay together."
Hanh, it seems, was thinking the same thing. He proposed in August. As Angela likes to tell the story: "At 3 in the morning, wearing a wife-beater and boxers! He didn't even have a ring!" Hanh considered a more formal proposal, but that night, he claims, "the timing was right."
The couple spent the next year and a half planning a semi-traditional Chinese wedding for 500 guests. Despite all that effort, what they didn't--couldn't--plan for was the anti-war rally downtown that occurred on the same day as their wedding. But the protest didn't seem to mar the event, which began with a tea ceremony at the Benson Hotel in the morning and ended after a feast at a Chinatown restaurant. When all was said and done, the couple and their guests spent more than 12 hours celebrating the union.
Following Chinese custom, during the celebration Angela changed her bridal outfit three times. Seems fitting for the kind of woman who, after all, has never been the type to sit still.