They first met several years ago in a University of Iowa lab that she worked at. “We were introduced briefly, but didn’t see each other again for a year,” she said. “In the summer of 2011, he began doing a research rotation in my lab and we became friends quickly. … We were friend first so it’s a little hard for me to recall when our official first date was, but I do remember details from the first time we hung out together alone out of work. He was helping me study for a very important exam and I remember thinking, ‘How can someone be so smart?!?!’ I was also very impressed at the time because of the exam and…he was very patient and understanding. I felt encouraged and confident.”
Fast forward to 2016 and they are planning their spring wedding while also juggling very busy lives apart from each; Xiaoni now working on her PhD at Yale and Jung finishing up medical school at the University of Iowa. This past weekend, she was back in Iowa City visiting and we quickly coordinated our calendars to make this engagement session happen. It was a perfectly beautiful Sunday evening for a session and we started downtown before making our way out to the lake.
One of the things that struck me the most while chatting with them was when Jung talked about Xiaoni and his career. It was very clear that, though he loves his chosen career path, Xiaoni comes first. This matched perfectly with what Xiaoni had told me previously, that one of the things she admires most about him is that he puts family first. While their futures are a bit unclear, with residency coming ahead and a job search after earning her PhD, they are both committed to being together, wherever that may be. I’m so thrilled for them and am so excited for their future together.