Amanda and I were both born in Simi Valley, a quiet suburban town in Southern California. Our social circles overlapped early on; we attended rival high schools across town and shared common friends but we didn’t become close until well after graduation. In fact, it wasn’t until after college, and just two months before I deployed to Japan as a Naval Officer that I asked Amanda on our first date. So we added 9,000 km of separation to our blooming relationship and watched our fondness grow through letters and emails. An improbable and inconvenient start to romance, I admit, but also a worthwhile trial in trust, love, and commitment that would set the exciting tone for the rest of our dating relationship. After two years of Facetime dates and care packages overseas, Amanda moved to Japan, accepted my hand in marriage, and made 2015 the most rewarding and thrilling year of my life.