Our Story

Ashly and Andrew Engagment (114)

I guess you could call us high-school sweethearts. But it’s not as simple as it sounds. We met at the age of 14 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Our parents enjoyed the same career and un-traditional lifestyle; they traveled the world as teachers, taking jobs at international schools overseas. Needless to say before we even met each other Andrew and I had a lot in common. We both grew up outside our countries of nationality (I’m American, he’s Canadian) enjoying a very global childhood.

Andrew and I both attended the International School of Kuala Lumpur. I don’t remember what I thought when I first laid eyes on Andrew, but Andrew tells me he remembers very clearly what it was like seeing me for the first time. It was gym class, and I walked in as the new girl in high school. He said he thought I was cute, and liked that I was sporty and athletic. Girls and boys at that age can be quite different. For example I was tall and pretty confident, and Andrew was 3 inches shorter than I with braces. Nonetheless as soon as I got to know Andrew I knew he was special.

Our first date was our semi formal dance in 9th grade and from that night on we dated for two years. And that’s a long time… especially in high-school. But our young romance ended when at the end of my sophomore year of high-school my family and I moved back to Michigan.

Andrew went on to excel at our high-school in Kuala Lumpur (he became the president of his senior class, captain of his rugby team and starred in the high-school musical number; not to mention he grew several inches) and I went on to a new school to make new friends and adjust to life back in the States (let’s just say I got by, thanks to some amazing friends I made in Michigan).

We may have been separated by oceans and continents but we kept in touch as friends. And for better or for worse so did our parents! They were previously co-workers after all and still friends. So we still saw each other during summer vacations and spring breaks. Although we dated other people, I knew there was still something between us. I think he did too, although he won’t admit it.

When it came time to pick a university I knew I wanted to go to the University of Victoria. It was where a bunch of my former classmates from Malaysia were going, including Andrew. Our time at UVIC was great. I couldn’t have asked for a better university experience. I studied Political Science and Women’s Studies and became really involved in my campus radio station. Andrew studied Fine Arts and became involved in the student newspaper. And long story short, Andrew and I rekindled our flame.

I remember asking my mom once, “How do you know that you want to marry someone? How will I know who’s right for me?” And she simply replied, “You’ll just know.” And I did. I knew Andrew was the one for me.

Andrew proposed in December 2011. I said yes and we began planning a Summer 2013 wedding. We were forced to speed up the wedding planning when my Canadian work visa was set to expire in 6 months time (remember I’m American and he’s Canadian) and I was searching for ways to extend my stay in Canada. We met with a lawyer and were planning on applying for my Permanent Residence through a common-law application but the lawyer suggested the whole process and paperwork may be easier if we applied as a married couple.

The option of getting married on paper, without family around, was weird at first but then we realized it was just a piece of paper. So on February 19, 2012 we eloped with a few close friends to bare witness and colorful officiant named Rita who was kind enough to marry us with only a week’s notice.

Ashly and Andrew Wedding Ceremony Part 1 from Ashly Kissman on Vimeo.

And then on June 27, 2013 we were officially (officially) married. To us, this special ritual (white dress, big cake and drunken dancing, etc.) of celebrating our union publicly was still important. The beginning of our marriage and our two weddings weren’t exactly how I pictured getting hitched… but I have no regrets.



16 thoughts on “Our Story

    • Awww thanks! I am still surprised at how well it turned out. I just signed up for bloglovin. To be honest I didn’t know what it was when I read your comment, but now I am up to speed. Oh… the things you learn from the blogging world. Feel free to find me on there, and thanks!

  1. We have so much in common! My parents were teachers at Hong Kong International School (in fact, my sister attended a basketball tournament as ISKL one year!) and Andy and I met at HKIS when I was 15! But we never dated until ten years after we graduated. We stayed in touch as part of the same group of friends. Oh…and after Hong Kong his parents moved to Canada so both of my sisters-in-law are Canadian because his brothers met them there when THEY were in high school….and started dating ten years later as well! It’s a small world! πŸ™‚

    • OMG! super small world! My parents taught briefly at HKIS recently (2009-2011) And Andrew’s parents just got done teaching at ASIJ in Tokyo. It’s so great to meet other people who grew up overseas! And I do think it’s one of the biggest things Andrew and I have in common…

  2. Ashly! SMALL WORLD! I went to wordpress to look at starting a blog with them for my photography, and your “half marathon” story was featured! I started looking at the pictures and thought, “That’s Ashly Kissman?!?” WOW! I hope life is treating you well…I am also married now, have 2 little girls, and own my own photography business πŸ™‚

    • OMG! small world… so good to hear from you πŸ™‚ Life is great… and it sounds like life is treating you well too. I started the blog to document Andrew’s and I’s lives together… it’s been a lot of fun so far, thanks for reading it and checking it out! Can’t wait to check out your photography website πŸ™‚

  3. Hello πŸ™‚
    I love the simplicity of your elopement. I stress about the wedding so much! I CANNOT imagine myself going to such lengths to plan a big expensive day.
    What you did is taking it back to basics, and love.
    Love it x x

  4. Very fun to read this. I’m a Third Culture Kid as well and have ended up connected to many through blogging. We have friends who are on the International teaching circuit and have been all over the world, plus we raised our own kids in Cairo for 7 years. Love that you met your husband in KL! I look forward to reading a bit more of your blog.

    • Wow! That’s so cool. I love meeting others who lived the same lifestyle I did growing up! I have never been to Cairo but I want to go someday. Great to meet u and thanks for reading.

  5. Pingback: featured today on the newlywed blog ashly & monkey » Sorella Muse Photography

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