Love blooms second time around
By Catherine E. Toth
Advertiser Staff Writer
The first time Tricia Fujikawa and Troy Lee got together, it didn't work out.
After dating for two months, they went their separate ways.
Then a year later, they ran into each other at the Ocean Club at Restaurant Row. It was awkward. And, at first, they avoided each other.
"It was so uncomfortable," said Fujikawa, 29, who just graduated from the University of Hawai'i-Manoa's Richardson School of Law. "I think we still had feelings for each other."
They did end up talking that night — and starting dating again right away. This time, though, the relationship would last.
Seven years later, the couple tied the knot on Jan. 8 at First Presbyterian Church of Honolulu, followed by a reception for more than 700 guests at the Sheraton Waikiki.
For this couple, the second time was a charm.
"We both had to experience what we needed to experience," said Fujikawa, who spent six months on the Mainland after the relationship initially ended.
And Lee knew not to rush into things this time around.
"I had to be a little more cautious," said Lee, 29, a flight attendant for Hawaiian Airlines. "I felt we'd probably stay together (this time)."
Despite their differences — she's highly organized; he's impulsive — they found they complement each other.
"We're total opposites in many, many, many ways," Fujikawa said. "He's got a great sense of humor; I'm more calm and serious. We balance each other out."
The one-year break didn't make much of a difference in the way they felt about each other. Except this time, they were serious.
"Within the first year that we started dating again, we pretty much knew we were settled," Fujikawa said.
So why did it take seven years to get married?
Well, it wasn't supposed to.
Three years ago, Lee decided he was going to propose to Fujikawa on a trip to Las Vegas with her family. They had never seriously talked about marriages, they never looked at rings. He did it the way he does a lot of things: spontaneously.
"I just felt it was time to take another step," Lee said. "I didn't think I'd wait three years!"
His plan was to get her alone on a gondola ride at the Venetian Resort Hotel Casino. But Fujikawa, who had no idea he was even thinking about getting married, didn't want to leave her family. So he wound up popping the question in their hotel room at the Four Queens Hotel & Casino.
"It was a total surprise," Fujikawa said. "I thought, 'No wonder he was acting so weird.' "
And her response was a total surprise to Lee, too.
"She looked at the ring and asked if it was real," Lee said, laughing. "Then she said yes."
But at the time, she was waiting to hear back from the law schools to which she had applied. She didn't want to juggle studying with planning a wedding. So she asked Lee if they could wait.
They started planning their wedding nearly two years ago, hoping for a summer wedding. But their schedules didn't allow for it. So they settled on January 2005, which gave Fujikawa some time to study for the Hawai'i bar exam in July 2004, a month after she graduated from UH.
The day after the wedding, Lee moved into Fujikawa's family home in Moanalua Valley to save money. (They didn't live together until they were married.)
That's when the couple got the good news: Fujikawa was pregnant.
"God always has perfect timing," said Fujikawa, who is expecting to give birth to a girl in November.
Though they've known each other for nearly a decade, they both agree that marriage has changed their relationship — in all good ways.
"We have a deeper connection and we take our relationship much more seriously," Fujikawa said. "The grumbling we do now are about more important things."
Reach Catherine E. Toth at email@example.com.