Ágnes was born and raised in Hungary, and her husband Kenny is originally from Hong Kong, but lived most of his life in Seattle, USA. They’ve met in 2010, shortly after Ágnes arrived to Seattle and started working as an Au Pair.
“From the very beginning we were so comfortable talking to each other. He was born in Hong Kong, and at that time the city was a British colony. So he was exposed to European culture, and always very interested in European history and the World War. He was asking me a lot of things about my culture and I think that made me feel very comfortable. He is a very kind and sweet person, and I think we are really meant for each other.”
“Toward the end of my second year in America, I asked if he wants to keep trying. We didn’t want to get married for papers, so we decided that I will try to stay in the country by applying for college. This status change would have allowed me to stay for a few more years, so we can see what’s going to happen with us. I was also going to move in with him. But me having the student status wouldn’t have allowed me to travel out of the country.
I was worried to not be able to visit my parents, in case they needed me to be there. So I chose the riskier path, which was going to Hungary and apply for a visa. I did, and I got rejected. This was a slap in the face for both of us and realized that we didn’t want to lose each other. We made an agreement that he is going to focus on his studies, I’m going to start working, and we are going to keep continuing on. And then he came and proposed. We made a promise that we will try to see each other as often as possible after we get married.”
“Pécs is a very beautiful city. Our venue was a hotel on the top of a mountain with the view. It was a small reception. My husband has a lot of relatives spread across the world, but we didn’t want to gather everyone and have a giant 300-500 person wedding, as is a customary in both Chinese and Hungarian cultures. So I wanted to draw a line and invite only close relatives. My parents, my grandma, my brother, his parents and his brother’s family. It was only 12 of us, but it was beautiful and cozy. I don’t feel like I was missing out on anything because I didn’t invite so many people. We were able to choose goose liver for appetizer, which is quite a fancy food even in Hungary. So getting it for 12 people wasn’t that hard.“
“When I started planning our wedding I asked my husband and my in-laws what kind of costumes they normally have. I didn’t know anything about Chinese weddings. My husband’s family came all the way to Hungary, and I didn’t want them to feel foreign. So I made a big surprise for everyone.
A few months before the wedding we flew to Vancouver. (Kenny and I would meet up in Canada all the time, since I wasn’t allowed into the States.) My sister in-law also came over, because we are really close. So we went to Chinatown and I secretly bought a red “Qipao” dress.”
“They have a lot of formalities and superstitions, just like Hungarians. For example eating certain foods on certain holidays. I’m always curious about that and try to accommodate them. It was important to my grandma, so why wouldn’t it be important for them.“
“In Hungary it’s required by the law to have an interpreter for the wedding, if somebody is from abroad. Because the person has to know what he/she agrees to.
So after the official ceremony and certificate signing I changed into the red Chinese traditional dress I bought in Vancouver, called “Qipao”. It’s red, with gold patterns. Normally it has a yin-yang pattern of the Phoenix bird (representing the female) and Dragon (representing the male). Mine was just with flowers. In the Chinese culture the red and gold are very lucky colors.
I still remember my husband’s face when he saw me in the “Qipao”. He always says that western women look much prettier with Asian outfits. He was very surprised.”
“From the Chinese culture we implemented the tea ceremony, where you serve a cup of tea for the parents. I think originally they do it in the morning before the whole wedding starts, but we did it after the ceremony. Kenny and I served the tea in a famous Hungarian porcelain, the Zsolnay Porcelain. (It’s actually from Pécs, the area I’m from.) We combined everything that was important for us.“
“Normally in Hungarian customs when you get married, after midnight the newlywed couple changes outfits, and the women should wear something red. It’s so funny that red is so important for Hungarians too.
As a Chinese tradition, my mother in-law gave me a golden necklace with a heart medal and Phoenix bird on it.”
“I always say we are a very interesting combination. We came from the two parts of the world. Hong Kong and Hungary are almost the same distance from Seattle. So we met in the middle. Kenny is very Americanized and I feel that the reason why we found each other so well is because it’s a combination of western and Asian culture. Chinese are very family oriented just like Hungarians, but there are also a lot of open minded things about communication like western people do. If he would have been just a plain Asian guy from China, or if he would have been someone from America, maybe we wouldn’t have gotten along.
After all, they say that the Huns came from Asia, so we do have a lot of connections with them. I think we are the perfect combination and that’s why it was so easy to get close to each other.”
When her first daughter was born, Ágnes started her jewelry business called A-Mia Handcrafted. She makes and hand paints custom jewelry with Hungarian folk art. Make sure you check out her beautiful work!
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