Love can go the distance
Fate brought the two together in November 2012, when French bachelor Jean-Michel went Hanoi to attend the wedding of his best friend, who was the groom, while Giang’s friend was the bride.
Today, the now-married couple live a happy life in Singapore.
The first meeting
The couple met during the rehearsal dinner, where Jean-Michel was the emcee. Giang, who used to be in a college band, was to sing at the wedding reception.
“I remember noticing this handsome Frenchman, but didn’t get to speak to him much before the wedding, as we were busy with preparations and rehearsals. I found him very elegant and was happy when he asked to take a photo with me,” Giang recalls.
After the reception, the wedding party went to a club to continue the festivities. Jean-Michel and Giang ended up dancing all night and were the last ones to leave.
“He asked me if he could kiss me. Initially I said no, as I was kind of seeing someone. But I thought about it and realised that the on-and-off relationship I had with the other person wasn’t in a good place, so I decided to give Jean-Michel a chance.”
The two were inseparable for the next few days as they got to know each other, and even took a weekend trip together before Jean-Michel had to return to France.
“We emailed each other constantly, and I was very thankful for Skype, Tango and Viber,” says Giang.
They counted down the time till they could see each other again, and in February 2013, Giang went to visit him for two weeks in Toulon, in the south of France.
“It was an amazing trip and I learnt more about him, seeing the place he was from, and meeting his parents and family,” says Giang.
A few months later in May, the couple took another trip together to Greece, where they spent a week visiting Athens and Santorini. It was on this trip that they decided they had to be together.
Here and there
The couple now knew they wanted to live in the same place, but the question was where: France or Vietnam?
In a dramatic show of love, Jean-Michel gave up his job at the company he had been with for more than 20 years, and moved to Hanoi in August 2013.
After all, they would be able to live a more comfortable life in Vietnam, with the lower cost of living.
“It was a very exciting time and we were very happy, but it was also a trying time,” recalls Giang.
“It was the first time we were living together, and learning about each other’s daily habits, which is very different to being on holiday together.”
The second move
The couple settled into life together in Hanoi.
Giang was busy at work, while Jean-Michel looked for a job and went for interviews.
But when he received an offer it turned out that Giang also had something to share with him.
She was going to take up a new job opportunity in Singapore – just five months after Jean-Michel uprooted his life in France for her.
“He loves Hanoi and Vietnamese culture, but he didn’t try and convince me to stay. He turned down his job offer and agreed to the move,” shares Giang.
And then there were three
Just a week after Jean-Michel and Giang moved to Singapore in January 2014, more change was in store.
“I found out I was six weeks pregnant. I couldn’t believe it when the test came out positive.”
“I was worried about how he would react. When I told him he asked, “Are you joking?” – but it was out of happiness, and not alarm. When the doctor confirmed the pregnancy, Jean-Michel was positively thrilled. He was laughing like a little boy.”
In July 2014, the couple had a solemnisation ceremony, an intimate affair at Marina Bay Sands with very close friends.
And so a family, with their beautiful boy, Clement, who was born in November 2015, settled into a routine.
Jean-Michel became a stay-at-home dad while looking for work, while Giang continued on with her job.
“While we take turns to wake up at night to feed him, he definitely changes more diapers than I do,” she joked.
“He’s a great husband and father, and I couldn’t ask for more.”
Love conquers all
Successful relationships take hard work, and Giang and Jean-Michel’s is no exception.
“My parents divorced when I was young, so I never had a good example of a happy marriage,” admits Giang. “Earlier on, when Jean-Michel and I used to fight, I thought of giving up, because I felt it was too hard.”
But Jean-Michel, whose own parents have a solid marriage, has taught Giang what he believes it takes to make a marriage work – and that includes being there for each other and making sacrifices.
By Sunita Shahdadpuri, SimplyHer, May 2015
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