One of the most popular Hollywood scenes of all time is when Rick sighs, shakes his head and says, “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine.”

And the romance of Casablanca is what most romantics of the world would want – a chance encounter, a happy accident, maybe even a little bit of serendipity. And then you think: Could this really happen? Boy sits in the bar and the love of his life breezes in just like that?

The answer is yes.

Not only did this whole “of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine,” scenery happen to Jim and Karla. It happened twice.

It was the first week in September 2014 when I traveled to Korea for some fun and adventure with my Seoul sisters Karla and Jenny. After visiting ancient temples and villages, searching for iconic coffee shops (ahem!) and getting lost in train stations for several hours, these three ladies went in search for a good pub with good food, good music and good conversation. That night, the sisters drank and danced and talked and drank some more. Little did we know that a certain Jim would be in the same pub, same time. They didn’t meet that night – no stolen looks or side-glances or hellos  exchanged. And that was that. Or so we thought.

Red Bag Road

Only that we enjoyed the place so much that night that we came back the next day, and, just as the universe had planned it all along, Jim and Karla were at the same pub, at the same time. Safe to say, Jenny and I saw some great sparks flying around when they finally got a chance to start talking (well, after Karla saw Jim apologizing to Jenny for a prank pulled off by one of his friends). The rest is history – emails were exchanged, numbers given, multiple Google hangout calls, visits to Manila, an engagement and a wedding a year after.

This wedding was extra special. Preparations were fun and full of laughter, complete with some pretty animated “brunch” meetings, a thousand WhatsApp messages, one surprise (and exhausting) bachelorette, some flights to Hawaii, little mishaps and forgotten things, plans that didn’t push through, a lot of wine and beer bottles, nonstop laughter and some nostalgic and cheesy conversations.

Not friends, but sisters. L-R: Jenny, Miakka, Karla, Kai, Bea and Phoebe
Not friends, but sisters. [L-R: Jenny, Miakka, Karla, Kai, Bea and Phoebe]
Karla's last night as a single woman and it was spent laughing the night away.
Karla’s last night as a single woman and it was spent laughing the night away.
Wedding preps at Hale Koa

With 10 folks gathered around a small spot on the serene beach of Waimanalo and the wind giving the lovebirds its resounding blessing, they quietly wed with vows that would last a lifetime. It was a beautiful September day.


The Fam Bam [L-R: Matt, Karla, Jim, Melissa, Ronnie, Patty and Pabs]
As they were pronounced man and wife, Somewhere Over the Rainbow became their song.
As they were pronounced man and wife, Somewhere Over the Rainbow became their song.

Watching Jim and Karla play around at the beach that day was priceless. I think we all knew it was a love story that was solely rooted in their love for each other that nothing else in the world mattered (except that they got hitched that day and could forever bug each other).

The Walk 1

The Walk 2

The Walk 3

There were no plans. There was some semblance of a schedule, but everything else was spontaneous. It was reflective of their story – a happy happy accident that everyone enjoyed immensely. No stresses (except for that feisty veil), only happy sparkles.


Someone once told me that there are some people who just know once they meet their life partner. And I completely agree. I definitely saw this in both Karla and Jim. The journey was definitely not easy, and a whole lot starry-starry-universe-planning commenced for them to have had that chance encounter at a random pub in Seoul, Korea.


Jim told me that he knew the minute he saw Karla that she was the one. He even thought it felt like they were already an old married couple when they started talking.


I guess that’s just what happens when you’ve journeyed enough and you finally reach the destination. There are no violins or angel voices or fireworks – just a certain beautiful calmness settling in and saying, “I’m finally home.”


3 thoughts on “Seoulmates

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s