Ngong Ping 360

Newly arrived, Geoff was taken with Iris from their first meeting

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 06 August, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 06 August, 2011, 12:00am


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When Geoff Akien packed up and headed for Hong Kong almost two years ago, he also wrapped up a seven-year relationship. New to a foreign land, diving into another relationship was not top of the Briton's to-do list.

However, only five months after leaving Nottingham and arriving in Hong Kong he met Iris Wong.

Geoff, a 27-year-old postdoctoral researcher at City University, and Iris, who recently finished her master's degree at Chinese University, were married on June 12. They hosted a celebratory banquet with relatives and friends at the Kung Tak Lam Shanghai Vegetarian Cuisine restaurant in Tsim Sha Tsui.

The couple met in May last year while volunteering at a Rotary Club fund-raising ball at the Hong Kong Football Club. They were teamed up to sell raffle tickets.

Their first meeting left them both smitten. Geoff got Iris' phone number through a mutual friend and called her three days later to ask her out on a date. They took the cable car to Ngong Ping and Iris was surprised when Geoff suggested they walk back down.

'I thought we were going to just walk around the Ngong Ping area,' Iris recalled. 'I'm not really the hiking type. I must have misunderstood the walking part.'

On that two-hour hike, the pair got to know more about each other. They had their first kiss on their second date when Geoff asked Iris to see a band play at the Fringe Club.

Iris moved in with Geoff after they had been dating for three months, and that is when they started talking about marriage.

'I didn't quite see it coming. It just happened naturally,' Geoff said.

Iris said she was attracted to Geoff's generous spirit. 'He's very kind-hearted. He converted to vegetarianism not because he hated meat, but because he didn't want to hurt animals. That's very sweet,' she said. 'We always have a great vibe. We can talk about anything with each other. He's very sincere.'

Geoff popped the question in January at their home. They had just finished dinner when he got down on one knee in the kitchen.

'This was the place where I first knew I was in love with her. It was just a feeling, two months after we started dating, I think,' Geoff said.

Geoff tried to propose in Cantonese, but chose the wrong words. He asked Iris if she would 'take him in' rather than if she would marry him.

'It was quite an emotional moment, but his Cantonese totally made me laugh,' Iris said.

Even though they are now husband and wife, Geoff is not sure he is ready to stay put. One thing is certain, though, Iris will follow him wherever he goes.

'I know he doesn't want to settle down at the moment, and I don't want him to have regrets in the future,' she said. 'I don't want to be the one, sitting wondering in a couple of years' time, 'what if we'd done this or that'.'