My closest friends while in college have all had the name “Ryan” in their name. Ironically, I never really called any of them “Ryan”

Ryan Surratt – Full name: Christopher Ryan Surratt. He was my first new friend in college. He’s married now to his lovely wife of almost 2 years, and he graduated from A&M a year early with a degree in leadership and 2 minors. Yes, he was white. I have a lot of respect for him. He used to call me jackie and I’d call him Chris (we had a rush hour thing going on). To be honest, I’ve done a horrible job keeping up with Ryan. So many key moments of my freshman and sophomore year are defined by the crazy plots we’d concoct in his dorm room. Most of them were always about inventions and girls, but nevertheless, crazy unrealistic ploys/plots. He evolved my image of a hick or over exaggerated southern cowboy. He never fit my idea of an ideal person because he wasn’t ideal. I will always respect that aspect of him because he would never settle for a little or less. He would always go above and beyond other’s expectations (always mine). I respected his maturity and ability to market himself. And when it counted, he was always humble and aware of his actions. The most rewarding aspect of being his friend was watching his faith grow tremendously in the three years he was here; we both did really. I miss him a lot, but most of all, I miss the cross-culture relationship God placed in my life. Someday we’ll connect again, over the phone or something, but we’ll see. 

Chris Chen – Full name, Christopher Ryan Chen. He was my first real bromance, ever. I met him my sophomore year the night before our ochem lab final over a few slices of Sarginos pizza from the commons. We were eating late into the night and cramming for that horrible ochem lab final (didn’t do too badly either). We talked about girls, girls, girls, and ministry, but mostly girls. At first, we had absolutely nothing in common, except for the fact that we were both asian and had girl problems. To be honest, this is still true today. The only thing different is he has more of a sense of fashion and is more of a man than most people I know. He is one of the more tolerable people I know, which is a blessing for me because he tolerates my behavior everyday. The fact that he’s studious trickles down onto me encouraging me to do the same. He is the most trustworthy person I know, and he reminds me to always take a step back and look at things objectively. Most important of all, he cooks for me. Like a good “wife” should, he does his invisible work for me, just kidding. But, I am very grateful to God for putting him in my life. He’s so compatible to all my friends, so I love introducing him to people I know. I enjoy watching him grow and change everyday to becoming more a man that I respect, that I love, that i would want to marry.

Ryan Yeung – Full name: Something in chinese. I met him over lunch at Which Wich, and the first thing we talked about was fellowship and God. Looking back on that, I realize that was probably a bad idea and perhaps that may have intimidated him. Now? He’s my son. When I watch him from afar, I wonder what he actually learns from me, if anything. But, in the one and half years he’s been here, I’ve seen so much change in him. When I first got to know him, I couldn’t even see God’s virtual presence running through him. I know he grew up in the church and knew all the right answers, but it just didn’t feel real. Now, after only a year and a half, I can see a boy turning into  a man of God. The Holy Spirit is clearly coursing through him and changing his very being. And being aware of all this, I’m also aware that I might not have that much time with him after this because he might not be at A&M next semester. I feel partly responsible because I feel like I could have done something to prevent this. I feel like I could have invested more in his life, his school, his relationships, and his walk, but I guess it’s ultimately God’s decision where Ryan ends up. I look forward to eventually attending Optometry school with him at UH someday, but for now, I will cherish every moment I have with my illegitimate son. I’ll miss his bottomless pit of a stomach. I’ll miss the free spirited joy that he brings with him when he enters the room. I’ll miss watching him grow alongside me everyday. I know wherever God puts this guy, He’ll be watching over him. And I love my son, despite all the horrendous birth stories I like to tell.


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