The Ramdolfis

The Ramdolfis

At last, my best friend is my wife. In retrospect, it’s clear that she was always the one. However, it took us years to arrive at forever and always. Our story begins 11 years ago during the summer of 2008 in a Southern California desert, right in the middle of nowhere. We were but teenagers who attended the same youth group meeting. While we were instantly infatuated, it would be almost a decade before we would admit it. We filled the years with phones calls, handwritten letters, and after moving to opposite sides of the country, overnight flights to see one another. Fast forward to April 2017, with a dozen roses in one hand and a guitar in the other, I surprise-serenaded her in the middle of the night surrounded by some of our closest friends in my attempt to ask her to be my girlfriend — she said yes. I promptly proceeded to quit my job, subleased my apartment, and bequeathed my possessions to move back Los Angeles where we would sign a lease. I began to plan the engagement, and the following year on the exact 10 year anniversary of when we met, I asked her to marry me — she said yes. The following year was a wonderful blur of wedding planning. Finally, as she walked down the aisle, I looked back at the long road that lead us to that moment where I would ask her in front of our friends and family to be my wife — she said yes.

Boyfriend and girlfriend, fiancé and fiancée, husband and wife, each of these periods pictured above have been a blessing unlike anything I could have ever imagined, each better than the last. As we embark on the adventure of a lifetime, as Mr. and Mrs. Ramdolfi, I thank the Lord for taking me to the middle of nowhere all those years ago and introducing me to my best friend, my better half, my wife.

Tell me, have you ever experienced a moment in life that seemed ordinary at the time but turned out to be momentous years later?

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(Featured Image by: EverTwo Films)

License To Wed

License To Wed

This week the wife-elect and I picked up our wedding license! Upon signing our license in just a couple of weeks, we will officially be Mr. and Mrs. Ramdolfi! This experience has been, well, everything! It has been fun, confusing, stressful, and ultimately satisfying — that is, once we had the license in hand. That said, there were some interesting items we learned along the way, namely, the following.

• Legal Name Change: Perhaps the most shocking fact we learned, is that in the United States there is not one single governmental institution that legally changes your name. After asking over and over to no avail, we finally came to an understanding that a wedding license is effectively a “ticket” to change your name, which is “activated” upon signing it during the ceremony. We must then mail this license to the registrar via snail mail, in order to receive a marriage certificate. Then, we have to take this certificate to both, the Social Security Administration offices, and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), to change our names with each office. Only then, are our names considered legally changed.

• Name Change Cost: Last year when I was still working mostly with lawyers, I was advised about the process and cost of changing your name. It sounded like a daunting and expensive process reaching the hundreds of dollars price mark. Fortunately, we learned that getting married is the exception! You may change your middle and last names at no extra cost when purchasing your wedding license — at $91 for a public marriage license, I am thankful for the almost $1,000 savings!

• The Courthouse: Part of obtaining the license is picking it up, which can only be done in person with photo ID in hand. This was interesting because it resembled going to a DMV, but in a marble building, a fancy DMV — part of it I think was because we went to the Beverly Hills branch office, which is just awesome! We had to go through TSA-type security (not awesome), take the elevator to the 3rd floor, and enter the room designated for both wedding licenses and traffic court, which we were definitely not expecting. We thought it was funny that there was a long line in the traffic court section and absolutely no one in the wedding license section.

Shortly after we arrived, an elderly couple (with white hair, limited mobility, and likely no younger than 80) joined us in the wedding license section. We overheard them say “neither of us have ever been married and were wondering if we could get married.” It was heart-warming and inspiring. It was a nice reminder that it is never too late for love, and that I am incredibly fortunate to have met my future wife so young. I can’t wait to grow old by her side.

Tell me, what was your experience with the legalities behind marriage? Is getting a wedding license as complicated in your country as it is in the United States? Would you legally change your name for love?

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(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

The Bridal Shower

The Bridal Shower

As you know, this blog is about married life in Los Angeles — with a perpetual flow of coffee. However, those of you that have been reading closely will know that the wedding is actually just ahead of us. With that in mind, the wife-elect (fiancée) had her bridal shower this weekend, and I was there!

I had never attended a bridal shower before. Heck, I did not even know men were allowed to these events! I suppose I was thinking of the bachelorette party. Regardless, I was happy to be invited, and so were my parents. It was an interesting experience, not just because it was co-ed, but also because it was diverse.

Perhaps it is Los Angeles, perhaps it is the times, but my future in-laws’ house was filled with people from all walks of life, which was great! Among the invitees were Judaeo-Christian conservatives, ultraconservatives, classical-liberals, actual liberals, all sexual orientations, Whites, Latinos, Asian, and Black Americans between the ages of 20 and 70 years old.

I personally love these environments, specially when they yield a healthy exchange of dissenting ideas that turn into debates. Alas, the woman of the hour avoids this sort of confrontations at all costs. I guess opposites really do attract — and no, the irony is not lost on me.

At the end of the 2 hour shower-turned-5 hour family get-together, we were exhausted (I literally feel asleep for a few minutes likely due to the Chinese food-induced comma), but glad that we attended. It was fun, and in case you were curious, I did indeed have a cup of coffee in hand the whole time. Cheers!

Tell me, have you ever attended a bridal shower? Do you like debating or do you avoid confrontations like the plague? Does Chinese food make you sleepy, or is it just me?

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(Featured Image by: Mr. Ramdolfi)

Reasons for Joining a Startup

Reasons for Joining a Startup

Today, much like every day, I woke up excited to go to work. It’s not a feeling I had felt since I first joined the workforce, and even then, I don’t think I ever felt this motivated. The reason? I work at a startup.

My startup, which shall currently remain unnamed, is in many ways exactly what you would imagine: ambitious youth, cutting-edge technology, exciting projects, and risk, lots of risk, an unusually high amount of risk actually. To paint an accurate picture of the level of risk, understand that I joined one week not knowing if I would have a job the next, and I would do it all over again.

Let me be clear, this is not my first job out of college, I am of sound mind and body, and I was not unemployed. In fact, I had a great job. I worked in Downtown LA (at the Deloitte building to be precise) where I had a corner office with a view of the city and earned an above-average salary. So why, then, would I leave? Why not, I ask back.

Sure, I gave up financial stability, job security, and the comfort of the familiar. But there is never truly a real guarantee that you will not lose your well-established job tomorrow (or that you’ll succeed in it). The difference is that at a startup this is not a secret. However, instead of focusing on the negatives, I chose to focus on the positives, among which are the following:

Opportunity: While your contributions at a large company may (or may not) be appreciated, they are likely to be but a drop in the bucket. At a startup you can make waves! For example, with no more than 5 years of experience in my field, I could only suggest ideas that more often than not led to nothing at my old job. Here, I am impacting processes and procedures. I am bringing about efficiencies that previous employers could only wish to accomplish. At the same time, opportunity has many faces at a startup. Specifically, there is no task too small or too large for anyone on the team, and thus you are able to wear many different hats and take on responsibilities unimaginable at an average desk job.

Excitement: I may not have been struck by lightening only to be in a coma for 9 months and wake up a speedster, but I do have some of the excitement of being the fastest man alive. I effectively work at STAR Labs, or at the very least it sure feels like it. My startup is past the handful of nerds in a garage stage and is now leasing a large R&D building that both looks and feels like the birthplace of a particle accelerator. That alone, is inspiring. The real magic however, lies just past the facade and among the rows and rows of overachieving, multicultural, ambitious peers who are literally developing the future. I cannot think of many more exciting things than, well, trying to change the world.

Happiness: This is the part where I acknowledge the fact that startups are not for everyone. I am completely aware that the same water that softens the potato also hardens the egg. Some people prefer a routine life, without challenges, without change, without risk, and that’s ok. But if you’re like me, you’re averse to the ordinary and crave the extraordinary, (to a degree) the avant-garde. If you’re in this pioneering camp, a startup will not only satisfy your needs, it will bring about something that you likely lost along the way ever since you first started paying bills: Happiness. More specifically, the happiness that comes with following your dreams.

Regret: Lastly, there is perhaps one single most important reason why I decided to join my startup, and that is regret, or in this case the lack thereof. I can say with absolute confidence that I would have always regretted not taking this opportunity, even at the cost of its almost insurmountable amount of risk. This, I believe speaks to more than just joining a startup; taking calculated risks, pertains to a way of life.

Ultimately, I would much rather live a life filled with rich experiences that may or may not work out, than look back at the end of my life longing to have done what I did not have the courage to do at the time. Thus, at the end of the day, if you’re wondering whether to take a leap of faith, be it with joining a startup or otherwise, ask yourself: What type of life do you want to live?

(Featured Image by: RawPixel)