|Bryan and Phi-Phi during their courtship, and 20 years later.|
Toward the end of her freshman year at Oxy, Phi-Phi was asked to speak in sacrament meeting at the Glendale Singles Ward—the Mormon congregation she was attending while at school. Her talk was a condensed version of this very story—about her refugee background and the miracles that brought her to America, to the church, to a new home and family.
A tough, rugged blue-eyed blonde named Bryan Anderton had moved to the Los Angeles area in January 1991 to intern with renowned photographer Jay P. Morgan. He had been attending the same ward for a couple of months, but Phi-Phi had never seen or noticed Bryan.
After church the Sunday she spoke, however, Bryan waited for her outside the building, about 25 feet away from where his motorcycle was parked. He introduced himself and told her how much he enjoyed her talk. Phi-Phi instantly loved his blue eyes. She was also attracted to his quiet confidence. “He was handsome, but so down-to-earth.” They chatted for a minute or two, then Bryan asked if she’d like to take a ride on his motorcycle sometime. Suave pick-up line. And very sweet, she thought. Phi-Phi protested, “But you only have one helmet.” Bryan quickly responded, “We can change that.” Two weeks later they went to the Honda motorcycle shop in Glendale for their second date and purchased two matching helmets…and they’ve been together ever since!
Bryan was quite a bit older than Phi-Phi, but her experiences had given her an unusual level of maturity, and truly, she was an “old soul” to begin with! Even though she was only 20 when they were engaged, Phi-Phi was overjoyed that love had found her when she was not looking for it or expecting it. She realized that she was as ready as Bryan to plunge into a loving, committed relationship.
That September, Bryan took Phi-Phi to her first-ever rock concert to see his all-time favorite band, Lynyrd Skynyrd. He proposed to her right there at the Irvine Meadows Amphitheater before the concert began, and she happily accepted!
Phi-Phi was also reunited with her birth mother that same September—13 years after they parted ways in Cambodia. She was able to take some time off from her studies at Oxy and went to Europe for two months to become reacquainted with her mother. She was there on her own for the first five weeks, and then Bryan joined her for the final three weeks.
Bryan and Phi-Phi were married in the Manti, Utah Temple (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) on April 2, 1992.
Here's a link to Part 10, the big finale!