Many people expect to find love right where they live, but for Gary Ang and Victoria Yap, love was found right here in Wildwood, almost 9000 miles from their home.
Gary and Victoria were foreign workers in the summer of 2008 as part of the J1 Summer Work Travel Cultural Exchange Program, a program that brings together students from across the globe, an initiative regulated by the United States Department of State. Gary Victoria hail all the way from Singapore. Morey’s Piers hires over 1500 seasonal associates to operate more than 100 rides and attractions, representing both domestic students and international students. This program gives students the opportunity to come to the United States to share their culture and ideas through temporary work and travel opportunities. Gary and Victoria both came as college students to work and experience the culture of this country. They never imagined that they would also find their “forever”.
Before coming to work as lifeguards, neither Gary nor Victoria had ever been introduced to the other. Although they lived in the same apartment block back in Singapore, Gary says that they “never had a chance to meet until we came to America”. They finally broke the ice when they came to the Wildwoods.
During her lifeguard training, Victoria admits that she didn’t like Gary much at first. She laughs, “He was the only one who wouldn’t get out of the water during the swim test! All the ladies were coming out but he was the only one who didn’t!” In his defense, this was the first time he had traveled to somewhere even remotely cold. “The water was 19 degrees Fahrenheit!” Gary says that he was initially attracted to Victoria because she was an “attractive woman”, and that their relationship eventually bloomed into romance.
She admits that while the training was hard work, it served as a striking example of the emphasis on safety that Morey’s and our country generally displays. Everything is set up in a way that ensures safety for all patrons, something the Singapore natives appreciated.
Indeed, Wildwood is an important place for this young couple. They found not only love, but long-lasting friendships. Gary said that he met people from all over the globe, many of which he still keeps contact with today.
While he worked in Wildwood, he said that sports were a large part of his experience. Soccer was a favorite. Something about the universal nature of the sport brought people of all origins, all languages, together. “Everyone just sees the ball and they all know to kick it, regardless of language,” he explains.
The couple also noted several differences between “local exchanges” in Singapore and those here in the states. Gary says that those in Singapore tend to be far less welcoming toward strangers than the locals in America. Americans, Gary said, are more willing to interact with strangers. “Americans here are friendly and excited to learn about our culture.”
Gary and Victoria visited Wildwood the first week of July for the first time since their 2008 lifeguard training. They were here to take engagement photos in the town where it all began. Morey’s was thrilled to host them, and the Morey’s staff was happy to host Gary and Victoria once again in the place that means so much to the recently engaged pair. The young couple is set to be married in September 2015.