Style

She Took Him on as Her Running Mate

Dr. Jasmine Cecilia Huynh called off her first date with Vivek Viswanathan in June 2017 without an explanation.

“I was not fit for a date,” said Dr. Huynh, 32, who had connected with Mr. Viswanathan on the dating app Tinder a few weeks earlier, and canceled on him after experiencing what she called the worst day ever during her first year of residency at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif.

When the air cleared about a week later, she got back in touch, and not a moment too soon.

“In my mind I had already moved on,” said Mr. Viswanathan, 34.

The two then met at Hock Farm Craft & Provisions, a now-closed bar-restaurant in Sacramento that was near the State Capitol, where Mr. Viswanathan then worked as the special adviser to Gov. Jerry Brown’s chief of staff.

Mr. Viswanathan, who holds a chartered financial analyst designation, in January 2021 began working remotely as a senior policy adviser on the White House National Economic Council, and now travels between Washington and Sacramento. After graduating summa cum laude from Harvard, he received a master of philosophy degree in historical studies from the University of Cambridge and a law degree and M.B.A. from Stanford.

Dr. Huynh is now the chief fellow in the division of hematology and oncology at the UC Davis Medical Center, and is also completing a master of advanced study in clinical research at the University of California, Davis. She graduated cum laude from the University of California, Los Angeles, and received a medical degree from Tulane University.

On their first date, they sat at a table shaped like the state of California and identified with each other as children of immigrants — his parents came from India and hers from Vietnam. (Her parents escaped by boat to Hong Kong in 1980 and now live in Fremont, Calif.)

“That was a common thread,” Dr. Huynh said.

Afterward, they walked around Capitol Park, and before she got into her car, he surprised her with a kiss.

Credit…Gee Paily
[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

“What just happened,” she recalled thinking. “I don’t think I ever kissed anyone on a first date before.”

A couple of weeks later they met for breakfast at Mimosa House in East Sacramento around 7 a.m. She was coming off the night shift and he was on his way to work.

“It’s going to take a lot of effort to find out when we’re both awake and free at the same time,” he recalled thinking.

As they continued to date, Mr. Viswanathan tried to persuade Dr. Huynh, an avid runner, to go running with him. At first, she said she felt that her time running was better spent alone. “I thought it should be a solitary activity,” she said.

But that fall she reluctantly joined Mr. Viswanathan for a run around McKinley Park, and it became a weekly activity. Dr. Huynh later cheered him on when he ran the California International Marathon in December 2017; he cheered her on when she ran it a year later.

In January 2018, Mr. Viswanathan entered the primary race for treasurer of the State of California, running as a Democrat. Over the next several months, he ran 625 miles, from Sacramento to San Diego. Dr. Huynh ran alongside him that spring, joining him for a few miles in the Los Angeles area.

He moved in with her that November, after losing the primary and taking a job as the chief deputy director for budget for Gov. Gavin Newsom.

The couple became engaged in January 2020. Mr. Viswanathan proposed inside a yurt on the roof of Ample Hills Creamery, their favorite ice cream shop, in Gowanus, Brooklyn, while they were on a trip to visit his parents in New Hyde Park, N.Y. Inside the yurt, on a sofa, was a tiny pillow embroidered to read: “A fiancé is one of the nicest things to have, and the nicest thing to be.”

They first planned to get married in July 2021, but postponed the wedding because of the pandemic. On Nov. 23, Vikram Viswanathan, a Universal Life minister and the groom’s brother, officiated in front of 40 guests at a ceremony on the Mayor’s Balcony at San Francisco City Hall, where attendees enjoyed a Vietnamese tea ceremony earlier that day.

The couple’s wedding celebration was a multiday and bicoastal affair that featured other events, including a Nov. 22 mass at the Mission San Jose in Fremont, Calif., a Hindu ceremony in Flushing, Queens, on Nov. 27 and, of course, a stop at Ample Hills for ice cream.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button