College and Married
story | Amanda Leong, Editor
photo | Evan Ma, Guest Photographer
I never believed that soulmates existed until I met Dave Chappell ’18 and Vicky Chappell ’18. This time around, the interview was held at Café Agora in the late morning, right after Valentine’s Day.
Perhaps this day was emblematic of how Dave and Vicky represented the next stage in a relationship after engagement—marriage. I was mesmerized by this couple: the synchronous way they talked and sat; the way Dave would frequently turn to look into Vicky’s eyes as she spoke, smiling.
Ed: Responses have been lightly edited for clarity and brevity.
How did your relationship start?
Vicky: We met through mutual friends, back when we were still in Residential College 4. Back then, people were really social in the sky gardens.
Dave: We bumped into each other once very briefly. The next day, we had a proper conversation in someone’s suite. From then on, we became increasingly inseparable.
Vicky: The first week or so we mostly hung out in the College. We bonded over really bad movies—the kind of movies that are so bad they are good. We watched Troll and Troll 2.
Dave: We shared our first kiss to Troll 2… which is an odd thing to say. I can’t remember the first proper date we had really. I asked Vicky out on her birthday but it wasn’t a date—I asked her if she wanted to be my girlfriend.
Vicky: I really liked what he did. Dave’s a bit embarrassed about it.
Dave : Er hmm…
Dave: Yeah, go on.
Vicky: He gave me a birthday present which he left in my room. I came back in the afternoon and found it. It was really cute—it was a little book of Simon’s Cat and some fake flowers because he knew that my real plants kept dying. Then, he gave me a card in which he asked me out. Even though he wasn’t actually there for that part, it was really, really sweet.
It was a total surprise. I didn’t expect him to get me any gifts because we’d only known each other for a couple of weeks. When I saw him in person that evening, I was like “yeah, I wanna be your girlfriend!”
The only thing we weren’t clear about was how serious it was going to be.
Dave: I think when we first met we both wanted to be friends, but then it quickly became apparent that emotionally, we didn’t feel like that.
Vicky: Dave had just gotten out of a relationship. I had been single for a few months, but it was a bit weird that things got serious so fast. But it happened and it worked out.
How would you describe each other?
Vicky: Nerdy… very nerdy.
Dave: Not very nerdy. I thought she was very cool when I first met her. I think she is less cool now that I’ve gotten to know her better… She’s shown more of her dorky side to me now.
Vicky: He’s obsessed with President Donald Trump and reading about US politics. He reads at least five articles a day! I’m not wrong—we had an entire discussion about this recently. Apart from that, he’s very caring. He’s a genuine feminist, which I like. He doesn’t just say that… He actually believes all this. He’s incredibly supportive. This has not changed—it has only become more obvious to me through the years. He’s also very smart.
Dave: I think a bunch of that also applies to Vicky. She’s super conscientious, like I get quite wound up by the little things, but Vicky’s very good at calming me down and being like “yoooo, stop that.” She encourages me to consider other people’s perspectives. She’s very determined; very decisive. I’m very… indecisive.
Vicky: I’m indecisive!
Dave: Not about important things. I’m indecisive about everything. You’re only indecisive about unimportant things like what to watch.
Vicky: We’re both very indecisive about small things like ‘where to eat’ and ‘what to do’. It can take us so long to figure out what we’re going to do that sometimes we just decide not to go out because we can’t figure out what to do.
Dave: She’s honestly very independent. We spend loads of time together but we don’t need to. Vicky can go off and do anything by herself. She’s so, so smart, and I really like how she is smart in a different way to me. Whenever I want to know something that I have no idea about, the first person I will turn to will always be Vicky. Generally whenever I have a problem, I always go to her first.
Vicky: For example, we edit each other’s work and read through it.
Dave: I was Editor-in-Chief of The Octant for a year. Every time we were publishing a big piece that we knew would be controversial, I’d always get Vicky to read it and give me her thoughts.
Vicky: I’m always asking Dave about Economics and Politics—things that I don’t know much about but he knows way too much about.
How is it like being a married couple in Yale-NUS?
Dave: I think Vicky has been a very big part of my Yale-NUS experience… Probably the biggest part.
Vicky: We have more stability in our lives. I think this is both because we are seniors now and we have each other. We’re very careful about how we spend our time. We try not to study until midnight. We tend to finish all our work by ten o’clock at the latest.
I think we’re more productive and organized because we support each other and we want to know that we have enough time to spend with each other. We always plan to have dates every week or so.
Dave: We’ve been going on regular dates, which is a nice way of getting off-campus. Every 16th day of every month we have to have a date—
Vicky: We don’t have to. There are times that we don’t. Last month we didn’t.
Dave: It’s because Vicky’s birthday is on the 16th.
Vicky: It’s because it’s our anniversary and my birthday. It’s very awkward having an anniversary and a birthday the same day. It was so sweet when he asked me out but now, every time it is my birthday I have to plan things for him as well.
Dave: This is the last year we are doing our anniversary on the 16th. From now on it will be the anniversary of our wedding.
How was the wedding and engagement like?
Dave: It was stressful to plan but lovely when it happened.
Vicky: It was a simple thing. We just got married at the Registry of Marriages here, and then we had a dinner with our close friends at Da Paolo BistroBar. We are planning on having a bigger one with family in a couple of years when we move to the UK.
Dave: My parents helped me get the engagement ring. While we were on holiday in the UK, we weren’t really spending any time apart so I basically got them to get it with my money, and they gave it to me later on in secret.
Vicky: Dave’s parents were very supportive. My mum was happy as well. My dad took a bit longer to come around. I think he was repressing it. He was like, “Oh, but you need to be focused on your schoolwork and not get married.”
To that I answered, “Dad, my grades have never been better. He is the reason why my school work is so good.” But now he is very happy and supportive. I think it just takes time for dads.
How do you feel about graduating and moving on? What are your future plans?
Vicky: We are moving to the UK after we graduate. Dave has a job secured already. I would like to live somewhere new, so this seems like a really good plan for us. Being married does help with the visa application process as well, as I’m applying for the family visa as a spouse.
Dave: Yeah, and we meet all the requirements for that. Vicky’s a Singaporean and I’m luckily not on the Tuition Grant Scheme.
As for our future plans, I think it’s both nerve-racking and very exciting. Being married entails a fair bit of both stability and instability in terms of leaving. We know that I have a job and can support Vicky while she looks for her job. We have a location. The instability comes in terms of getting there.
Vicky: I’m really worried about the visa application and moving countries. I have never lived in the UK before so I don’t know how much I’m going to like it. I also really want to get a job but I can’t even start applying for jobs yet because I don’t have the visa, which is kind of stressful. Dave will be making enough money for both of us, but I want to start work as soon as possible and not just be bored at home.
Dave: But all in all, I think we’re both ready to move on and are looking forward to starting another chapter of our lives together.
I was mesmerized by how the couple seemed to cut into each other’s sentences so easily and smoothly. With these two, a habit that is usually a source of irritation instead seemed merely to manifest the fact that this love story was shared and owned by the two of them.
Even if the interruptions contradicted what the previous person had said, the contradictions were contributory rather than destructive, adding another layer of truth to their story. After the interview, I, too, felt a little rejuvenated myself by this couple’s charm and happiness.