They're sailing into new waters


Therisa Chun And Colin Steven

January 13, 2002|By Sandy Alexander | Sandy Alexander,Sun Staff

At 7 o'clock on the morning before his wedding, as the sun rose over the water, Colin Steven rowed on the Patapsco River to Fort McHenry. Rowing with him were three crew teammates from college and his cousin from Scotland.

"It was excellent," says Colin, who has remained close friends with his teammates since they competed together at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Colin's bride, Therisa Chun, did not join him on the water, but she understood his desire to be there: The two met as freshmen on the UMBC crew team in 1993.

Therisa, who grew up in Ellicott City, gave up the early-morning practices halfway through her sophomore year, while Colin, of Silver Spring, competed for four years, but they shared a circle of friends they had made through the sport.

Dating each other "didn't work out" for the first few years, says Colin. But in the summer of 1996, both were unattached and living on campus -- Therisa for summer classes and Colin for an internship. Therisa was worried that dating would hurt their friendship, but one dinner seemed harmless, so she asked Colin out for sushi.

"It's been one long date ever since," she says.

That August, Colin left to visit his family in Scotland. When he returned a few weeks later, Therisa surprised him at the airport -- a task that involved driving a manual-transmission car for the first time -- and both remember it as a sign that their relationship was getting more serious.

In 1997, Colin graduated and began a master's degree program at the University of Maryland Biotechnology Institute's Center of Marine Biotechnology. Therisa completed her bachelor's degree in 1998, and then spent 10 months studying computer software. She was deciding what to do next when Colin, now a senior research assistant at the biotechnology center, introduced her to one of the organization's managers. She got a job at the center providing information-tech- nology support.

"I really like it," Therisa says of working at the same place as Colin. But, she says laughing, "I'm very surprised he hasn't gotten sick of me yet."

At home, the two, both 26, give each other some space. Colin goes fishing with friends some weekends, and Therisa sometimes visits friends around the country, with Colin's blessing. When they are together, they enjoy exercising, travel and walking their dog.

Their most difficult time came after nearly four years together. Colin says he wanted to be with Therisa, but didn't feel ready for marriage. Therisa felt that the time for a commitment had come. She broke up with him.

"I really missed her," Colin says, and after several months apart, they patched up their differences. A few months later, they decided to get married.

Colin asked Therisa to help him choose an engagement ring and gave it to her while on a trip to Cape Henlopen, Del. Even though she knew it was coming, Therisa says, "It was after sunset, on the beach. It was very romantic."

They were married Dec. 2 at the Newton White Mansion in Mitchellville. A member of the Baltimore Ethical Society led the nondenominational ceremony.

Therisa and Colin had both moved to the United States with their families when they were young -- Colin from Scotland and Therisa from Korea -- so there were many international guests as well as local friends at the wedding.

The couple, who live in Catonsville, say they balance each other. Therisa says Colin is more laid-back, while she worries more about getting things done.

But Colin adds, "We don't overanalyze. ... We don't worry what it is, we just know that it works."


Just Married

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