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Kids' Toast at Caleb's Wedding

Updated: Apr 8

Caleb's brothers Jonathan and Stephen were his groomsmen at his wedding that just took place on March 9, 2024. Many people were touched by their toasts to the groom at the reception. Here are the recordings and transcripts of their toast.


Jonathan

Hello everyone! I'm Jonathan, the second Lin brother. If you've been following this epic journey from Day 1, you're probably also in disbelief that we ended up here, celebrating the wonderful union of Caleb and Rei. I still remember the first conversation with Caleb as he told us about the woman he met and how God had told him that she would be his wife. Personally, I was stunned and in disbelief that this conclusion was reached before they really KNEW each other. Our whole family was highly skeptical. 

 

However you look at it, we are here today because Caleb is a man of commitment, faith, and persistence. Since I can remember, Caleb has always been a long-term thinker and idealist, and his courtship of Rei is the perfect illustration of these character traits bearing fruit.

 

As we've come to know and love Rei, we are now aware of how perfect this match is. Rei is compassionate, empathetic, and intelligent, which is really important. If you've ever been at the dinner table with the Lin family, it can be mentally exhausting just to follow along the rapid fire, rapidly branching discussions. Rei also brings some much-needed balance to Caleb's life -- she brings fire and intensity, but most importantly, she is actually aware of the time.

 

Since they've begun dating, we've also noticed the profound impact that she has had on Caleb's growth and maturity. Here are some of the things I've noticed:


  • Caleb has found a calling in loving and taking care of my parents unconditionally, which is one of Rei's core values.

  • Caleb has developed a strong confidence and sense of self; during our family calls, he is able to dish out wisdom like a 55 year old wise man.

  • Caleb has facial hair and now somehow looks Japanese.. Every passing day we look less and less related.


I could go on and on…. But enough on the compliments for Caleb.

 

When we were kids, we actually weren't friends. Our relationship was very combative. We fought so often we drove our parents crazy to the point that we would often both get punished even if one of us was the clear instigator. Back when we were in grade school, there was one day where my mom was driving us back from school and we were eating our own bags of corn nuts, which was one of our favorite snacks growing up. Caleb finished his, but I was carefully saving mine to savor the flavor. Of course he soon tried to steal my snacks and we got into a fight. So fed up with our bickering, our mom grabbed my bag of corn nuts and threw them out the window! The injustice still lingers today! This is how we grew up in a nutshell: mutually assured destruction.

 

One of the turning points in our friendship surprisingly came from Caleb being a bad influence to me. If you know us both now, that sounds preposterous! Caleb provided me with my first underage drink - gin - which I ended up hating for years. He also taught me how to sneak out and evade detection from our parents. Why were we sneaking out in high school? Because we both lived a secret life of going to bars and clubs with friends. We would cover for each other when we knew the other was 'sleeping early', or 'sleeping in'. But this game of hide and seek couldn't last forever. One of my most important life lessons was learned when this era came to an end - we were both eventually caught red-handed in the act. During this period, Caleb taught me how to come clean and repair trust. This was a pivotal moment in our family's history, in which we decided to be vulnerable with each other and learn to accept each other despite disagreements and fear of loss of acceptance.

 

In a Type A, high anxiety family, Caleb has always been an island of peace with a true sense of carefreeness. If you know me, I'm the polar opposite, with a much more organized but intense personality. When we were younger, I thought that Caleb's lack of urgency was a negative character trait, but as I get older, I realize how that was an early sign of wisdom. A question I learned to ask myself came from observing Caleb's internal peace: How do you differentiate between things that are urgent because of outside demands vs things that are important to your core values and identity?

Caleb has always had his priorities right, and with this marriage, I propose a toast to celebrate his public commitment to Rei. 

 

Rei - I have no doubt that Caleb will forever cherish and love you! 



Stephen

I’d want to sit here and tell a few funny jokes and stories to kinda ease into this before we get locked in here, so I’d want to start off by congratulating Caleb and Rei and tell you all about how I met my now sister-in-law for the first time. The summer before I went off to college in Chicago, my parents had run off to go travel the world in their fancy new RV while I was left to figure out what to do with myself for the 3 months before school started. Caleb was gracious enough to host me despite not having the space to realistically do so. I was quite literally sleeping on a fold out mattress tucked halfway between Caleb’s walk-in closet and his bedroom. Truth be told, this was the 3rd summer in a row that I had done this, so while this practice had become commonplace at the time, it was by no means any less of an intrusion. 

 

Each summer I would come back feeling slightly more like an adult. Whether it was the basics of learning how to do my own laundry, how to properly replace trash bags like they did at Caleb’s frat, or how to deep clean a bathroom. Those summers were the first place I learned how to be responsible for myself. I remember the first time I ever cleaned Caleb’s bathroom without him asking, he was so grateful that he took me out for breakfast the next day and told me I could order whatever I wanted. I didn’t quite understand his reaction at the time, but looking back, as an adult with an apartment that is seemingly constantly in need of cleaning, I can completely understand where he was coming from. Beyond the surface level stuff however, those summers felt like a coming of age for me, and even back then, Rei was already a prominent figure in Caleb’s life.

 

Now, I’m sure you all have had a chance to flip through Caleb’s manga to hear about how Caleb spent three years pursuing Rei before she finally decided to toss my man a bone, but back before we had this neat conclusion, Rei was very much so a legendary figure to the rest of the family. So, with all this infamy and context, as we were driving to Urth cafe on a Thursday evening so Caleb could meet up with Rei for “bible study” (truly the oldest trick in the book), I had a pretty good idea of what Rei was going to be like and how this night would go down. Before we could even arrive however, a mini cooper pulled up next to Caleb at a stop light and started honking at us. Low and behold, it was none other than Rei! Revving her engine, she shouted over the loud music humming from her car that she wanted to race us before dramatically pulling in front of Caleb and cutting him off. Now I won’t lie, I don’t know if any of you have had the misfortune of being driven from a point A to point B by Caleb, but his driving that night was probably responsible for the loss of a few years of my life. All this to say, from the moment we met, Rei has been a source of unbridled energy, charisma, and excitement that is truly the perfect match for Caleb. In the years since, Rei has been nothing short of amazing in the way she’s befriended the rest of the family, supported us during hard times, and for the first time in Caleb’s life, being a partner that he can not only learn from, but strive to be more like as well. We’re so excited to welcome you into the family Rei, and I’m personally really looking forward to finally having the cool older sister that Caleb never was quite able to be for me. 

 

Now if I can talk about the kind of person Caleb is for a moment, I apologize if I get a bit emotional here, but it really has been overwhelming and incredibly emotional trying to gather my thoughts here. Caleb has always been more than just a fantastic older brother, but also an incredible friend, confidant, and role model. When I was younger this took on a bit of an extreme form where I basically modeled everything I did based off of him to the point where I was often referred to as a mini Caleb. It was hard not to idolize Caleb when he was the one who in many ways helped mold me into the person that I am so proud and grateful to be today. Caleb had such a profound love for music and writing that it inspired me to learn how to express myself through art. When he noticed that I had an interest in cooking, for my 10th birthday he bought me 2 cookbooks that came with a note and a promise to cook one dish together every Saturday for the rest of the year before he had to leave for college. Looking back, I still have those two cookbooks sitting on my shelf filled with dog eared pages and highlighted notes, and whenever a customer asks, I point to those books as the reason why I fell in love with cooking in the first place. As I hit puberty and started to get riddled with self-confidence issues, Caleb showed me how to work out, taught me how to dress, and instilled into me the habit of telling myself a compliment every time I saw my own reflection in the mirror. It’s a habit that has stuck with me throughout the years, and while it has occasionally taken on the form of narcissism, I attribute this habit to the reason for the hard-won respect I now have for myself and my body. When I felt like life had beaten me down just a little too much, Caleb would stay up late into the night playing worship music for me on his guitar. 

 

To finish out, this past weekend has been really intense. We've been cooking a lot and Caleb was one who taught me how to cook in the very first place, so it was really awesome getting to come your way and make you this. And I just want to say, this past week, while being here, everywhere we go, people walk in the room and they say, “Wow, you look just like Caleb.“  I always think it's so funny because I remember I looked in a mirror afterwards and I said, “Wow! We have the same silhouette!”  And wearing that same necklace as Caleb everywhere we go. And I just wanted to close this out with the story behind his necklace.



For my 18th birthday, Caleb bought me this necklace, which is a part of our shared interest, is anime, and there's a show called Gurren Lagaan. I'm not sure if some of you guys are familiar with it, but in the show it follows an older brother who is a legendary figure and everyone looks up to him.

 

He's an incredible leader and he sacrifices himself to basically save his younger brother because he knows that his young brother is going to do great things. And he tells him, even though he's already this incredibly respected figure, that hey, I'm doing this because I know you'll surpass me one day and so he gave me this necklace and told me that whenever I doubt myself to believe in the me that believes in you. And those are the words I feel like I live by a lot now.

 

And I tell that to my loved ones as well, that to believe in the me that believes in you. So I hope that moving forward, you guys will cherish each other and that you will have a wonderful partnership and life together.

 

I'm so excited for you, guys. I am excited, Rei, to have you be a part of the family. And I was so grateful I got to cook this meal for you.


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