Good news, Xue and I got engaged!
The idea wasn't completely new to either of us, but I got to surprise her and pop the question over dinner the day after New Year's. It went something like this:
Scene: Thai restaurant in Boston. The table is crowded with dishes and we have perhaps eaten too much food.
X: I feel like I'm going to die.
J: What do you want to do before you die?
X: Get my PhD, and marry you.
X: Yeah, assuming I don't drop out or anything.
J: No, I mean, do you really want to marry me?
X: Yes, of course.
J: Okay, then I should give you this.
I reached into my coat pocket and pulled out a small wooden box. Xue opened it and found a simple silver ring that I made for her. I took the opportunity to go down on one knee, but I don't think we made a scene.
We came home to Tristan & Marianna's place where we'd been staying, and they poured us crystal glasses of very good champagne. There was a lot of smiling, and laughing, and some photos were taken. Then, as the night came to an end, we spent a few hours informing the internet and our famblies.