By Konrad's brother and Groomsman, Erik
I first met Konrad when he was expelled from the womb.
Bena came a bit later when she first visited that city of Konrad's expulsion.
An accurate way to describe Konrad is "in his own world".
But what is "his own world", exactly?
What is Konrad?
We just don't know.
One can certainly speculate.
To me, Konrad can be summed up in 4 words: art, music, Bena, and God. Probably in the opposite order. (Mikael, Konrad's older brother and Best Man, would probably add "confused" to that list.) Konrad began life engaging in activities such as eating butter, [melting crayons on the toaster oven and Easter eggs on his bedroom lamp], and running away from home naked into busy streets. One day years later he would come home late from work at the Saucers cafe down the street and proclaim proudly to me the degree of his drunkenness -- not that this would be something he would ever or often repeat, Bena. If anything, aside from absent-minded, Konrad's personality can be described as moral and level-headed.
Konrad and I grew up with a lot of similar hobbies like hacky sack, X-Men action figures, video games, and bubble tea. But the common interest between us that has stuck the strongest and longest is that of drawing pictures. When we were little we would make up our own superheroes, which were basically just Superman and Spider-Man with worse names, costumes, and super powers. We drew comics and hundreds of different characters in the exact same not-so-heroic pose. Eventually we developed our individual styles and found that in drawing we could express through pictures what isn't so easily or creatively expressed through words. We often would collaboratively ad-lib short stories in picture form, and our own personalities and expressive tendencies would come out through our respective drawing styles. Konrad continues to express himself through art. He has created a cartooned diary-esque vision of his life and the people he loves by assigning them animal-like personas and depicting them in various real-life scenarios. Konrad is a mushroom. Bena is a hamster. Mikael is a dog. I am a cow. I'm sure he has reasons for all of these. He'd better. Konrad took a few introductory Fine Art classes at U of M during the course of his Arts degree. He covered his bedroom walls in ambiguous coloured-pencil drawings of his own superhero characters when he was younger -- images that Mons must currently endure on a daily basis. Just what exactly is the ninja elephant wearing on her shoulders? He painted a mural on the cafeteria wall of our old highschool, Westgate, which he did finish... eventually. And as of late he has been working at De Serres art store in downtown Vancouver with his friend Lucy, with whom he organizes craft sales for the public. Art has been a constant in Konrad's life which has certainly helped in the way that I relate to and understand him. But, Bena, if you're decorating the walls, don't let loose the scribbling madness of your new husband.
You've been warned.
Anyone who knows Konrad knows that music is his passion. Whether he is singing and playing keyboard to U2 and Coldplay covers with Bena's enchanting vocals, or inventing, arranging, and writing lyrics for his own beautiful and catchy compositions, music has taken his life on inspiring and otherwise less-likely adventures. Konrad is self-taught at playing the piano and meagerly began tinkering around with one-handed renditions of the theme songs from X-Men and Flight of Dragons. From there he started following in his big brother Mons' footsteps by composing MIDI tracks with a computer keyboard, and later submitting his compositions to an online music competition on "TOS BBS". On this website he connected with the programmers and designers of a computer game contributing to the game's soundtrack, though the company fell apart before completion was achieved. Only a few years ago, back in Winnipeg, Konrad joined a Christian rock band for a time, called That Place, performing around the city and gaining credibility and experience as a musician. Music began and continues to be a significant aspect of the union of Konrad and Bena. It was listening to music together -- shared on an ipod -- for the first week of their meeting that served as the appetizer to their love. Half a decade later, the main course has just been prepared as they now journey forth not only as a single musical entity, but as a single life -- a single talent. A favourite illustrator of mine once said, "Music is everything!" Even a master of the visual arts recognizes the incomparable soul of music. That it is their greatest common interest speaks volumes (pun!) about the magic that together they have the potential to sow and that which they've already sown. Their musical skillzors are a real gift and blessing not only to themselves in being able to create and communicate such emotion and personality in a universal language, but to others in the joy that it brings to experience the magic they weave.
Konrad may have a degree in Asian Studies, but the only Asian he was ever really interested in studying was Bena.
Bena, better known as "Baby", is the Malaysian brains of the operation. While Konrad is, and I quote, "The least organized person in the universe", Bena is the ring master that keeps him in check and reminds him where he left his keys, shoes, jacket, and his head. Konrad and Bena are wonderful, beautiful, and talented individuals, whose brilliance is only magnified in the unity of their togetherness. Where one falters, the other fills the gap. They keep each other in line constructively and spiritually, which really radiates their faith and love of God.
I know that to both Konrad and Bena, God is the focus of life. Just two nights ago Konrad and I unregrettably stayed up until 5 AM talking about life, philosophy, and religion. This was likely the closest and most transparently we've ever communicated and it really opened to me the vigor with which he follows his beliefs. This dedication that they both possess is admirable in the least and is apparent in all aspects of their lives, and now their life together. Konrad may be always "in his own world" -- but now that you, Konrad and Bena, are joined in marriage, you may enjoy the adventure of creating your own world together and sharing in the wonder that is now no longer the "in his own world" of Konrad, but the "in your own world of Bena and Konrad". Your "Benrad", one might say.
Let your Benrad live long and prosper.
This is my blessing for you.
Published here with permission from Erik Chan