“Sometimes love happens by accident, when you least expect it. You can’t prepare for it, you can’t be ready. It just happens.”
Kyle Huckabee was looking for a tour guide. He found a fiancée.
The love story of the New Orleans bartender, 28, and Thailand native Bajaree “Noon” Boonma, 25, is one of six unfolding on this season’s “90 Day Fiance” on TLC. The couples are all going through international dating and impending marriage. In each case, one of the two has come to the U.S. on a K-1 visa, which gives the couples 90 days to marry or the visiting partner must return home.
Huckabee’s tale is typical in that he and Boonma first met online.
“I met Noon through Facebook when I was looking up a festival called Songkran,” he explained. “It’s like a big water-gun fight that they have in April every year to celebrate the Thai New Year.”
He made that first trip to Thailand alone in late 2013, spending 50 days taking in the country and meeting Boonma.
“I just wanted something to do, a life-changing experience,” he said. “I’ve been back there a couple of times since then with friends and stuff.”
In the process, the two fell in love, eventually filing for Boonma’s K-1 visa last year.
“The K-1 is the easiest to come (to the U.S.) on. They asked for a large documentation of our relationship, and you have to prove that you can be financially responsible for someone else,” Huckabee said, as the visitor cannot hold a job during the 90 days.
Huckabee’s worked at Olde N’awlins Cookery on Bourbon Street, one of the show’s filming sites, for over a year.
The couple waited nine months for the visa to be approved. During the wait, they got the call from TLC.
“They found us on a website called visajourney.com. Noon had a profile on there, they saw a picture of us and contacted us,” he said, adding they were on a backpacking trip in Vietnam at the time.
So far this season, viewers have seen Boonma’s emotional arrival at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport, her trying to adjust to Huckabee’s home, his roommate and the cockroaches.
“I knew what it (the first episode featuring them) was going to be about, and I tried to fumigate those damn roaches, and it just didn’t work,” he said.
Luckily, Huckabee had lined up another house for the two of them to move into soon after Boonma arrived. That was shown in another already-aired episode.
Also within two weeks of her arrival Huckabee planned an adventure in Slidell at Skydive Nawlins.
“The skydiving was a surprise. She took it really well.”
The bigger surprise, however, was back on the ground, where a large sign, visible as she descended read: “Will you marry me?”
As seen on the episode, Huckabee dropped to one knee, popped the question and presented a ring.
“I was scared, and it was fun at the same time,” Boonma said of her skydive. As for the proposal, “That was a surprise, so sweet, so very sweet.”
Having their love story play out in front of cameras wasn’t too intrusive, Huckabee said.
“It’s scheduled so it’s not too bad. The first time it’s really weird, but after a while you get used to it,” he said.
Meanwhile, Boonma said she’s had time to become comfortable in Louisiana.
“But before, it was very hard because I don’t know where to go, I didn’t have any friend here,” she said.
She said she speaks often via Internet with her family back in Thailand.
“So they know everyday what I’m doing, where I’m going,” she said.
Boonma has a mom, dad and sister.
“You can see, my English is not that good enough, and I think I have to get a job, so that is a problem, because I’m not good in my speech,” she said.
Accustomed to the spicy fare of her homeland, Boonma’s reaction to Louisiana food was atypical of most newbies to the state.
“It’s not spicy for me,” she said, “it’s still not spicy enough for me.”
In tonight’s episode, the seventh of 10, Boonma will confront Huckabee about his estrangement from his family.
Show rules prohibit him from revealing how this issue plays out before airing, and also, of course, whether he and Boonma tie the knot.
“I know what happens, but I don’t know how it’s shown,” he said. “But I think at the end it will turn out very beautiful, even though it will be a little sad.”
The season finale of “90 Day Fiance” airs Dec. 6.