Four and half years a sound like a long time, but it is clearly, not long enough. Tai Shan, the National Zoo's prize panda cub heads to China Wednesday.
The panda was essentially on loan to the National Zoo. Sometimes the oooos and ahhhhs from the crowd drowned out the sound of Tai Shan munching on bamboo.
Wednesday is the panda's final day, but Frances Nguyen has been focused on Tai Shan since the beginning.
"My mom thought I was crazy hanging around here every weekend. She was like you're never gonna meet a man. You're never going to get married," said Nguyen.
Not so fast, mom. Enter Foo Cheung, a panda fan too.
Cheung told Fox 5, "You can come here and take photographs of these pandas and they could be sleeping for like hours and hours, right? So you have to talk to people who surround you."
So they talked. He remembers seeing her first.
"He said that he actually remembered a time when he saw me and my mom came. And I was eating potato chips and my mom kind of looked at him. Did she give you a funny look? Yes! She gave me a dirty look," he said.
Even that was not enough to keep these two apart.
"As time went by, you spend a lot of time here. Naturally you get to know people. You talk about things - life," said Nguyen.
And sometimes you even fall in love.
They got engaged and this past September, Nguyen and Cheung married. They are sad to see Tai Shan's travel crate waiting nearby, but glad he will be part of the panda conservation and breeding program.
"To me he's a very social bear. For him to find love and spread his "Tai-ness" around, it's hope for the future."
Speaking of the future, there is one more thing you should know about the union of Nguyen and Cheung.
They are expecting. Frances is two months pregnant with a cub of their own.