Resident Feature

Meet the Gizewskis

Too Blessed to be Stressed

Within 24 hours after meeting for the first time at a wine bar in Bellevue, WA, Tonya and Ted decided they were dating exclusively. Then, only six weeks later, when Ted got a job transfer to China, Tonya packed up her life and joined him for the adventure. “I remember exactly where Ted was sitting at the wine bar. He stood up across the room when I walked in the door. Such a gentleman! That was it…I was sunk (and so was he),” says Tonya. They have been inseparable ever since. Ted adds, “I knew immediately that we were meant to be together. Six weeks after we met, Microsoft told me I was being transferred to China, and I asked Tonya to join me. We met in March, moved to China that summer, and have rarely been apart since.” 

Even though Tonya agreed to move to China, she says she had no idea what to expect, “I had visited Shanghai and Hong Kong before but not Beijing, so I had no idea what I was agreeing to. We had not even met each other’s families yet. I flew to Santa Barbara to meet his parents, and then slipped into the conversation that we were moving to China. Everyone thought we were crazy, but we had the most amazing time! We loved it. We deliberately lived in the heart of the city. I learned the language well enough to be able to navigate just about any situation, and we did everything we could to learn Chinese history and culture. It was amazing.” 

Self described, “culture vultures,” Ted and Tonya love to learn about other places through travel. “While in China, we both filled up nearly an entire passport traveling around Asia. I am a huge Seahawks fan, having grown up in Seattle. One of my ultimate sports highlights was attending the Super Bowl in 2015 where the Seahawks played the Patriots. We were given the opportunity to attend NFL China, and it was a magical weekend,” shares Tonya. 

Ted spent his early years in Washington and then moved to Santa Barbara in middle school. His parents still live in the same house they built when Ted was in high school, and Ted and Tonya decided to have their wedding there. “It was the most perfect day! I flew back to America early to get ready for it. It was a December wedding so we had his parents’ home completely decorated for it,” says Tonya. 

A graduate of UCLA and former U.S. Marine Corps Captain, Ted went on to attend law school. He received his Juris Doctor degree from UC Hastings and is currently a Deputy General Counsel at Zoom Video Communications, Inc. “Zoom is clearly in the center of all of our worlds right now, and it is a fascinating role. Needless to say, I spend all day, every day Zooming. I began my role with Zoom in May, so I have yet to meet any of my co-workers in person; only on the screen. It’s an incredible company, full of daily excitement,” shares Ted. 

Tonya grew up in Washington and comes from a large family. She attended Washington State University and says she found her way into her dream career in real estate, “ I was recruited to join a mortgage company in 2001 and eventually became a co-owner and helped grow it into a national mortgage bank. While in China, Ted and I purchased investment properties, which I managed and I also earned my California real estate license. I started in Danville with Coldwell Banker and was Rookie of the Year, as well as achieving Diamond and International Presidents Clubs in my first three years. I am also one of the top 1% of Zillow agents in the country. I was recruited to join Compass in December and am now a proud member of the Khrista Jarvis Team there. I love real estate, and there couldn’t be a better place to work in this field than where we live!” 

Gemma, their nine-9 year-old daughter, completes the family. Her parents say they are proud of all she has accomplished, “She did remarkably well in school during the shutdown this spring. She made the honor roll in her first year of getting letter grades. Gemma is athletic and loves playing basketball, volleyball and swimming. She also loves dancing and has even put on a dance show for the neighbors with one of her friends.” 

And not-to-be left out is Calvin, a two-year-old rescue puppy. “He is a terrier mix, and is the sweetest dog out there. He is definitely the center of our family, and he loves his walks and seeing all his friends during those walk and on trips to the dog park,” adds Tonya. 

When Ted and Tonya returned to the US from Beijing they originally went back to Seattle, but Ted was hired by Workday, which is what brought the family to Blackhawk, where Tonya says they couldn’t be happier. “We live on Fox Creek Drive, the best street in Blackhawk, and we absolutely love living here! 

The Fox Creek area has the best neighbors! Everyone is friendly and would do anything to help each other. It is the kind of neighborhood where everyone stops to talk to each other, knows about each other and their families. It’s the best group of neighbors Ted and I have ever had!” Tonya says she is proud to have been a part of the team to bring a new dog park to Blackhawk. “I was very involved with helping to secure the site for the new Blackhawk dog park. It is so wonderful to see all of our fellow Blackhawk residents enjoying it every time we go there, and knowing how hard we all worked to help get it established. Thank you for being the best neighbors there are! We are so grateful to live here with you!”

Do you know a neighbor who has a story to share? Nominate your neighbor to be featured in one of our upcoming issues! Contact us at 

By Megan Scott, Resident since 2010