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When the Cute Man on Your Flight Turns Out to be Your Seatmate

Boarding a flight to Boston from Los Angeles in January 2018, Alex Zhou seen a cute man serving to somebody with their bag. The man, Eddie Lin Kay, turned out to be her seatmate.

She spent the flight with headphones on, watching “Merlin,” a TV present, on her iPad. Hours later, because the airplane started its descent, the 2 launched themselves and Mr. Kay mentioned that if she appreciated “Merlin,” she would take pleasure in one other present known as “Chuck.”

They spoke because the airplane landed and taxied, and as they made their method into the airport, an uncommon transfer for Ms. Zhou. “Usually, I shut random strangers down very simply after they attempt to discuss to me,” she mentioned.

However after they reached a rest room, Mr. Kay peeled off and so they went their separate methods.

Every week later, Ms. Zhou mentioned she searched on Google: “What’s the brink for including a random individual as a buddy on Fb?” The outcomes mentioned they need to have mutual buddies; they didn’t. She disregarded them and despatched Mr. Kay an invitation anyway.

The subsequent day, Mr. Kay messaged her, they started chatting, and a number of other weeks later, on Feb. 19, they went on their first date in Boston: lunch on the now-closed Gourmand Dumpling Home. Mr. Kay selected the restaurant as a result of Ms. Zhou, who was born and raised in Nanjing, China, informed him that she missed high quality Chinese language meals.

Ms. Zhou, 32, moved to america in 2009 to attend the College of Southern California, the place she acquired a bachelor’s diploma in worldwide relations. She went on to obtain a grasp’s diploma in economics from the London College of Economics and Political Science. She additionally acquired a grasp’s diploma in economics from Brown, the place she accomplished a Ph.D. in economics this week.

Mr. Kay, 41, was born in Elmhurst, In poor health., however grew up in Irvine, Calif. He has a bachelor’s diploma in pc science and engineering from M.I.T. and works as a director of engineering at Devoted Well being, an organization based mostly in Waltham, Mass., that gives well being care companies to older Individuals.

They deliberate to see “Black Panther” on their first date, however tickets have been bought out. Seeing the film was excuse for an additional assembly just a few days later, although just lately, Ms. Zhou confessed to Mr. Kay that she secretly noticed the film with a buddy between their first and second date.

They started courting solely, met one another’s respective households in California and China, and acquired a home collectively in North Windfall, R.I., in 2020. In November 2021, they went searching for engagement rings. “I’ve all the time needed to get married,” Mr. Kay mentioned. “I’m a romantic. I really like watching romantic comedies, Korean dramas with love tales.”

[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]

The subsequent month, Ms. Zhou flew to Cambodia for subject work, which was part of her Ph.D. program. She returned on the finish of January 2022, in time for Mr. Kay’s birthday, an event he hoped to make use of to suggest. However his mom, a doctor, suggested Ms. Zhou to isolate to keep away from spreading Covid-19.

“She hid within the visitor room, doorways closed, and we didn’t eat meals collectively or see one another for per week simply to be protected,” Mr. Kay mentioned of Ms. Zhou. The chance handed.

On Valentine’s Day just a few weeks later, Mr. Kay thought he had one other probability. He ordered takeout from their favourite restaurant and acquired flowers. However as they began consuming, he felt himself having an allergic response.

“Apparently the restaurant had tousled my order, which wasn’t presupposed to have egg,” he mentioned. He took Benadryl and a nap, and spent the remainder of the night monitoring his signs in case he wanted to go to the hospital.

The third time was the appeal. On March 5, 2022, he took Ms. Zhou to dinner in Boston at Gyu-Kaku, a Japanese barbecue restaurant. “I do know Alex will get embarrassed simply and doesn’t like a public spectacle,” he mentioned. So he saved the ring in his pocket till they have been again within the automobile, the place he lastly requested her to marry him.

They held a marriage ceremony for 120 visitors at Hakone Property and Gardens in Saratoga, Calif., on April 6, with the cherry blossoms in bloom. They have been formally married on April 18 in Cambridge, Mass., on the house of Cindy Jao, a buddy of the couple who acquired a one-day solemnization from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to officiate their intimate ceremony.

The Chinese language-American singer Katherine Ho, who sang Coldplay’s “Yellow” in Mandarin within the movie “Loopy Wealthy Asians,” carried out a number of songs, together with one in all Mr. Kay’s favorites, “Love Story” by Taylor Swift. Ms. Zhou’s relations flew in from China, and to accommodate them, the M.C. and D.J. have been each bilingual. Ms. Zhou and her maid of honor translated the officiant’s speech in addition to her and Mr. Kay’s vows into Mandarin.

“It was a dream wedding ceremony,” Mr. Kay mentioned.

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