Pandemic Love: Couples Who Found Romance in a Year of Tragedy

The last time someone celebrated Valentine’s Day was the most moving of any other year in the world: couples who met in movie theaters, bars were full of dates and were sharing candle dinners with restaurant lovers.

Twelve months later, the most iconic date night of the year looks quite different in the shadow of an epidemic that has killed millions, improved economies and daily lives. Theaters are closed. Most restaurants have limited capacity, if any. Many people are more reluctant to meet strangers or have casual conversations.

But the hope remains – for Vaccine rolloutFor the end of A painful cold And for new relationships in between All kinds of pairs, Some who met each other under painful circumstances. These four couples fell in love, and in some cases got married, despite being piled against them.

A few months before the novel Coronovirus cases, a trip to the Red Sea and a taxi began to bring 37-year-old Maria Saavedra, Luxembourg’s law administrator, and Abdala Ahmed, 27, a businessman from Alexandria, Egypt.

In October 2019, Ms. Saavedra, feeling unhappy and frustrated by dating, decided to join her friends on a diving trip known for diving the coastal city of Egypt. Ms Saavedra said she was sitting alone near the water, reflecting her troubles when Mr Ahmed suddenly appeared.

Like Ms. Saavedra’s friends, Mr. Ahmed was diving nearby, and the two shared a taxi back to an area near their hotel and their dive center. On that ride, Mr. Ahmed started a brief conversation – and when they went to each other again in the same area the next day, they asked him for contact information.

“From that day onwards, we don’t miss talking or talking for a day,” Mr. Ahmed said.

By December, they were in a relationship, and Ms. Saavedra met Mr. Ahmed in Alexandria that month. The pair planned to reunite in the spring, but were called off by the epidemic. They spent the next nine months separately, but in close communication, Mr. Ahmed consoled each other through hard work, lockdown, and home-schooling, Ms. Sawedra’s two children.

“I don’t know how I would have accomplished it if I hadn’t met her,” Ms. Saavedra said in a video interview. She tells Mr. Ahmed, “You saw me at the lowest rung in life, you really did it.”

By September, Ms. Saavedra was able to join Mr. Ahmed in Egypt. They proposed in Dahab, and in December they were married in Alexandria. When they currently live on different continents, Mr. Ahmed plans to move to Luxembourg, Ms. Saavedra said, adding that they will eventually have a second marriage in Europe. “I think the reason we came to know was that we always tried to be thankful for the meeting, rather than questioning whether we were separated,” she said.

Although Greg Marshall and Jade Phan met as college students near Seattle in 2018, they did not get to know each other until March 2020, when the epidemic forced them to attend classes from thousands of miles away, far away. did.

20 years old Mr. Marshall and 22-year-old Ms. Phan moved the two from Everett Community College to Washington State University, and found themselves taking classes, doing class work and socializing online. With Mr. Marshall in Seattle and Ms. Phan in Can Tho, Vietnam, she initially shared a picture of a miniature pool table on social media, which she shared on Instagram, adding to her interests in miniature models.

The post sparked a relationship based on daily FaceTime calls, text messages and Snapchat, he said.

“Because of the time zone difference, I would stay up all night just to talk to him,” Mr. Marshall said. “I felt like Jade was right there with me the whole time.”

He hoped that despite the epidemic, the trip would reopen. By July, Ms. Phan was able to fly to the United States to begin classes and live with Mr. Marshall. Their reunion at the airport was also shared online – The Video Their first ever kiss has been viewed more than 150,000 times.

“The more I know about him, the more I know he is the one for me,” Ms Phan said.

Standing against the blossoming cherry blossoms in Central Park in April, Carolina Morales took off her mask so that her date, Joe Wale, could see her face. It was a pivotal moment for the Manhattan couple, who met on Bumble two weeks ago and decided to give dating an honest try during the first wave of the epidemic.

Before meeting in person, Ms. Morels, a 29-year-old lawyer, and a software engineer, 27-year-old Mr. Well, got a chance to get to know each other over the phone and through video chat, and the couple realized their values ​​had been aligned, Ms. Morales said ch. The epidemic had kept him away, only talking remotely, but Mr. Veale said he could hear something special in Ms. Morales’ voice.

“I really like the voice of a woman who means a lot to me, because you have to listen to it all your life,” he said. “it is a good.”

Over the next several months, the couple switched virtual dates to Outings with Governors Island, Roosevelt Island and other parks across the city, and often cooked for each other. In a year the relationship was pushed to their limits, with Ms. Morales and Mr. Veal saying they were grateful to have each other. “We think it’s terrible about all the tragedies that have happened this year, but for us, it’s really the best year of our lives,” Ms. Morales said.

When the lockdown began last March, Vicky Green Began making masks and presented them to senior members of the Church of Elizabethtown, Ky.

One was Gary Knight. They had known each other for 16 years, but small gestures led to texting and phone calls and for weeks, Ms. Green, 67, and Mr. Knight, 74, bonded over their love of the Gospel Quartet and the trip. Mr. Knight asked them on a socially distant date, and the pair met at Chick-fil-A, where they parked their cars and talked for three hours, Ms. Green said. Around that time, he said, his granddaughter saw a new peep in his step.

Both Mr. Knight and Ms. Green had lost their spouses in recent years, and found that they could work together through grief and share a new joy. “After a couple of weeks, I realized that I wasn’t crying myself to sleep every night,” Ms Green said. “Losing a 48-year-old spouse is a difficult thing. And Gary was married for 49 years and a half. Together, we have nearly 100 years of experience. “

In June, Mr. Knight proposed. Two months later, he tied the knot in a socially distant ceremony. Mr Knight said the couple had learned a new lesson in the epidemic. “It can be found anytime, anywhere,” he said. “There is nothing to stop love.”

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