Valentine’s Day Special: Booth Couples

Valentine’s Day Special: Booth Couples

Ah, Valentine’s Day. Flowers. Expensive Dinner Reservations. Nice dresses and suits.  Many people criticize this day as a day of artificial pomp and celebration, a creation of corporations peddling another holiday to generate more revenue.

I like to take statements like that with a grain of salt. Even if the holiday was created in order to commercialize love, does that mean that love or the feelings behind it don’t exist?  Over the last few months we’ve seen many of our classmates fall into relationships (and dare I say, love) – with stories and experiences that are hilarious, exasperating, humbling, and formative.

Leading up to Valentine’s Day it made me want to highlight a couple of these relationships and unpack the people, stories and emotions behind them. They are funny, lovable and so down to earth that I’m sure they will make even the rank and file of the anti-Valentine’s Day brigade chuckle or shed a tear.

I hope these stories remind us all that love and friendship and humor can be found in the people around us and in the smallest of incidents.  Enjoy!

Anna and Carlos

Anna and Carlos met during their random walk to India (if you’re looking for a sign on whether to do a random walk, here it is). Anna had the window seat and Carlos had the aisle seat with no one in between them for 17 hours – but they didn’t say a word to each other (ha!). Their love story began when they came back to Chicago from the random walk – the group of people you go on this trip with are truly your first friends during the MBA, so they hung out quite a bit after and it slowly turned into something romantic!

I found Carlos & Anna extremely endearing. Despite being such different people from different cultural backgrounds, they exuded a quiet sense of understanding of each other and comfort in being around the other person. One of my favorite parts of chatting with these two was Anna’s sheepish smile whenever Carlos elaborated on his thoughts, especially as we progressed along in the interview.  

Here are some special stories from their interview:

What is your favorite thing about each other?

  • Anna: “We balance each other out really well. Carlos is a very calming presence for me, I’m more type A and he always calms me down and if I’m doing too much he reminds me to relax.”
  • Carlos: “I am very calm but I don’t love small talk or laughing for the sake of it. Anna is very social and easy to talk to. When we are around people we don’t really know, Anna will be smiley and make it easier.” 

What is something the other person does that annoys you?

  • Carlos: “Anna is a morning person and I used to be, but I am not right now. She is used to waking up very early and she knows exactly what she will do. I don’t like being stressed so early. Anna also doesn’t like breakfast and I love breakfast so it makes our schedules different.” 
  • Anna: “Sometimes I feel like he’s too clique-y with his friends and I wish they would branch out more.”

Narrator’s Note: I’m with Carlos on this one. Who doesn’t like breakfast?!?

What has always been a value that you both have shared / is similar?

  • Carlos: “We value quality time and don’t just go out for the sake of it. We can just hang out and watch Survivor. *Anna chimes in* yeah a value we share is Survivor.”
  • Anna: “I feel like we both value hard work. Sometimes it comes out in different ways – Carlos right now is working on his start up and is up so late coding. We both get pretty committed to what we do.”
Justin and Maria

Justin & Maria met during their time as LEAD facilitators. He’d never moved out of Oregon prior to his MBA, she moved to Ireland from Mexico by herself just for a change of pace. He’s selective with his attention to people (until he isn’t, which is when he dives in). She’s happiest when she’s able to make everyone around her comfortable, whether she knows them or not. In a world of spontaneity and prioritizing others, Justin gives Maria a peaceful place that she knows is home. In a world of careful planning, Maria gives Justin a safe haven of positivity with her uplifting spirit.

Chatting with Justin + Maria about their love story was such a heart-warming experience! When I say they can finish each other’s sentences, I’m not joking. Often, they would look at each other and smile and the other person could articulate what they were thinking.

Here are some memorable stories from their interview:

What has always been a value you have both shared?

  • Justin: “We both have a ton of energy and fervor for life. We have high ambitions and dream big. Quick story: I’ll never forget the first time Maria met my mom. We weren’t official yet but we’d been seeing each other for 3 weeks. My mom was extremely emotional because she hadn’t seen me for 11 months. I sit next to her while Maria and her chat. My mom has a heart kinder than anyone I’ve ever met. Maria said ‘well people don’t remember what you say but they remember how you make them feel’. My mom almost fell out of her chair because she’s always told us that!”
  • Maria: “I agree about the eagerness for life but we are also very candid people. We care about genuinely connecting with people and making sure they’re okay. We are both very selfless. LEAD was an example of us not being egoistic about our time, we’re open to sharing it.”

What is something the other person does that annoys you?

  • Maria: “I’m picking between 2. The thing that annoys me the most is that he’s always right. I’m much more let’s just do it and impulsive and in the end there’s always a little bit of ‘he was right’. We are always in sync on the actual decision itself.”
  • Justin:” There’s only one thing. She has an incredible sense of humor and that means that we laugh together a lot. But I’m typically the center of those jokes and she keeps my ego at check. She can crush me at times.”

Narrator’s Note: Kudos to Justin for pulling a Michael Scott and airing out his grievances about Maria couched in compliments. Well done, sir.

What is one of the best moments you’ve had together?

  • Justin: “My favorite one was the coffee morning – we had breakfast and coffee and connected immediately. We had an intimate connection and talked about family and why we were struggling to date. I don’t want to embellish too much but I could look into her eyes and see a future together and see that we could fall in love.”
  • Maria: “There was a moment where we were chatting, and we stayed silent for 2 minutes. Then I said what do you think I’m thinking about? And Justin said “that you love me”. It was amazing that we could just read each other’s minds.”
Holli and Cat

Holli & Cat may have met right when they started at Booth. But their crushes began long before they arrived at school. Cat had already seen photos of Holli and her LinkedIn and she was extremely intimidated! They were supposed to room together during an LGBTQ conference prior to the MBA called ROMBA – Cat backed out and ended up staying with a friend just out of sheer nervousness. Eventually, they hung out during LEAD retreat and ran together for the first few months of school. They became really good friends. By the time they were involved romantically they had a really strong foundation so it felt easy! Being members of the LGBTQ community, they’ve both been through so much emotionally, not just from coming out but also from figuring out how to express that they are proud members of the community.

Holli & Cat exude a sense of having been together for several lifetimes. You can’t help but leave them wondering how in a world of 9 billion people, two people whose souls were intertwined in such a deep way were able to find their way to each other.  

These are some of their stories:

What is your favorite thing about each other?

  • Holli: “Cat is truly probably the most caring and warm person I’ve ever met. She really deeply cares about other people *Holli cried at this point and Cat hugged her (at which point I also wanted to cry)*. In my first year at Booth I had some hard times in my personal life and Cat just jumped right in and helped me in any and all ways that I needed. I really love her for that and it makes me want to be there for her too.”
  • Cat: “I’m learning how to express myself more from Holli. Over the summer she would slip letters in my backpack, and they would bring me to tears. The first thing that came to my mind as an answer is Holli’s resilience. It comes across in many dimensions – we’ve done ultra-marathons together. This is how her physical resilience shows – during our Kilimanjaro trip she was taking care of me during moments where I didn’t feel like I could make it through. Even small moments, like playing a game where I get frustrated, Holli will push me to get through it. I want to emulate that.”

What is something the other person does that annoys you?

  • Holli: “Oh I know. My annoyance is that at 5:55 PM if we say we’ll leave at 6 PM she’s ready early and I wonder why I can’t have the whole time to get ready. She’s very much the person who has a list of chores and if we say we’ll do them at a certain time, she’ll do them immediately instead of later and then I have do them with her instead of later, like we planned.”
  • Cat: “Whenever we say we’re going to leave the house at a certain time, more than half the time we leave 5-10 mins later because Holli has to do a bunch of stuff.”

What is one of the best moments you both have had together?

  • Holli: “Mine is how we’re moving to California after school. I wanted to go a couple times this year to get accustomed beforehand. We went to Marin Headlands – it’s right on the water and you can see the city. We were just walking and talking about the move and being able to envision this next big chapter and looking forward to building something together was one of the best moments for me.”
  • Cat: “I feel like it’s easy to say something like when we did Kilimanjaro together. We just got so much closer to each other. Also when we moved in together in August and talking about how we’re blending our lives. There were small details like ‘how will we blend our furniture?’ but also things like ‘how will we blend our day-to-day lifestyles?’.”
Honor and Jordan

Honor first met Jordan when he was being flirty with her at TNDC. At that point she thought “he must be married because he’s really cute and also normal and nice”. Fortunately for Honor, Jordan was, in fact, not married. Honor & Jordan’s love story was especially adorable to listen to because her parents also met at TNDC! She facetiously lamented this fact, wondering if she’s turning into her mom and dad, but I found it extremely lovable. Jordan initially thought Honor was cute and had heard through a friend that she’s a great human being. A friend who he’s since found out, does not in fact know Honor. But her intuition was right because these two are made for each other.

Honor and Jordan’s stories were filled with candor, a sense of deep comfort in knowing each other’s heart and intentions, and many many smiles. It’s clear that being around each other makes them feel complete – and witnessing it makes being around them feel complete.

Here’s a glimpse of some of their stories:

What is your favorite thing about each other?

  • Honor: “I think Jordan is very thoughtful, and that comes through in a number of ways. He cares about other people in ways that are uncommon and it comes through in his work – both in the army and his social work. He’s very smart and understanding. He’s pretty even keeled and I’m pretty explosive”
  • Jordan: “Honor is uniquely insightful. She’s keyed in on human nature in a way that is wonderful and rare. She’s intellectual – to her point we have very different perspectives. We are able to interpret actions differently and I appreciate when she brings me a perspective that I hadn’t taken before.”

What is something the other person does that annoys you?

  • Honor: “He has 4 Superman shirts, and I am such a picky dresser! Oh, and he shaved a goatee onto his face one time and it was the day of the IBG formal and I didn’t want to take photos with him looking like Megamind.”
  • Jordan: “She forgets dates – we will plan a date and the day of the date she’ll be like where are we going and what are we doing? I just want to take over her calendar and set notifications.”

Narrator’s Note: Honor’s Jordan roasts were pretty brutal and I didn’t help at all by cackling at all of them. But he just really took it all like a champ and I commend him for that.

What is one of the best moments you both have had together?

  • Honor: “There’s a couple answers to this. There are big events and there’s the day-to-day. There are so many special moments day-to-day but also big ones. We were in DC for a wedding a few weeks ago and we dressed up and danced and it was really fun meeting his law school friends. But we also enjoy doing a crossword together on the couch and ordering Chinese food and that’s really fun too!”
  • Jordan: “We had a lot of fun at your birthday last year!

*Honor chimes in* “He planned me a surprise party last year”

Jordan: “She told me to plan it”

Honor: “I saw lights on when I walked over and also heard my brother yelling through the front door saying I was there, but if you look at the photos I looked really surprised I swear. Jordan recorded videos of people saying happy birthday to me and it was really sweet!”