Middlebury sophomores Adayliah and Liam spent the fall of their freshman year together — they just didn’t know it yet. After crossing paths through the Marriage Pact for the first time, they discovered that their similarities abounded, and have since found a romantic partner — and adventure buddy — in each other. Here’s their story.
Adayliah: In the beginning of our freshman year, I started making friends with people on my floor, and those people ended up being friends with Liam. But I didn’t even know he existed.
I sort of branched out throughout the semester but still stayed in contact with those folks, so they became mutual friends of ours by the time our names popped up on the Marriage Pact, but we’d never met before.
Liam: We actually lived in buildings next door and went to the same dining hall every day. We’d probably seen each other a lot, but it never registered.
When the match initials came out, Adayliah and Liam weren’t too concerned with cracking the code — though Adayliah did recruit some outside help.
Adayliah: One of my friends who doesn’t even go to Middlebury took a look through my Instagram following for me and tried to figure it out. And she actually did! But I wasn’t looking into it that deeply at the time.
Liam: I didn’t try at all. I just waited for the name.
They both laugh at his honesty.
Adayliah: And when the name came out, I figured, like, “Oh, this must be that guy I’m following on Instagram, who matches his name.” I DMed him and asked to grab a meal, because that’s what everyone at Middlebury does. So that’s what happened — we just got lunch on a Sunday. I remember the date — it was March 21.
Adayliah and Liam went into their first meetup with open minds, curious about where it might lead.
Adayliah: The Friday before we had lunch, my friends ran into you for the first time, and they kept saying, like, “He seems like such a nice guy!” That’s what everyone had said to me prior to our lunch: “He’s such a nice guy.” And I’m like, “What does that mean?” It doesn’t really say much about a person. I mean, it can, but I feel there’s more to people than that. So it was kind of a big mystery going into it. But it was a good time.
Liam: After that day, I remember we went on a walk and grabbed dinner. We had a lot of Tuesday night dinners.
Adayliah: We kind of made it a tradition, and we’ve continued it this semester too.
Liam: Tuesday date night!
Adayliah: We hung out a lot in that first month and really got to know each other.
Liam: Yeah, we went on a lot of bike rides.
Both avid explorers, Adayliah and Liam say they share a heart for the outdoors. They spent much of their free time that spring traversing the wooded area surrounding Middlebury, biking off campus into the nearby Adirondacks or Green Mountains or hiking the 18-mile loop around the town.
Liam: Honestly, it’s kind of all there is to do at Middlebury.
The couple made it official at the end of April, and have continued their outdoor escapades throughout the summer and into the fall semester. When classes came to a close in June, both Adayliah and Liam headed home — Adayliah to Princeton, New Jersey, and Liam to Rochester, New York.
Adayliah: We were both at home with remote internships, so we were able to see each other a little bit. We were about 5 hours away from each other, and also each 5 hours away from Middlebury, so it was a bit of a hike to get anywhere. But I have a friend who has a house up in Maine, Liam joined us up there for a little. We also did a longer camping trip later on — we did a lot of outdoorsy things throughout the summer and fall semester.
They say their favorite memory from the summer was their camping trip to Baxter State Park.
Liam: It wasn’t like coastal, cute, kitchy Maine on the coast of Lobster, but a state park in northwest Maine. There were a couple mountains and these large swaths of land that are undeveloped, so we spent a lot of time on the trails.
Adayliah: There was one point where we were coming down a not-super-popular trail in the mountains into this valley with free campgrounds. At this point we were really low on water — all we had left for food was like two apples or something. We were just sitting there on the benches together and refueling for the next few miles with our apple snack. And we were just surrounded by the mountain we just climbed, and it was really peaceful. It was just a nice little break we got to have together.
Despite their 99.5 percent match, Liam and Adayliah say they aren’t without differences.
Liam: I come from a big family with four siblings, and my grandma also lives with us. And she’s an only child, so that’s different for sure.
Adayliah: But I feel like a lot of our values really line up, even though our family experiences are really different.
I also think I’m a more reflective person — I like journaling a lot. And I think because of the way I approach and talk about my feelings we’ve been able to really open up to each other.
The couple spent part of the holidays together at Liam’s house in Rochester after a COVID outbreak — the second time Adayliah made an impromptu visit.
Adayliah: For our 6 month anniversary, we were planning on going backpacking in the Adirondacks. We drove there from Middlebury, it’s like an hour away. But then we ended up changing our minds and driving all the way out here for the night instead.
Adayliah and Liam returned to campus in January, and are looking forward to yet another season of companionship and adventure.
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