If you’re looking for interesting date ideas, ask UMich undergrads Asha and Mouhamadou. Since matching through the Marriage Pact last fall, the pair have never had a boring interaction. Their shared curiosity and thirst for knowledge sparked an instant connection, and have made for an enlightening spring semester full of learning, laughter, and adventure.
From separate Zoom windows, they tell me the story of their very first encounter.
Mouhamadou: I didn’t know her at all beforehand. Fun fact: when we got the match, I saw her name and looked her up on Instagram, and I couldn’t find her profile. So I was like, “Cool, I guess she doesn’t exist.”
Asha: Yeah, I’m not really on social media. But I ended up showing the name to one of my friends, and she said her roommate knew who he was. So I ended up emailing him. I just wasn’t sure how to go about it — I think I made the subject say “Wedding Plans.”
Mouhamadou: I remember thinking that was funny. She told me that I was a friend of a friend, so there was some way she heard about me. I thought it was weird that we only connected through email. It was very old school.
UMich matches were released late fall semester, right before finals week. After wrapping up their exams, Asha and Mouhamadou kept in touch over the holiday break.
Asha: We were talking on Snapchat mostly for about a month before we actually met up. But the first weekend we got back, we saw each other in person for the first time.
Mouhamadou: I have this philosophy that for a first date, you need to go to three different places. So we went to three different coffee houses first. Then we saw Spiderman afterwards.
The pair’s first date was picture-perfect — with one minor complication.
Mouhamadou: When we had been texting over snapchat, we decided we were seeing Spiderman. But the thing is, both of us had already seen it. So we were both sitting there having watched it already, pretending that we hadn’t seen it.
Asha: We revealed this to each other, like, months later.
Mouhamadou: I was looking for her reactions to stuff in the movie, especially when — spoiler — a main character dies. And I was like, “Huh, she’s not reacting to stuff that much. Interesting.”
Movie miscommunication aside, Asha and Mouhamadou’s first date was an unequivocal success. They saw each other regularly for the next few weeks, making things official about a month into spring semester. From the first encounter, the pair say their similarities were undeniable.
Mouhamadou: I had a sense that we were a great match from the first date. It was just insanely on point. Our shared values were apparent in every interaction.
For one thing, we both really value knowledge. I think the range of things we can discuss together is endless.
Asha: We can talk about something really serious, and then it gets really dumb, and then back to serious so fast.
Mouhamadou: There’s literally nothing we can’t talk about. I also remember being fascinated by her creativity. Especially with jokes, the things she comes up with are just insane. She’s just so quick and creative.
Asha: I think we also both love learning, and we’re always down to try new things. I really admire his drive, and his desire to learn how everything works.
The pair’s curious nature and quest for novelty are recipes for some pretty interesting date nights — from museums to meditation sessions to interactive Shakespeare performances.
Mouhamadou: The third time we went out, we went to Shakespeare in the Arb, which is a play that physically moves from scene to scene instead of being on a stage. They had us constantly moving around, and it was really fun.
Asha: On another date, we went to a sound bath, which was pretty cool.
Mouhamadou: We also saw a Ted Talk together with a whole panel of speakers. We go to a bunch of events and shows like that together.
Even in their differences, Asha and Mouhamadou say they make a near-flawless match.
Mouhamadou: We had a 90 percent match, so the running joke whenever we disagree on something is, “That’s the 10 percent.”
Asha: Yeah, it’s pretty funny. But honestly, ever since the pandemic, I’ve become much more introverted. I also did my first year online, so I didn’t get to be in a dorm and went straight into an apartment. I didn’t really know what to do around campus, either.
I think I just forgot how extroverted I am. Spending time with him, since he always loves going out and trying new things, has kind of brought me back into the world.
Mouhamadou: And it’s nice for me, as someone who was very outgoing earlier this year, to have some balance and grounding. I think we complement each other super well in that way.
Asha: Mouhamadou also always feels the need to finish everything he starts. We’ve been working on a 1000 piece puzzle since April, and it’s been brutal. He keeps saying stuff like, “C’mon, we could finish the rest of this in an hour!” We have like 100 pieces left, but every time we have to leave it, he’s very distraught.
Mouhamadou: If you start a project, you gotta finish it. If we had just set aside 4 hours at the beginning, we could’ve made it happen.
While Asha and Mouhamadou are a two-hour drive apart this summer, they say they’ve never felt closer. With each new conversation, challenge, or experience, their connection only deepens.
Asha: As we found ourselves in different situations, especially meeting each other’s families, it became clear that we fit into each other’s lives really well.
Mouhamadou: In every conversation we have, and in every aspect of our lives, there’s always a connection. It’s really beautiful to see.