NYU seniors Maxwell and Melia were separated by two continents and over 11,000 miles when their names popped up in each other’s inboxes last February. Though on different campuses — Melia in Abu Dhabi and Maxwell in New York — the two quickly discovered that they weren’t just compatible, but uncannily similar. They share a love for everything from bluegrass music to Jiu-Jitsu to craft beer, align on family values and senses of humor, and even speak with the same cadence. Their story is one of bizarre and marvelous coincidence — reminding all of us that our soulmates are out there, even if an ocean away.
Melia: Max emailed me after the results came out, and neither of us were anticipating anything, so we just had a quick chat. But we were like, “Wow, that’s super weird. We’re super similar, it’s kind of scary.”
Maxwell: I wasn’t really looking for a relationship, nor was Melia. I was mostly looking for friends, and I thought it was strange that I matched with someone on the Abu Dhabi campus when I’m on the New York campus. But we talked a little bit and found out we have a ton in common.
We’re both into the exact same kind of music. And it’s not some super popular genre. We both like pre-Garth Brooks country music. We both do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and are into MMA. We ended up matching on a lot of things that just weren’t in the survey at all.
Despite their instant connection, the distance made things a bit murky. Maxwell and Melia put things on pause until the following fall, when Melia ended up in NYC for a study abroad program.
Melia: At first, there wasn’t a 100 percent chance that we would ever be in the same place. But then I studied away in New York that fall, and Max texted me before I got there and said, “Hey, would you want to meet up sometime?” I said yes, and we met, and we hung out for like, forever, and then we immediately started dating.
It was really funny, because in the first couple of weeks we were dating, he walked me back to my dorm room, and some of my friends were outside chatting. We just started talking to them, and one of my friends pulls me aside and whispers, “Melia. You guys are the same person. You even talk the same.” It was super freaky.
The pair spent that fall side-by-side, making the most of their time together before Melia returned to Abu Dhabi in the spring.
Melia: It was my first time in New York, and it was a really cool way to experience the city. He makes fun of me because I came to study away, and my foreign fling was a boy from California.
Melia recounts one highlight from early in their relationship.
Melia: On our second date, he had me over to make mead. Which was a really cool experience, since we’re both into craft beer. I just thought, “Okay, this guy is super cool. He can make his own beer. That’s awesome.”
But then on our third date, I thought, “It’s time to tell my dad that I met someone.” And on that date, Max made me something called “blood soup.” And it was so bad.
Maxwell: Okay, first off —
Max can’t hide his smile as he struggles to defend himself against Melia’s teasing laughter.
Maxwell: First off, it was not that bad. I’m a good cook, but I make a lot of strange recipes. So I made a Greek blood soup, which is basically made with pork, onions, and pig blood. And you have to add vinegar so the blood doesn’t coagulate. But the first time I made it, it was way too thick. But I made another the next day and it was very good, actually. Melia refused to try it though.
Melia: It tasted like metal!
Maxwell: Yeah, the first one kind of tasted like copper. But it’s supposed to just be a really good pork broth. But Melia couldn’t do it. But this was the day she told her dad about me, and basically said, “I met this guy, he’s gonna make me blood soup!” So when I finally met him, I was the blood soup guy.
Melia: My dad was like, “Alright, I don’t know what you’re doing in New York, be safe!” But later I took him to a concert with my family, and he did a little bit better from blood soup.
Maxwell: Yeah, they were very charmed. Now I am just Max.
At the end of the semester, the two visited Max’s family in Las Vegas for the latter half of the holiday break.
Melia: We both went home for Christmas, but I got to do the Las Vegas New Year’s thing with Max. I got to gamble for the first time, which was a lot of fun. I was actually doing particularly well, not to brag. We were playing craps and I was rolling for a super long time, and when I stopped, Max was like, “No, keep going, you’re doing so well!”
Maxwell: Another shared similarity is that we both play this one video game based in Las Vegas from the Fallout series. That was one of the things we brought up in the first couple days of us texting back in February. So in Vegas, we actually did the whole loop of the territory of the game together, which was super fun.
Melia returned to Abu Dhabi in the new year, but she and Max approached long distance with optimism. The two soon found time to reunite in New York, before traveling to New Orleans for an action-packed week of festivities.
Maxwell: It’s one semester, so it’s not as bad as it could be. Long distance gets a lot worse than one semester. And Melia did get to come back for spring break.
Melia: I went back to New York briefly, and it was really nice to be back there with Max. It’s like New York is home now.
Maxwell: And then we got to go to New Orleans together, which was a lot of fun. We went all around the city — we ate beignets, we went to a bunch of different restaurants and tried a ton of food. We also literally fed marshmallows to alligators. Turns out they’re safe to eat because they just dissolve.
Melia: We also went on a cemetery tour and kind of fucked with everyone the whole time.
Maxwell: It was a bring-your-own-beer cemetery tour. Only in New Orleans.
Melia: We bought one of those ghost-reading apps that reads the static or whatever. It was funny because one of them had the word Sierra, and Max is from the Sierra Nevadas. So we’d be like, “Wait, did you see that? He’s from there!”
Maxwell: The tour guide also kept making stuff up the whole time. It was super funny.
Melia: The people who bought into it were all our parents’ age. And we were like, “Come on, guys.”
Melia noted that traveling to a southern city was a bit of a culture shock.
Melia: It’s kind of crazy because living between Abu Dhabi and New England, I’m not used to people just drinking on the streets.
Maxwell: In the bars, especially the ones on Bourbon Street where they serve daiquiris, you know the movie theater slushies? It’s literally one of those, but relabeled “purple daiquiri.” And they put it in a giant styrofoam cup, and give you a straw, and say “Here you go.”
Melia: “It’s noon, have fun!”
Melia scrolls through her camera roll to pull up a picture of her on a boat on the Mississippi River, purple daiquiri in hand.
Melia: I was like, “They’re giving us alcohol to go see alligators?”
Maxwell: Yeah, it was wild.
It’s an arduous task to find a partner whose values and personality align with your own. It’s even harder to find one who shares your interests — down to the most niche hobby. Max and Melia are lucky enough to share all three.
Melia: Max is one of the first people where I’ve been like, “This person really shares similar values to me.” Both of us are super family focused, and that was really important to me.
Maxwell: Melia is one of the most emotionally intelligent people I’ve ever met. She communicates herself really well and really understands people. And she’s also the smartest person I’ve met at NYU.
Melia: Max also always makes me laugh, no matter what. I was telling one of my mentors at school about him recently, and I was talking about how the first time we met, we literally could not stop talking. Max and I can talk forever and ever, to the point where it’s almost a problem because we get distracted from our obligations. But I think that’s a really, really good sign.
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