Clear Cut Couples: Cleo and Mike
Cleo and Mike met serendipitously and their story is a bit of a wild one! In 2014, Tinder (and online dating as we know it) was in its infancy. As part of an assignment in Cleo’s sociology course at the Fashion Institute of Technology, she decided to download Tinder, meet 4-5 guys and write about her experience (fashion school is very...different). When the project ended, she never opened Tinder again. Until 6 months later, when she was in Hong Kong visiting family. She received a notification saying that she had a new profile match. Here's what happened - while she was doing the project, Mike was visiting NYC and was within my swiping radius and she swiped right on his profile. 6 months later, they were both in Hong Kong and he swiped right on her profile, completing their match. She was not interested in a new relationship, but Hong Kong is small - you will run into anyone and everyone on any given night out. So they met in Lan Kwai Fong, a popular bar area in Hong Kong and they started chatting and this is where it gets crazy -
At one point, Mike stopped and said, "Wait - you're half Swiss, half Chinese...went to high school in Dubai...is your last name '_____'?
Mike: "Do you have a brother named Dominic?"
Mike: "My ex-girlfriend left me for your brother, years ago"
Rewind to 2009 - Cleo’s brother and Mike's ex-girlfriend met at a high school Model United Nations conference in Seoul, Korea. He flew in from Japan and she flew in from Hong Kong and they were seated next to each other. They hit it off, she goes back home to Hong Kong and tells Mike she's met someone new. Fast forward 5 years later and Mike and Cleo meet! (Her brother is no longer dating that girl!)
Cleo was not looking for a new relationship when she met Mike that summer of 2015 in Hong Kong. They kept in touch and would meet for dinners whenever he passed through New York. She reached out to him the following summer when they were both back in Hong Kong and she happened to be on the market again - and so was he! They met for drinks at The Pawn in Hong Kong (they consider that to be their first official date) and continued to meet up for dinner and drinks throughout the summer, exploring new restaurants and cuisines. Food is a huge part of their relationship - they both love to travel and explore through food. Mike landed a job and moved to LA after he graduated from college and they did long distance for a year and a half while she finished up school and before she migrated over to join him. Cleo said it was the “best decision I've made!”
They have been together for over 7 years and have shared so many incredible memories. They took a little break while he moved to San Francisco for a coding bootcamp and needed some time to figure out what he wanted for his career. Cleo was convinced that he'd move to SF and never come back, so she insisted that they do their own thing for a little bit (it was her way of protecting her heart in case he did decide to stay up North!). Cleo was in Vancouver renewing her work visa when she got a call from the front desk of the hotel telling her that she had a package at the reception ready for her to pick up.
She said, “Excited, thinking it was my passport being returned with my visa in it, I went downstairs only to see Mike standing there in crutches (he had just gotten surgery for a torn Achilles). He knew that I wouldn't have agreed to see him if he gave me a heads up. He had gotten my whereabouts from a friend, booked a flight and limped his way to see me. Mike had turned down a handful of job offers in the Bay Area, decided he was coming back to LA and said to me, ‘I've realized that I can be offered a dream job, but it wouldn't be a dream job if it meant not being close to you.’ This was a pivotal moment in our relationship.” AWWW! One of Mike's friends recently texted him, "I remember five years ago when you were in SF and on a break with Cleo, you told me that you were going to marry her. You knew then and you did it. Congrats!" Clearly, they were destined to be together!
They went on a road trip down the Oregon Coast, and Mike had disguised the trip as his birthday trip, when really he had other plans! They typically plan trips together, but Mike took the reins in planning this trip and Cleo just rolled with it. He booked a cabin by a bay (https://baypointlanding.com/) where he had planned to do the proposal. They checked in, and Cleo had asked if they could go on a hike along the coast and he said, "Sure, we just have to get back in time for happy hour around sunset!" Again, she just rolled with it. Though, there were no bars in the little town they were in, so she thought maybe there was some speakeasy that she wasn't aware of. The hike was one of the most stunning hikes that they have ever done, and when they got back to the cabin, he asked that she put on a cute outfit for happy hour. She refused - "I'm very comfortable in my leggings and sweatshirt, I'm sure this is fine!" He didn't push, as he knew there was no getting her out of the comfy clothes. He shrugged and said, "Alright, in that case, happy hour will be here - take a seat and I want to read something I wrote for you." She took a seat in front of their cabin overlooking the water. At this point, she thought he was just being his sweet, romantic self and still had no idea. Mike's a Cancer - if you know, you know. He started telling her all the qualities he loves the most about her and only got a few words out before he started to choke up, which caused her to start tearing up - still no idea the proposal was coming. He continued reading, paused and said, "I have so much more to say, but I'll save that for our vows." That's when she knew. She started crying, he started crying, he got down on one knee and asked the question! She then proceeded to black out and said, “I don't quite remember what happened next because I was so shocked and processing everything!”
The proposal was a total surprise - she had no idea that Mike even began the ring hunt! She said, “When I saw the ring, I kept repeating, ‘this is not real. This can't be real!!!’ He also nailed the design - my dream ring and I hadn't sent or shown him any pictures of it! He confessed with a lot of guilt that he went through my phone while I was in the shower to access my saved pics on IG - that's how he knew exactly what to get!” Partners - this is the only time you're allowed to dig through phones ;)
They are getting married in November 2022 in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico! Cleo was born in Mexico and some of their greatest trips together have been in Mexico so it just feels right. They also love how colorful the country is - it definitely won't be a classic wedding! Congrats you two! We are SO happy for you!