Digital Diaries Season 2 Episode 5: What if we kissed…under Weber Arch?

Anita Li, Assistant Audio Editor

On Season 2, Episode 5 of Digital Diaries, Northwestern couples reflect on their relationship and offer advice.



ANITA LI: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Anita Li. This is season two, episode five of Digital Diaries, a weekly podcast following the college experience and asking students a question about life at Northwestern.

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ANITA LI: As Valentine’s Day approaches, this week’s episode is about Northwestern couples! We see them cuddling in Norris University Center and holding hands walking down Sheridan Road, but we don’t always know how they got together. This week, I asked them to share their stories and offer some advice to their single peers.

ANITA LI: Weinberg freshman Stephen Levitt first saw Weinberg freshman Anya Mateu-Asbury at a party. Levitt says he walked up to her and told her she had really pretty eyes. They exchanged Snapchats, and then started saying hello to each other in passing. Well, Mateu-Asbury tells a different story…

ANYA MATEU-ASBURY: He kept saying “Hi” to me, and I didn’t remember who he was. And then he asked me to, like, a date party, and I went, even though I didn’t really know him. I thought I would try something new. I had fun.

ANITA LI: It was a month before Levitt asked her out.

ANITA LI: Why did you wait so long?

STEPHEN LEVITT: I didn’t think she was into me! She’s so pretty, she could have so many other guys.


ANITA LI: But Mateu-Asbury says she made the first move when she kissed him on the dance floor. They became official over winter break, when Levitt visited Mateu-Asbury at her home in New York. Mateu-Asbury says an important part of their relationship is honesty.

MATEU-ASBURY: If you’re not honest about the little things, it’s hard to be trusting about the big things. I just think it’s really important for the foundation of a relationship.

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ANITA LI: Weinberg third-year Tanya Kukreja also says she made the first move with her boyfriend, Weinberg junior Dan Yang. They met through their mutual friend, Weinberg junior Joey Pollack, at a group dinner in a Foster-Walker Complex dining hall. Kukreja wasn’t planning on finding a boyfriend at that time.

TANYA KUKREJA: I met Dan when I was in my, “I’m gonna be single for this year” mode. “I don’t need any men, I’m gonna be a strong independent woman.” And then I just thought he was really weird, but like cute. I just wanted to have fun. I got his number from Joey and asked him if he wanted to study or if he liked boba. I definitely made all the moves.

ANITA LI: On December 9th, almost three months later, they had their first kiss.

TANYA KUKREJA: We were studying on my bed, and I was like, “Okay, I feel like I should talk about this. What are we doing?” And he was like:

DAN YANG: Studying.

TANYA KUKREJA: And I was like, “Okay, but like, do you know what we’re doing, in terms of like, this?”

DAN YANG: And I was like, “I really like you.”

TANYA KUKREJA: And I was like, “Okay, I thought we had established that,” and he was like “No…” And then that was our first kiss.

ANITA LI: Their first date after becoming official was in Chicago. Kukreja chose to go to the Medieval Torture Museum.

TANYA KUKREJA: It was so bad. I thought I could handle it, I thought it would be like, funny, but then I went there and I was like, “Oh my god, this is horrifying.”

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ANITA LI: Weinberg junior Ambar Guzman saw Weinberg junior Dwayne Morgan in Allison Dining Hall winter quarter of their freshman year, and she made a plan.

AMBAR GUZMAN: When he gets up, I’m gonna pretend to know him, and ask what city he’s from. So I got up, and I was like, “Oh, are you Cory? I think I’ve seen you in, like, one of my Zoom classes,” ‘cause we were online back then. And he was like, “No, I’m Dwayne, and I’m from Memphis.” And he was like “I like your hair” and we had lunch again in Allison and we just kept getting lunch together.

ANITA LI: They had their first kiss on Valentine’s Day and became official two weeks later. Morgan and Guzman both say that if they had to pick a highlight from their relationship, it would be that first Valentine’s Day.

AMBAR GUZMAN: We just talked to each other the whole night.

DWAYNE MORGAN: I felt like she was my girlfriend at that point, even though it was like unofficial.

AMBAR GUZMAN: I had little butterflies when we would hold hands, so a little bit before Valentine’s day I kind of knew? But Valentine’s Day marked it off.

ANITA LI: What do you think keeps you guys together?

AMBAR GUZMAN: I think acts of kindness. We’re really sweet to each other.

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ANITA LI: Weinberg junior Hope Mcknight and former Daily staffer and Medill junior Sarah Aie met fall of their sophomore year through Professor Steven Thrasher’s journalism class, Reading and Reporting LGBTQ+ Health. They started getting breakfast before class together, then lunch after class, and then started hanging out regularly. Aie said one of her favorite memories from before they started dating was when they went to Lincoln Street Beach.

SARAH AIE: We just laid on blankets and we were looking at the stars and she was showing me a bunch of constellations, and that was very cool. And then I found out that she played Dungeons & Dragons. I was like, “Oh my God, this girl is perfect.”

ANITA LI: Their first date was going ice skating at Robert Crown Community Center.

SARAH AIE: We held hands for the first time.

HOPE MCKNIGHT: It was really cute.

SARAH AIE: It was like an hour into ice skating too, because I was trying to work up the courage. We were skating side by side, just doing like laps around the rink.

ANITA LI: Since then, they’ve done road trips in California and celebrated PRIDE in Berlin. Aie and Mcknight both say that this relationship has taught them to be vulnerable with each other.

HOPE MCKNIGHT: I don’t usually cry in front of anyone, except my dad once in high school over a project. And here, with Sarah, that is not the case.

SARAH AIE: The moment I started dating Hope, it was like waterworks every single week, and I was like, ”what’s wrong with me?” To feel such strong emotions — you have to confront yourself, but also it’s very nice to be able to feel those.

ANITA LI: Aie also said she learned a lot about emotional intelligence.

SARAH AIE: Being okay with telling her if I’m feeling sad or angry about something, and being able to do it right away instead of being afraid of how she’s gonna respond because I know that she’s always going to be supportive.

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ANITA LI: For all of us who have yet to find that special someone, Dan Yang has some advice.

DAN YANG: Hit the gym. That’s where she came to talk to me. It gives you an opportunity to meet new people, plus you feel good afterwards.

ANITA LI: Sarah Aie says to be yourself.

SARAH AIE: I think you shouldn’t have to change any part of yourself. Don’t try to make them like you. At the end of the day, you only want to date someone who actually likes you for who you are. And the only way you’ll find that, is by presenting your true self.

ANITA LI: Tanya Kekreja says her best advice for her beau-less besties is no advice at all.

TANYA KEKREJA: Sometimes you gotta enjoy the single life. Know that being in a relationship is not any indicator of your value or your worth, or anything like that.

ANITA LI: But for those of us lamenting another Valentine’s Day alone, Mcknight and Aie say not to worry.

HOPE MCKNIGHT: There’s a romance in friendship.

SARAH AIE: There’s romance to be found everywhere you go.


ANITA LI: If you want to see photos of these couples, go to our website, find this episode, and scroll to the bottom of the transcript.


ANITA LI: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Anita Li. Thanks for listening to another episode of Digital Diaries. This episode was reported and produced by me. The audio editor of The Daily Northwestern is Erica Schmitt, the digital managing editors are Joanne Haner and Olatunji Osho-Williams, and the editor-in-chief is Alex Perry. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or SoundCloud to hear next week’s episode on Monday.


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Twitter: @lifeisfab02

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