Picture this: A luxurious Lebanese wedding awakens the fabulous musical nights of New Orleans. A group of Arab bachelors are celebrating their friends walking down the aisle. A fleeting thought “she looks magnificent!” and another one “me one day” passes from one dreaming mind to the other. Amidst the 3a2belak’s and the 3a2belek’s, a friend suggests “should we download baklava?” Right then and there, as Judy created her dating profile on the app, Kamal in the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan was creating his very own.
We had the pleasure of speaking with the now-couple and reliving the love story through the sparkle in their eyes and the passion in their words. Ahhh to be in love! We were incredibly lucky for this opportunity considering it’s practically impossible to track the course of a relationship after a couple has matched and taken their love offline. Judy and Kamal, and to all the couples who come forward to baklava, we thank you for sharing your story with us.
Love at first swipe? Catchy, but not quite. From the hopeless romantics searching for love in every match, to the cautious skeptics analyzing the authenticity of every chat, our members are already on the path to success simply by taking the initiative to be present with intention.
Judy and Kamal were baklava’s early adopters when the app first launched late 2020. For our protagonists, this mix of anticipation and melancholy put the odds in their favor. Kamal and Judy used baklava with the same mindset of “if it works that’s great, and if it doesn’t we move on,” which was a refreshing approach compared to their highly methodical lifestyles as an engineer and a doctor, respectively.
We were particularly charmed by Kamal’s intentional vulnerability for Judy. He proudly admitted that she was his first and only match, and he was smitten. She commented on his skydiving picture “I would never” and he replied with “we live together and die together.” Judy was taken aback by his bold yet endearing statement. “He must be an all-in kinda guy,” she mused. Kamal said that Judy had a specific picture on her profile that captured his attention– it was one of her magnetic hazel eyes. “I couldn’t look away,” he said. The eyes, Chico, they never lie. *sniff.*
The stars continued to align for our sprouting lovers when Judy mentioned that her family is originally from Aleppo, Syria. Kamal was adamant that she must have researched him on instagram and is playing smart. How could she possibly be from the same hometown as him? But from the same ancient soils of Ebla she was, and perhaps their grandparents were friends once upon a time…
We’d like to take a moment here to marvel at the significance of this “coincidence.” We created baklava to connect the global arab community. To create connections that wouldn’t have been possible due to the distance that separates us from our ancestral homes. The same distance that has given us our bicultural identities. Judy is a second generation Syrian American. Her family, like many other Arab families, had immigrated to the West due to instability in their homeland. Similarly, and a generation later, we see the same phenomena happen with Kamal. This yearning for our origins is the beating heart of baklava. We aim to keep our rich culture, Arabic language, and our traditions and values alive by finding each other, sharing new moments and old memories, and staying connected to our true identities. We may not be close to home, but we’ll keep home close to us through each other.
Back to our favorite protagonists in our epic tale! Discovering that they’re from the same city in Syria was simply cherry on top. They bonded over their love for Syrian cuisine, the banter in their mother tongue, their favorite memories from back home, and the fun goes on. Kamal made the first moves of visiting Judy in New Orleans; “I appreciate the traditional courting process and Kamal made the effort,” said Judy. We couldn’t agree more with Judy’s observation. In a world that’s running full speed on immediate satisfactions, our Arabic culture continues to respect the rules of engagement for dating.
As the couple nurtured their budding romance with travels to each other’s cities and meetups around the world when their schedules permitted, we were wildly impressed by the extra mile they went for each other. From Ann Arbor to New Orleans and eventually to plans of moving together to Baltimore, Kamal and Judy set the standard of how long distance relationships for love trumps settling for the girl/guy – next door for convenience. We’ll take a little bit of credit here, baklava’s minimal filter approach allows its members to gain exposure to Arab communities all over the U.S and even the world. We encourage our members to reach for the stars when it comes to finding love!
Our tale comes to an end with a favorite line from our match-made-in-baklava couple “when you know, you know.”