In the midst of a pandemic, love persists.
For Alex McLaury and Carly Cobisiero, not even the coronavirus lockdown could stop them getting engaged.
Alex, 24, a clinical research coordinator at Columbia University Medical Centre, popped the question to his girlfriend Carly while in lockdown together in New York City – with a sneaky Easter egg hunt in their one-bedroom apartment.
Alex and account manager Carly, 23, met in their junior year of college at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa.
As a resident assistant, Alex needed to introduce himself to all the newbies in his college housing. As he was meeting each of his floormates he spotted Carly, who was at the university for what was supposed to be her only semester there for a national student exchange.
They clicked and Carly ended up fully transferring to the university.
Alex says: ‘I wouldn’t say it was all me, but…’
The couple moved in together in Hawaii back in March 2018, then moved to New York last July when they both got jobs in the city. That’s where they were when lockdown measures to slow the spread of coronavirus came into place.
‘We have done a fair bit of traveling together so I knew we’d be fine in lockdown together,’ Alex said. ‘We are a pretty perfect fit together lifestyle-wise, so we can always have fun together, even when we are locked down with each other in a tiny one-bedroom apartment.
‘Before the whole lockdown started, we talked about Carly staying with her mom considering she was working remotely full time and I was still going into work at the hospital.
‘As Carly normally does, she was not thrilled with the idea that we would be separated for that unknown amount of time during the quarantine. So, Carly decided she wanted to shelter in place with me in the city.’
Alex had secretly been planning to pop the question for months, intending to surprise Carly with a massive celebration the weekend after he passed the MCAT exam.
The plans were all in place for 20 March: Alex had secretly arranged for friends and family to come into Manhattan for a dinner, where the couple would go after a visit to the observatory deck in Hudson Yards.
Alex planned to get down on one knee on the observatory deck at sunset, with the moment captured by a photographer he’d sneakily booked in for the occasion.
But all these plans went awry when a pandemic hit.
Alex refused to let coronavirus put a stop to him making things official with Carly, so speedily came up with a brand new, lockdown-friendly proposal plan.
He arranged a timed Easter egg hunt in the couple’s apartment – a tradition they do each year to make the most of their shared competitive streak.
Eight eggs were planted around the apartment and Carly got ready to hunt them out as quickly as possible, as Alex timed. But this time there was a twist: Alex was keeping the last egg in his pocket.
‘After a few minutes of her starting to get quite aggravated about not finding the egg, I had her back to me and I got down on one knee and then finally told her I think I could help her find the last one,’ Alex tells us.
‘I grabbed the Easter egg out of my back pocket and opened the egg. The Easter egg had the ring in it.
‘Carly was in complete awe.’
Carly said yes, of course, and wasn’t too bothered about the trickery for the sake of a romantic proposal.
‘She was completely shocked,’ says Alex. ‘Her reaction was priceless.’
The couple are now celebrating their engagement in quarantine, spending their days embroidering, crafting, and writing – as well as watching Tiger King and season three of Ozark.
They’re looking forward to having a big celebration dinner once lockdown is lifted.