Love In Quarantine: Emily & Tomo Suzuki

Art by Sam Liacos.

We’ve been faced with unforeseen circumstances in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing us into social isolation and reflecting on our relationships–past, present, and future. Our new series #LoveInQuarantine focuses on how couples are loving while in lockdown and how (or if) singles are dating during these times.

Words by Maria Mora. Illustration by Sam Liacos.

When the country first went into lockdown, what thoughts were you having in regards to your relationship?

It was never a question of if we should stay together—it was more about how can we maintain the same healthy, fun, loving relationship we’ve always had throughout this unknown territory? We sat down at the beginning of all this and decided to give each other unlimited passes on uncharacteristic actions/behaviors/emotions resulting from stress and anxiety from the pandemic. It worked, and now we look back at some of our more ridiculous meltdowns and laugh.

In what ways were you and your partner able to adapt to the current circumstances of the pandemic?

For a while, it felt like a wave of negativity hitting us at every turn, and it was taking a toll on both of our mental health situations. For example, we had planned a trip to Japan back in March and had to cancel that and ended up losing the dispute, which affected us financially and emotionally since Tomo hasn’t seen his family in a few years. Then, Japan’s border completely shut down to U.S. citizens (and still is), and it was murky on who the US would let back into the country, so the realization that we won’t be able to go for awhile hit hard. We had to be each other’s primary support systems simultaneously, which took a lot of emotional awareness on each end. Looking back, we’re proud of how we handled that together.

Staying at home all day together in our tiny one-bedroom apartment was also a big adjustment. After a couple of weeks of settling in and learning how much space we each need, this ended up being nice because we were on entirely different schedules before the pandemic. We spent a lot of time cooking together, and we’re working on an exciting business plan that, outside of the pandemic, would have been hard to find time to focus on together. Honestly, there were even days where we were mostly quiet and decompressing on our own because we had reached our mental and emotional capacities—but we made sure to communicate when we needed those days, which was vital.

Also, because of government announcements that threatened Tomo‘s visa status, we became terrified that we would have to separate for an unknown time. We were already planning to get married in a couple of years, but as soon as that happened, we just looked at each other one day and were mutually like, “Let’s get married now.” No questions asked. So we got married! Definitely the highlight of our 2020 experience. Emily Suzuki

Congrats on getting married! What was it like to plan a wedding in less than two weeks? And were there any moments where you felt differently about tying the knot sooner than later?

Neither of us ever felt differently about getting married this year – we love each other a lot, couldn’t imagine being married to anyone else. After maintaining a stable relationship during this intense year, it always felt (and still feels) like the perfect timing. But, yeah, planning a wedding during a pandemic in less than two weeks was stressful. Since City Hall is closed here in NYC, we had to go through NYC’s Project Cupid program, which allows couples to make a virtual appointment with City Hall to get their marriage licenses. Soooo many people are trying to get married here right now (probably for similar reasons as us), so appointments were booked three months out. We had to have an open browser all day refreshing the appointment calendar for a month straight until someone canceled. We both collect sneakers, so it felt like we had been preparing for this moment our whole lives (but this time, we took a major W instead of an L for once). We also had to hire a last-minute officiant on Craigslist since our friend couldn’t get ordained in time since you have to mail in all forms. We paid him with cash after the ceremony. Once we had the appointment secured about a week and a half in advance, we went into full-on planning mode. We had the ceremony in Brooklyn Bridge Park, a few of our friends came, our families Zoomed in from Maryland and Japan, and it was beautiful. We had a blast. We’re planning to have bigger ceremonies in Japan and the US in 2022, so we still have plenty of celebrations to look forward to.

What were some revelations you and your partner came to during this time?

We love working together, visas are annoying, and we can’t live without each other.

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