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CHENG ZONG: 27 / data analyst

His interests: Swing dancing, rock climbing

First thing people notice in his home: Red lanterns everywhere

SISSI LI: 24 / tech startup analyst

Her interests: Jazz and Latin music, rock climbing

Her perfect date: A rooftop picnic

7 P.M. BATTERY WHARF GRILLE, BOSTON

GEAR CHECK

Cheng I had a cider before the date to help me calm down. I was quite nervous.

Sissi I went home to feed my cat because I wasn’t sure how long the date would be. She gets angry when I don’t feed her on time.

Cheng She owned her space like a rock star entering TD Garden on gig night. She wore a beautiful red dress, the type where you knew she wasn’t afraid to be herself. She had these big hoop-like earrings that looked awesome on her and really showed her personality.

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Sissi I’m originally from Mexico, and in Mexico we usually greet people by either hugging the other person or kissing them on the cheek. I don’t think he was expecting a hug, so I think that startled him a bit.

SMOOTH ASCENT

Cheng We talked a lot about our backgrounds. She is Mexican-Chinese and grew up being one of the only Asian kids at school. I grew up in the States but also have been one of the only Asian people in my neighborhood. So we both had to juggle dual identities. Talking about these experiences reminded me of how important [it is] to accept who we are.

Sissi Some of our experiences as children of immigrants were very similar. We also joked about the Facebook group Subtle Asian Traits. I knew we would get along once we started talking about things that are unique to Chinese families. It’s kind of an instant bond.

Cheng We then talked about traveling; it turns out we both really enjoy solo trips. We recounted experiences traveling alone and how liberating it is to not be locked into having to do things with your friends when traveling.

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Sissi We had a lot to talk about, we barely touched the “small talk” questions. Like I didn’t know what he did until we were heading out.

Cheng I ordered mushroom pasta. I enjoyed the environment.

Sissi I ordered the scallops. The food was really good.

Cheng We had a lot in common, maybe even too much. We both liked cracking crème brûlées, Spain, Spanish food, climbing, and white rice. The better I got to know her, the more I liked her.

Sissi He said he preferred Hulu over Netflix. He retracted and said it was a joke . . . but I took it very seriously . . . ha ha.

LEFT HANGING

Cheng We did not do anything else afterward. We had been talking for almost three and a half hours and we both needed to work the next day. I honestly thought that if the restaurant wasn’t cleaning up, we would’ve continued.

Sissi We walked to the T and both took the Orange Line. We hugged goodbye when I had to get off.

SECOND DATE?

Cheng I don’t think we will. We had a very strong connection but it was more as friends. I wish her the best. She is an amazing person with an absolute killer smile and will surely find someone better than me.

Sissi We got along and had a good conversation, but I think if we were to meet again it would be as friends.

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POST-MORTEM

Cheng / A

Sissi / A-


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