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Halfway Around the World, Their Paths Finally Crossed – The New York Times

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Sope Ogundipe’s mother had prayed he would one day marry a Nigerian woman. That day came after meeting Iyanu Imoru at a computing conference in San Diego.
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Mosopefoluwa Ogundipe and Iyanuoluwa Imoru are from the same Nigerian state, Ondo, the same local government area, Akoko North-East, and the same Yoruba tribe. But it wasn’t until they were halfway around the world that their paths finally crossed.
Mr. Ogundipe, 28, who goes by Sope, and Ms. Imoru, 29, known as Iyanu, met in September 2019, at the Richard Tapia Celebration of Diversity in Computing Conference in San Diego. Ms. Imoru was in a line of people waiting to speak to representatives from Microsoft when she heard Mr. Ogundipe’s familiar accent.
They made some small talk, but Ms. Imoru remained laser focused. “I was trying to get a job, not meet a guy,” she said.
Two days later, at the same conference, they attended a gathering on the beach, where they spent much more time chatting. Afterward, they shared an Uber back to their respective hotels. When the driver accidentally passed Mr. Ogundipe’s hotel, he took it as a sign that he was supposed to get her phone number.
After the computing conference, they kept in touch sporadically, and over time, more regularly, until they were speaking daily.
The two had relocated to the United States a year earlier, in 2018, to further their education. A graduate of the University of Lagos, Mr. Ogundipe had enrolled at San Francisco State University to earn a master’s degree in engineering. Ms. Imoru, who graduated from Obafemi Awolowo University and holds a law degree from the Nigerian Law School, came to pursue a master’s degree in computer and information systems at Prairie View A&M University in Texas.
Soon after Mr. Ogundipe completed his master’s program in May 2020, he took a job in Austin, Texas. The two then began to see each other every weekend; they would meet in Houston, or he would visit her in Prairie View.
Mr. Ogundipe, who had never had a girlfriend, knew that he wanted Ms. Imoru to be his first one because they shared the same values and envisioned a similar future. “It was just this deep-seated knowledge that I knew that this is the person,” he said.
That May, he told her, “I want you to be my girlfriend and I want this to lead to marriage.”
[Click here to binge read this week’s featured couples.]
Though open to becoming a couple, Ms. Imoru was at first hesitant about marriage. “Let’s see if we can get through a week of dating in person,” she recalled thinking.
By August 2020, she had come around to the idea. “I noticed how great we were together in person,” said Ms. Imoru, who completed her master’s program that December.
“I love how smart he is,” she added. “One of our first conversations was about a computer issue and it went on for several hours, but in that, he showed how he’s smart, funny, and always makes me laugh.”
In February 2021, Ms. Imoru began her current job as an infrastructure engineering associate at AllianceBernstein, an asset management firm in Nashville, where she moved that July and now lives.
The month before, Mr. Ogundipe proposed to her on a boat while they were on a trip to Florida in June 2021.
Currently living in Austin, Mr. Ogundipe works remotely as a software engineer at LinkedIn, the online networking platform, in Sunnyvale, Calif.
The couple married April 30 at the Woodlands Methodist Church in the Woodlands, Texas. Dr. John Hull, the pastor of missions at the church, officiated at the ceremony before around 250 guests. A reception followed at a hall on the church’s grounds.
The night before they were married, they held a traditional Nigerian wedding ceremony at the Crowne Plaza Shenandoah, also in the Woodlands, with about 120 family members and friends. During that ceremony, Mr. Ogundipe’s family presented Ms. Imoru’s family with food items like yams, oil and rice, and Mr. Ogundipe and his groomsmen prostrated themselves in front of her family. The bride, who is taking the groom’s surname, plans to relocate to Austin to live with him.
About a year before the couple met, Mr. Ogundipe’s mother had sent him a WhatsApp message telling him that she had been praying that he would bring home a Nigerian woman. “All you can do is pray,” Mr. Ogundipe recalled replying. “I’m open to anyone.”
Of the woman he ultimately found, Mr. Ogundipe said, “I preferred this,” adding that back then, “I just didn’t know it.”
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