How we met: “When the borders closed, I got the last seat on the last plane, to be with her”

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How we met: “When the borders closed, I got the last seat on the last plane, to be with her”


isn 2019, Damoon was teaching at a school in Coonamble, a rural town in New South Wales. He was keen on dating, having just come out of a relationship, but felt his options were limited. “A lot of people wanted to have kids and I didn’t, and the dating pool was very small where I lived,” he said. In December, he posted on a community subreddit for people without children, explaining who he was and what he hoped to find in a relationship. Mengzhu, known as Meng to her friends, spotted the post as soon as it was posted.

“I thought he looked really cool and interesting, but I lived miles away in a remote mountain town in Queensland,” she says. She responded to wish him luck, but said they were unlikely to ever meet. Damoon sent him a direct message asking if they could be friends instead. They started exchanging WhatsApp messages and calls, realizing that they were both passionate about travel. Meng told him that she was a dentist in Mount Isa, often driving for days in remote towns to visit indigenous communities that have limited access to health care.

“I realized we had an incredible amount of chemistry,” Damoon says. “We were on the same page about what we wanted and I saw myself having a future with her. They both had travel plans later in the month and realized they would be in Malaysia at the same time. They first met just after Christmas, in Kurching. “I’m a fan of cats and Kurching is a city of cats,” Meng says. “We met a lot of stray dogs and went to a cat museum. We walked around and ate street food from the night markets. After only a few days, they had decided they wanted to get married. “When you meet someone who shares your values ​​and dreams, after a series of relationships that don’t work, it makes sense,” she says.

In January, they returned to their hometown in Australia but kept in touch every day. By mid-March, however, it became clear that it would soon be impossible for them to travel to see each other due to the pandemic. As Queensland announced the closure of its borders, Damoon requested unpaid leave and rushed to the airport. “I got into the very last seat of the last plane out. He stopped overnight in Brisbane where he met Meng’s mother for the first time. “She lived there and worked in an elderly care facility. At that time, we had our wedding rings made, so I went to get them too. He went to Mount Isa the next day, but had to return to work after four weeks. With no commercial flights in operation, he rented a car and drove home for 22 hours.

In July, Meng found a new job and moved to Goondiwindi, two miles from the New South Wales border. When the restrictions eased, she and Damoon made an offer for a house together – but it quickly got more complicated. In August, the Australian government introduced a bubble system, in accordance with local government areas, meaning Meng was allowed to travel just inside the NSW border, but Damoon could not not leave his state. They frequently met in motels just inside the border bubble. “It was like we were having an affair,” Damoon laughs. In November 2020, he was finally able to enter Queensland and after two months of going back and forth quit his job and moved to his new home for good. “It was such a relief. The distance had been really difficult, ”he said. They got married on Christmas Day in Hobart, Tasmania, followed by a honeymoon on the Sunshine Coast.

Damoon loves his partner’s intelligence and his consideration for others. “Meng has the same sense of humor as I do – dry and sometimes morbid. She is very aware of the important things that are happening in the world and through her work she makes her country a better place.

Meng says her husband always puts 110% into his relationships. “He is very connected to the world and he has a knack for languages ​​- he learned Chinese while trying to speak to my mother. We both love to explore other cultures, and when we first met our plan was to travel abroad three times a year. We have a lot of catching up to do. “

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