Putting Down Roots After Finding Love

Isaiah Bryant said he wasn’t much for traveling before he met Emily Maretsky.

He’d gone abroad with USA Ultimate, which is the governing body of Ultimate Frisbee in the United States (he is now a member of its board of directors). But just booking a ticket and going somewhere? Not really his thing.

Then, in December 2015, he met Ms. Maretsky at a mutual friend’s party in Brooklyn, and practically the first thing she said to him was, “Guess what? I’m moving to Thailand!”

That same day, Ms. Maretsky had signed a two-year teaching contract with a school in Bangkok. She planned to leave in July 2016.

Mr. Bryant was taken with her, though, so he asked their mutual friend for her phone number. The next day, he asked if she’d like to come to his place for board games with a group of friends.

“I didn’t really expect her to say yes,” he said. “But it went really well. She made a great impression.”

The following weekend, the two went barhopping together through the pop-up Christmas bars in Manhattan’s East Village.

It was there that they had their first kiss, when he stood to excuse himself for a moment and she said one thing while he heard another.

“I said to him, ‘Oh, are you going to the bathroom?’” she recalled.

“The bar we were at was so loud that all I heard was, ‘Oh do you want to kiss me?’’ he said. “By the time I pulled away, I could see on her face that that was not what she’d asked!”

“Our date had been going so well that we had a good laugh about that,” she said. “We still have a good laugh about it.”

When she left for Thailand, they agreed to suspend their relationship. But in April 2017, having realized that the school was not a good fit for her, Ms. Maretsky convinced Mr. Bryant to fly halfway across the world to visit her.

“I’d never traveled the way she does,” he said. “I thought I was crazy to go all the way around the world to see her.”

She returned to New York in August 2017, and the couple resumed their romance. Around Valentine’s Day 2018, after a trip to Montreal in which he had an epiphany about how he felt, he told her that he loved her.

“I had just told him that I was thinking about taking a job in California,” Ms. Maretsky, 32, said.

In April 2019, Mr. Bryant proposed in Paris. In July, Ms. Maretsky, who did in fact end up going to California, returned to New York once again, and since then, she has been an engineering teacher at Energy Tech High School in Long Island City, Queens, where she is now also the department chair. She graduated from Tufts and received a master’s degree in adolescent mathematics from the Relay Graduate School of Education in New York.

Mr. Bryant, 36, is the advertising sales, marketing and promotions director at American Urban Radio Networks in New York, and is also the head coach of New York Gridlock, a professional women’s Ultimate team. He graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and received a master’s degree in sports management from Columbia University.

On Aug. 26, the couple married at Aurora, a Brooklyn restaurant, with 70 people attending, all fully vaccinated against the coronavirus. Jordan Sved, a friend who became a Universal Life minister for the event, officiated.

The couple had intended to marry in 2020, but postponed because of the pandemic.

Ms. Maretsky said that while she’ll continue to look for cheap flights to interesting places, her days of pulling up roots and heading across continents are done.

“I bounced around a lot, but I am really committed this time to sticking it out in Queens,” she said. “My mom jokes that he is my anchor.”