Street: How did you and your fiance meet?
CL: Random story. A family friend sat next to his parents on an airplane and decided it would be a good idea to set us up. Actually our first date was at Saxbys before it got a facelift. I don’t know at what point on a plane people decide they should set up people. I didn't meet him until he came to Penn for a visit because he was in a singing group on campus so he came up for a reunion. So we went out for coffee.
Street: How old are you?
CL: I’m 22. I took a gap year to be a soldier in the Israeli army. I volunteered to be a lone soldier because it was something I always wanted to do.
Street: What made you want to volunteer?
CL: Well, I always had a knack for Israeli politics and the Middle East and I figured there was no other way to learn about it than firsthand. Also I’m the oldest of eight kids (thank God), and I wanted to show them that it’s okay to give back before you go off to college and whatnot.
Street: What part of the army were you in?
CL: So I was a Commander of Foreign Relations to Jordan.
Street: What was the training like?
I did the regular basic training that all girls have to do. I passed the test so I didn’t have to do the intensive language immersion program. But after that I was denied access to get into this program. But they granted me permission to be on the base and I cleaned toilets and did busy work for two months to fight my way to be able to do this force and then to go on and work asa commander that worked firsthand with our Jordanian counterparts. Because of the nature of the peace treaty with Jordan, Israel has the longest border with Jordan. Everything passed through us: intelligence, meetings, just basic border security. It was really fascinating as an 18-year old to have to make those game-time decisions.
Street: Was it a hard transition from the army to Penn?
CL: It was totally different. I landed the weekend of NSO freshman year and I didn’t have anything together. You learn a lot about yourself because you have to remember that you’re in a uniform and you have to find ways to have your individuality show. Then you come here and you can wake up whenever you want and eat whatever you want. Everyone’s on different schedules here and in the army everyone was on the same schedule. But they were both great.
Street: So how do you think having a long distance boyfriend changed your Penn experience?
CL: Well I have had other long distance relationships throughout my time at Penn, so this wasn’t my first. I always wanted a boyfriend at Penn but it didn’t work out for me (Ed note: what is wrong with boys?) I think it would have been a lot of fun to be on campus and study together and go on date nights instead of planning when we would see each other next. But I also think it gave me a chance to focus on my studies and be with my friends without feeling like I had to isolate myself.
Street: How did he propose to you?
CL: I don’t want to bore you with that story. Basically he surprised my over break, and I really had no idea. So he came to Israel and it was great. He sang, he has a really good voice. And there were flower petals. The rest of it is a blur. All I know is I came back to Penn and was like “Oh my god this is crazy.”
Street: How has being engaged changed your experience at Penn?
CL: I think the better question is: “How does it feel to be engaged when you’re in a sorority?” Because I literally had to convince everyone that it was not a shot–gun wedding. That’s what everyone’s initial response was. But my friends were really cute, they’ve been so nice and supportive. At first I was worried because I didn’t really know anybody else in the same position. But I worry that things will be worse than they actually are, and they end up being totally fine. Throwing a wedding is an extra class in it’s own, let me tell you. It's a credit. But it's great.
Street: Has being engaged changed anything for you socially?
CL: My friends talk about it and think about it more than I do. It's not like I'm seeing him any more or any less than I was before. My friends keep reminding me, “when are you doing this” and “when are you doing that” and then I’ll remember that that’s something I actually have to do.
Street: Was it weird being in a long distance relationship when there is such a strong hook up culture at Penn?
CL: I think as a bystander when you're seeing this whole hookup culture and you see this girl just got engaged it can be a little confusing. I was always a little more mature coming from army and coming from a modern Orthodox Jewish family, so it wasn't really part of my culture. But I still like to go out and have fun, it's not like I'm above it. I think people would assume that I would judge them for what they do, but not at all.
Street: So you never felt like you were missing out?
CL: Definitely not missing out. The only thing I really feel like I'm missing out on now is I feel like I'm not going to get invited to date nights anymore. No one's going to invite someone who's engaged to date nights. I'm really sad about it.
Street: How do other people react to your upbringing?
CL: One would think that people would be standoffish but my friends have totally embraced it. You'll find my sorority friends at my Friday night dinners. I feel very confident being an Orthodox Jewish girl here. I think people are judgmental about other things but not towards me. Maybe they talk behind my back and I don't hear it, which is very much a possibility.
Street: Do you think it’s hard to be in a relationship in general at Penn?
CL: Yeah, I mean I don’t know what message I sent to people that made them not want to date me. You look at your guy friends and they are awesome, so I don’t know what the deal is. I think a lot of people are so focused on the here and now and not on the future. Dating at Penn is one of the hardest things which is crazy because there's so many beautiful and awesome and smart people.
Street: What's the best date you've ever been on?
CL: Once we went to a kosher vineyard at Stanford. We got 2 bottles of wine, we drank one that day. And then after the proposal he actually brought out the second bottle of wine a year later.
Street: What is your biggest guilty pleasure?
CL: Watching Real Housewives. I also eat chocolate three times a day. No really, the first thing I do when I wake up is eat chocolate. And then at lunch and at dinner.
Street: If you were going to be famous for one thing, what would it be?
CL: My puns. I’m a huge pun person. My Instagram is LowMainttenance. Or the fact that I get an udon noodle salad with no noodles and extra chicken at HipCityVeg every other day.
Street: What was your first AIM name:
Street: In all, how has wedding planning been?
CL: I want to write a how-to book: How To Be in College and Be Engaged For Dummies, because it doesn’t exist. When I went to the wedding dress store they asked me what shade I wanted and I said black. But my friends said I couldn’t do that. But at the end of the day a wedding is just one day.