In honor of Valentine’s Day, the Record brings you its annual profile of a campus couple. I sat down with Maia Czaikowski ’20 and Sam Wischnewsky ’20, who have been dating for a little over a year, to discuss their unconditional love of Lee Snack Bar, surprise papayas and their favorite band.
How did you two meet?
MC: Well, we were in the same entry freshman year, and I don’t think we necessarily talked to each other right off the bat. It kind of took a couple of months or so. I don’t know. And then, we were friends, I think?
SW: Yeah, I would say we were friends [both laugh].
MC: Yeah, and I remember during the “friend phase,” we once sat in the common room and street view Google-mapped where we both lived, and I feel like that was our first bonding moment. Like, I took him down the one street in my town, and he took me to Chicago itself.
Didn’t your parents meet before you started dating? I remember you telling a story about that.
MC: Oh my gosh, yeah. During parent’s weekend, they had assigned tables at this big dinner in the fieldhouse. My family went, and it was only Sam’s family and Christian Lockwood [’20]’s family sitting at the table, and our parents met, I guess.
SW: Well, I think it was mostly about our moms being, like, exactly the same person. They just hit it off immediately and were talking to each other a lot, and I think our dads just sat there and waited for them to stop.
MC: Which kind of means our dads are similar people as well [both laugh].
What sort of extra-curricular activities are you two involved in?
MC: I’m in Ephoria, an all female-voiced a cappella group on campus, and that’s fun. I like to sing in general. I’m a chemistry major, so I do chemistry labs and stuff. I dabbled in theater last semester, which was really cool.
SW: I am on the cross country and track teams, so I run every day. I work in the machine shop in Bronfman. We build big assemblies of stainless steel or aluminum parts for professors’ research, and it’s pretty fun. We get to use lots of gigantic machines that I had never seen before I came here.
So, what kind of activities do you like to do together?
MC: A lot of people make fun of us for them. Well, Ashley [Conroy ’20] makes fun of us. We like to do crossword puzzles. We enjoy some trivia. What do we do?
SW: Sometimes we like to work out together and go to art museums.
MC: I really loved when we went to the Art Institute of Chicago. It was in a beautiful area, and it was a really nice day in general. The museum was amazing.
SW: What did we see in Millennium Park when you visited [Chicago]? We saw a movie right? Oh no, we saw –
MC: That’s a good story.
SW: Yeah, it was the first night that [Maia] visited this summer. I think I was trying to surprise her, but it was hard to keep secret why we were going downtown. [Maia laughs]. But she really likes [NPR’s] “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me,” like a decent amount more than I do, and they were recording it live in the big park downtown. So we took the train down and met up with a bunch of my friends there and got to listen to it live.
MC: Yeah, we were just sitting on a – well, we didn’t have any blankets, so we brought a bedsheet and put it on the ground [both laugh]. The celebrity guest was somebody from the Cubs.
SW: It was the orange-haired pitcher guy. It was interesting because my elementary school was the closest one to Wrigley Field, so he came every year to give us a big check to pay for things at the school, and his son went to my school, so that was like the fifth or sixth time I had seen him speaking. Ryan Dempster, I think. We went skiing a decent amount this winter. Maybe that’s a couple-y activity?
MC: Yeah, I did my best attempt at helping Sam learn how to ski better. He’s already pretty good.
SW: I was okay.
MC: Yeah, he’s okay [both laugh]. Also, Sam bought like a five-pound bag of pancake mix that’s just add water, and so it’s really quick, easy snacking. It’s actually pretty good, so we’ve been known to cook late-night pancakes when we’re feeling it.
SW: Yeah, it’s a good replacement for Snack Bar.
MC: We did the ballroom dancing Winter Study Free University class, and we got yelled at during the first dance on the first day because we didn’t really understand that it’s supposed to be formal, so we were just kind of dancing. Apparently, we were too close together.
Do you guys have any fun plans for Valentine’s Day?
MC: Well, we actually just took a weekend trip to Northampton, which is a pretty quirky town, and that was fun. We went to a really good restaurant and a concert.
Who did you see?
MC: We saw, what was it, something “Friends”?
MC and SW: Weakened Friends!
SW: Which is pronounced “Weekend Friends.”
MC: I think they wanted to be called “Weekend Friends,” but that name was taken, so they’re “Weakened Friends” [both laugh].
SW: It was an interesting vibe. We were the youngest people there by five years, probably. It was pretty intense, hard-core rock, even though everyone was sitting down.
You guys are very dedicated to your Lee Snack Bar order. Don’t you get the same thing every time?
MC: Well, we both go to Lee [both laugh]. That’s step one!
SW: Step one of ordering Lee is to go to Lee. I realized this just a month ago: I always get the omelet with peppers, onions and cheddar cheese. I think I’ve only ordered something else three times or something, and all those times they ran out of omelet eggs – they have carton eggs for the omelets and real eggs for the other things.
MC: And I always get chocolate-chip pancakes with extra chocolate chips, which you can ask for. Sometimes if you ask right after they ring you out, they won’t charge you, and they’ll just do it, which is great [both laugh].
Oh my god, I forgot to ask about the papaya story! Tell me what you did last year for Valentines’ Day!
MC: It was really quite the romantic gesture.
SW: Yeah! [Both laugh]. I don’t even remember the timing – I think in the morning, I gave you chocolate?
SW: Roses, there we go. I hid them in my laundry basket, and I pulled those out in the morning. Then around 2 p.m. or so, sometime midday, I surprised her in her room and gave her chocolate, and then later that night, I replaced her pillow with a papaya – no, I put the papaya under the pillowcase. So, she came back, and she laid down at one point, and she was like, “What? What is under here?” She pulled it out, and I don’t think she could identify it initially.
MC: I didn’t know what fruit it was!
SW: I probably wouldn’t have been able to identify it immediately, but I was like, “It’s a papaya!” It rhymes with Maia. And then she got it, and she thought it was really funny.
Any final thoughts?
SW: Um, what’s the word for when people get together in the winter?
SW: Yeah, cuffing. Do you think cuffing season is ending now or beginning? Or in the middle?
MC: Ending. I would say it’s ending. I think it ends when spring comes.
SW: But I think cuffing season is year-round.
MC: Always be cuffed.
SW: You can get cold during any season [both laugh]. That’s my final musing.