Ready for Launch: Houston to New Zealand

After washing down their pizza with drinks at Axelrad, a beer garden, they went to her apartment, where he met Pumpkin, her calico cat. That’s when he asked if she would join him in New Zealand for his residency. He then broke it to her that his mother’s name was also Andrea (she laughed it off).

Although Dr. Allen told him that evening that she wanted to take things slow because she had ended a serious relationship a few months earlier, they soon began seeing each other daily. The first dish he cooked for her was a cauliflower adobo, as she was a vegetarian at the time and her father is Filipino. (Her mother is Mexican American.)

One weekend in May 2022, she made the impromptu decision to move with Pumpkin into his apartment in Houston’s medical district. They became engaged in November.

“In the next month, before moving to New Zealand, I started wedding planning,” Dr. Allen said, and she continued to plan once they were in South Auckland. Dr. Vener worked as a psychiatrist in the emergency room at Middlemore Hospital, and she taught a remote art education class weekly — at 3 a.m. — at the University of Houston. During their first week there, they learned he had matched into a fellowship program at Memorial Sloan Kettering. In June, they moved their belongings from storage to New York. Dr. Allen now works as a research analyst focusing on art education at Metis Associates, a consulting firm, and as an adjunct professor of art education at the City College of New York.

On Jan. 20, Rabbi Will Hall, a high school friend of the groom’s, officiated at the Century Hall, a wedding venue in Fort Worth, before 120 guests. They did the hora and danced to Mexican cumbia music at the reception. They also hosted a Western-themed welcome party the night before at Reata, a Southwestern restaurant downtown.

“Now I’m steering where we go next,” she said, to which he wholeheartedly agreed: “I dragged her across the planet twice.”