Sasha and Jesse

About Us

How We Met

We met in a Zen Buddhism class at Phillips Exeter Academy, but dated only briefly before Jesse's graduation in 1998. Jesse went on to study physics and math at Brown and Sasha left for Yale the following year. Luckily, Providence and New Haven are not too far apart, and we managed to stay in touch. Jesse was busy studying science and playing in an 8-piece funk band called DLicks, and Sasha got into linguistics and singing with the a cappella group Redhot & Blue, but somewhere along the line we started dating again. After Jesse's graduation in 2002 he went on to Harvard for a Ph.D. in theoretical high energy particle physics. Sasha joined him in Cambridge, MA the following year for the start of her law program at B.U.

How We Got Engaged

Our Saturday morning tradition is to sit on the couch listening to the comedy news quiz show, Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on NPR and working on the latest New York Times crossword puzzle. Saturday, March 18, 2006, started out like every other Saturday: we turned on the radio and plopped down on the couch to start work on the puzzle Jesse printed out from the New York Times website. (The puzzle looked just like every other New York Times puzzle we had worked on together, down to the copyright symbol below the grid.)

Sasha quickly figured out that 18-across “bench garb” was “ROBE,” and that 53-down “bean brand” was “GOYA.” But half-way through the puzzle, Sasha realized that, because of the surrounding answers, the answer to 47-across “legal scholar?” had to be “DIAZ-ALMARAL”! Did Will Shortz — the puzzle editor for the New York Times — know something the California Bar Association didn't?

That was when Jesse decided to point out that the answers to 5-down and 41-down were “WILL YOU” and “MARRY ME?” and that Sasha had already guessed that the answer to 58-down “correct answer” was “YES.”

Want to play the puzzle (original typos and all)?

Where We Are Now

When Jesse got an offer to be a Miller Fellow at the University of California, Berkeley, we took it as an opportunity to get out of New England for a while. We moved to an apartment in downtown Berkeley last summer, and have been enjoying our time here since. Sasha passed the California bar and is learning all about labor and employment law in her job at O'Melveny & Myers, LLP. Jesse is writing papers and giving talks around the globe in theoretical physics, and looking forward to the first beam collisions at the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. And in our free time, we've been taking every opportunity to get outdoors, hiking in Lake Tahoe and Yosemite, and learning to wake-board and surf.

About Our Families

Sasha's Family

Sasha's mother, Anna McCarthy, is an instructor at Suffield Academy, a private secondary school in Suffield, Connecticut. She teaches Spanish and English as a Second Language, and coaches the school's riflery team. Sasha's grandfather, Boris Yakovlevich Miroshnichenko also lives in Suffield, and enjoys painting and keeping up with the latest Russian news.

Sasha's father, Cosme D. Diaz, works at Gulf Coast American Fabrication in Naples, Florida. Several of Sasha's aunts, uncles, and cousins also live in the area, and enjoy spending time together over a good meal and strong Cuban-style espresso.

Jesse's Family

Jesse's mother, Alalia Thaler, is a guidance counselor at York High School, in York, Maine. She loves to sing with her all-women's choir, Voices from the Heart, and is helping them plan a tour in Croatia this summer.

Jesse's father, Fred Thaler, is a family doctor in Kittery, Maine. He has recently become an avid surfer, though in Maine this generally requires a 5 millimeter wetsuit.

Jesse's brother, Aaron Thaler, has also recently moved to the San Francisco Bay Area and is currently working at in downtown San Francisco.

About the Wedding Party

Shy Eager, née Kraytman, is the Maid-of-Honor and Sasha's best friend from Exeter, where they lived together in Lamont Hall for three years. Shy and Sasha hit it off right away, as they had both come from Russia at a young age. Besides attending Russian classes together, Shy and Sasha shared a love of singing and spent many a late night together procrastinating from doing their homework. Shy is now married to Colin Eager, whom she met while studying at the London School of Economics during her third year at Georgetown University. They live and work in Dublin, Ireland.

Aaron Thaler is Jesse's brother and the Best Man. Aaron graduated Wesleyan University in 2005 and now lives and works in San Francisco. He enjoys hanging out with his roommates and friends from college, but occasionally comes over to the East Bay to spend an evening with Sasha and Jesse eating Japanese and listening to live jazz at Yoshi's in Oakland.

Ben Cohen, co-founder of Ben & Jerry's ice cream company, is the ceremony officiant. He lives in Williston, Vermont with his daughter, Aretha. In recent years he has dedicated himself to political activism, founding an organization called True Majority and appearing in interviews with such celebrities as Steven Colbert on The Colbert Report. Go to to watch his interview and the “Oreo Cookie Message”, and to learn more about his efforts in this area.

Contact Us

Snail Mail

A. Diaz-Almaral and J. Thaler
2125 Channing Way Apt. 2
Berkeley, CA 94704


Alexandra Thaler
O'Melveny & Myers, LLP
Two Embarcadero Center, 28th Floor
San Francisco, CA 94111

Electronic Mail


Sasha: (617) 953-7080
Jesse: (617) 642-8622

Alexandra Diaz-Almaral & Jesse Thaler