A Tale of a Long Distance Relationship

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.

– Laozi

I rarely post about my relationship online, but when I do, I post enough so people are aware that I am in a relationship, though not too much so that others are also IN my relationship. There is a difference between privacy and secrecy, and I wanted to establish that for myself. However, for the past year, I have been in a long distance relationship (LDR) and I thought that my experience of it could be shared with others who are going through the same thing, about to, or wanted to know more about what a LDR entails.

[Background information, this is my first ever relationship.] Blushes in embarrassment.

waiting

Being in a different place was difficult enough, but also a different time zone (6/7 hours difference to be exact) was trying at times. Nonetheless, despite all this, I came to realise that a LDR is not like what the movies portrayed it to be. It was not something completely heart-crushing, that you thought about breaking-up whenever you were unable to physically be next to the other person, and then end up separated. No, not at all. It made me fall even more in love with the man who showed how committed he was to me, who was willing to wait for my return, who devoted his heart into this relationship, into us.

I think a relationship should consist of a physical and emotional bond. Not just romantic relationships, but any relationship, even friendship. The ability to physically and emotionally be supportive and loving in our words, actions, and feelings. But that is not possible in a LDR. So we had to learn how to rely on each other’s soul to keep the relationship alive. Without the physical contact of seeing one another – which had to be stripped away – we were left with our personalities, our interests, likes and dislikes, and our minds and memories. It was a big challenge, without a doubt, but I knew that this distance would help set the foundations for our relationship, knowing and trusting in God to deliver us.

I had to learn to love from afar. Even though I wanted to be the one to physically support my partner when he needed me, to be there with him to celebrate his achievements, and just exist in each other’s presence, I knew my choices would prohibit me to do so.

letters-and-postcards

It was the little things we did for one another, that played a contributing factor in keeping us together. We said good morning and goodnight, everyday. We sent letters, small gifts, texted, Skyped, and called. We played online games, encouraged one another in our studies – by being study buddies – even though we studied different degrees. We tried our best to be what they other person needed in each moment.

In all relationships, you have to be selfless. This is very true for a LDR. You have to be thoughtful, understanding and supportive. Patience is key. Truth. It is about how much effort and love you are willing to invest into your relationship that makes it seem almost effortless to maintain. Of course it was hard at times, because I did not have my best friend around to do all the things we did, when back in England. He has always been a supportive best friend AND boyfriend. He wanted me to take chances in life, just like this study abroad year. However, I still felt so guilty for leaving him behind, as I jetted off to many different countries without him. I felt that I was responsible for his loneliness, for the absence, for making him wait, for making his first serious relationship become a long distance relationship.

Light love heart.jpeg

This is also an appreciation post.

My love, I have so many reasons to give thanks to you:

  1. Thank you for taking a chance on our relationship, knowing that we would have to spend the first year of it apart.
  2. Thank you for arranging a rose to be waiting outside my bedroom door on Valentine’s day,  with the help of my housemate.
  3. Thank you for sending me my favourite British snacks to munch on!
  4. Thank you for going to sleep late, just to say good morning to me, knowing that you will be exhausted the next day.
  5. Thank you for sending me endless selfies upon request, so that I felt like I was with you, each and everyday.
  6. Thank you for encouraging me to try new things, especially with flying to different countries across Asia.
  7. Thank you for being my doctor when I was ill, drastically researching ways for me to recover from the different illnesses I had, such as the fever, chest infection, and diarrhoea (too much information!)
  8. Thank you for your letters, postcards, and gifts that you sent to me, knowing that it was expensive alone just sending them (I will repay you, somehow).
  9. Thank you for my bouquet of roses to be placed in my room for our anniversary.
  10. Thank you for loving me, and proving that not all LDR results in a break-up.

I have more to thank you for…but these will have to do, for now.

People are so black and white when it comes to relationships in general, thinking that it is about giving and taking. It is about trusting, challenging, encouraging, faithfulness, loyalty, understanding, commitment, and above all, love.

christ-is-love

I can love, because He loved me first. Jesus is the one who holds our relationship together, and I cannot post this, without giving thanks to Him. Love conquers all, and I am blessed, SO BLESSED, to not only love, but to also BE loved in return.

The saying, “right person, wrong time,” mingled itself amongst my thoughts. Why now, when I am about to leave? Why now, when I will be in another country? Why now, when I will be on another continent? Yet, I realised that with the right person, it will never be the wrong time. God’s timing is perfect. We both were meant to meet one another at that moment in our lives, because it helped us to reflect on how much we wanted to invest into our relationship. I did not know if it was a wise decision to enter my first EVER relationship, as a long distance one. I prayed a lot over this, and I trusted my heart and Christ, that as long as I had faith in Him, myself, and my boyfriend, this would be one of the best decisions I would ever make, to love.

It certainly was worth the wait, worth the distance, and worth the time, because it revealed that WE are worthy of loving one another.

This LDR tested whether we were truly and faithfully committed to one another, and deserving of each other. The distance made me appreciate everything I have in England. It made me fall in love with my country, family, friends, boyfriend, and my church, all over again.

[BUSTED: I informed my boyfriend that I would be extending my time in Asia for an additional one month period, in order to travel. Therefore, he thinks I will be back in the middle of August. Little does he know, it is a lie. He shall know soon enough when I am back!]

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.”

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)

flowers-in-hand

See you very soon, my pancake.

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Lent

Small Background Information

Around this time last year, I did not do anything for Lent. Despite being a Christian, I knew very little about it.

This year, I made sure to do my research so that I could get involved.

Asking around, and looking for information, I now know that Lent is a period of time which many Catholics and Christians are involved in. “The purpose of Lent is the preparation of the believer through prayer, doing penance, repentance of sins, almsgiving, atonement, and self-denial.” (Wikipedia may not be a reliable source, but I thought that since it was a great explanation and not an essay, so why not? *gives a cheeky smirk*). 

It relates to Jesus, and his endurance against temptation by Satan, in the wilderness.

What Lent Means to Me

For myself personally, I view Lent as a period of time I can truly humble myself and connect with God as much as I can. I want to go deeper into my relationship and be detached from wordly things. This is an opportunity to reflect on what I have done in the past, and be able to improve my heart towards God and other people in my life. It is a chance to demonstrate a godly behaviour, which I have not been doing for a while.

Going Vegetarian

I have decided to become a vegetarian for Lent, for various reasons:

1. I seem to have a mild obsession with chicken, and thought I should be more disciplined in what I chose to indulge in.

2. I am against animal cruelty and exploitation, hence why I choose not to buy animal tested products, and not visit any tourism industry where animals are used for entertainment. I realised that my eating lifestyle was a contradiction to my belief, and so Lent became an opportunity for me to live out that belief.

3. This was something I wanted to do for a while, and to see how it impacts on my wellbeing.

4. I wanted to contribute to help changing the world, even if it was just a small role on my behalf.

This blog post is nothing special, just my chance to remember my first Lent.

Being Different, in a Collective Place

As amazing and beautiful as Thailand may be, I found one ultimate challenge I approached nearly every single day. Being different.

Now, I do not mean that I am something special and unique, who is beyond everyone else – that is not what I am trying to say.

As many may know, Asian countries tend to exist in a collective society, which branches under ‘collectivism’ and by definition (on a political stance) means – The ownership of land and the means of production by the people or the state, as a political principle or system.” Now, on a student level, I am trying to say that the students here tend to stick together in packs, doing the same thing, following the same routine of waking-up-partying-sleeping-repeat. I am not trying to put down this lifestyle, by no means, if you can still do this and keep up with all of your studies, good on you.

How am I different?

Firstly, I do not drink alcohol. This immediately placed me out of the circle of your regular student. Secondly, I do not like clubbing. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE to dance, hence why back in Sussex I was in the salsa society and enjoyed your regular party around those whom I am comfortable with. However, I am not one who would be up for cramming myself into a packed room full of other sweaty and rowdy human beings trying to touch-you-up. I am not about that life.

Thirdly, I am a Christian. Thailand is not a Christian country, and nor are most of the students here at MUIC. But that is okay, because one of the reason I chose to come to Thailand, was to bring the gospel here.

I would be lying if I said I didn’t feel the pressure to drink and party all-the-time, because everyone else is doing it. I do feel the pressure. However, as long as you remember who you want to be, stand firm in your own identity, you can be strong. I’m not saying don’t do these things. But for myself personally, I most definitely should not drink, because I cannot handle alcohol and get easily drunk – which ultimately leaves me in a vulnerable position.

So I guess, being different is not always a bad thing. This is because you want to live a life that is your own, not someone else’s. Remember, to always do you and follow your heart. With Jesus, I know who I am.