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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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See you very soon, my pancake.

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Friendship

In life, you will encounter many people. Some of those people were meant to stay, and others were meant to leave. Some you will learn from, and others you will teach. You will have friends for-right-now, and friends for life. Whoever they are, make sure you love them and be kind.

I am very blessed to have a group of friends who are fiercely loyal, extremely loving, and all incredible in their own way. Not to brag, but my friends are full of talent, ambitious, intelligent, courageous, faithful, daring, and great blessings in my life.

Unfortunately, I have not been good with communicating with them, due to my busy life, and essentially, laziness. From this, stemmed awkwardness and I realised that if I wanted to remain friends with them, I needed to make an effort or I would lose them. One of the best things for a strong friendship, is honesty. I was holding back a lot of what I wanted to say, fearing that I would hurt someone. However, that is not healthy for any friendship. We all must understand that communication is key, but so is listening to each other’s opinion. By talking with my friends, our friendship kept getting stronger, and I was glad. Something that we should all do with our friends (and those we do not call friends too):

  1. Be Honest
  2. Be Loving
  3. Be Loyal
  4. Be Compassionate
  5. Be Kind

If you cannot talk to your friends about the good, the bad, and the ugly, are they even your friends? Are you even theirs?

In friendship, no one is a burden, and YOU most definitely are not a burden to me.

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The Far Away Friends

Now, these friends, they LITERALLY are far away. I have been lucky enough to be good friends with many people across the globe. However, I have made two special friends, a darling in the USA, and a sweetheart living in France. These are the friends I speak to once in awhile, and I know that, even though we may not be in  constant contact or be able to cross paths with day-in-day-out, we shall remain friends. They had a significant impact on me, during a part of my life when I had to experience change. These are the friends who helped those changes bearable.

This also includes my secondary school friends, who are all now at different universities, or working, and still smashing life!

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The Ones Who Left

Theses friends were always meant to leave my life. They served their purpose and I realised – now looking back – the only way for any of us to move on and into the future, was by letting go. I learned a lot from these former friends. I learned about who I wanted to be, and that was, I no longer wanted to be the person I was, when with them. Although, without them, I would not be the person that I am today, and I can’t thank them enough for opening my eyes and making me wake-up before it was too late. Of course, sometimes I would like to know how they are doing with their lives, but I do not think I will ever know. So with these friends, it is best to say goodbye and, in the words of Walter Disney, “Keep Moving Forward.”

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Childhood Friends

Meeting each other so early in life, and still being connected, is an absolute honour. My girls are absolutely amazing. Be jealous. These are the friends who know WAY too much about you, and have witnessed enough of your life to write an embarrassing book documenting it all! Goodness Gracious. Nonetheless, you know that there will always be a special place in your heart for them, and that even when difficulties arise, you were meant to be friends forever. (Sorry, you’re stuck with me *gives a cheeky smirk*).

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Family

One of the best gifts in life, is being able to call your family members, your friends. My mother and sisters are true gifts from God Himself. Before anything else, they are my family first, but I have the privilege to also call them my friends. They make me laugh, they make me cry, and they make me feel loved, more than I deserve.

And The Rest…

You have many different types of friends, and perhaps you have not worked out the purpose of them being in your life just yet, but in the end, you know that you love them all.

Friends are gifts, so make sure you cherish each and every one of them. Look after them, and they will look after you. Soon you will realise that, even though life may be hard, it is less harder with your friends around to support you.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17

New Year’s Eve

‘Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.’ – Isaiah 43:18-19

Slightly late posting this, but better late than never! Let’s reflect back on the year 2016.

For many reasons, 2016 was the most challenging, but also the most delightful year I have ever experienced. Firstly, I was approaching the end of my second year at university, and was afraid of how close the future was approaching me, in terms of getting a job. For that, and many other reasons, I decided to extend my degree by participating in a study abroad year programme, in Thailand. Both a blessing and a challenge, that kicked in on September. I was excited to experience a new culture, travel to Asia for the first time, as well as visit other countries nearby. However, it was also the year I got into my first ever relationship, and I feared that the distance would make the relationship difficult to maintain (but that’s another discussion entirely). In addition, the prospect of leaving my family behind for so long terrified me. So far, it is all working out. Jesus took me to places I never would have been able to go to on my own, and He helped keep all my relationships strong and full of love. I cannot thank Him enough for the adventures and love I have received.

Saturday 31st December 2016

I went to Ruby Blue Bar in central London with my boyfriend. We attended a New Year’s Eve event called ‘The Glitz and Glamour Party’.  The ticket included a three course meal, and it was lovelyyyyy! After that, we spent time in the bar/club itself, and looked over Leicester Square on the balcony of the bar.

Below are pictures of our meal:

 

And further along are our outfits (that you can’t see fully unfortunately):

 

I know not what 2017 may bring, but my faith and trust in the Lord Jesus makes me believe that with Him, I can take on anything. May this be the year of growth, transformation, truth, and love.

Come at me 2017!!! (But please me nice to me and my loved ones).