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.

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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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Cambodia

Last month, I spent a weekend in Siem Reap with my housemates, and before I went, I did not know what to expect.

Quite a lot of Cambodians working in the tourist industry were very well spoken in numerous amount of different languages. I heard them speaking English, French, German, Mandarin, Japanese and so on. I was truly impressed by how accommodating they were. I also loved listening to Khmer being spoken by the locals.

Overall, my short experience of Cambodia was extremely pleasant. Here are some of the things I did during my stay:

Angkor Wat

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In all honesty, if you ever have the chance to visit Cambodia, you must visit Angkor Wat – this is something perhaps most people would suggest. Angkor Wat is the largest religious monument in the world, as well as being a beautiful sight to behold. There are several different types of tickets you can purchase when visiting Angkor Wat. The most popular types of tickets are the sunrise and sunset tickets. I decided to buy the sunrise ticket, so that I could watch the sunrise over Angkor Wat. Be warned, there are A LOT of people, so it can be a challenge to find a decent place to stand/sit and watch the sunrise. There are also many people with large cameras and tripods who will ask you to move out of the way, as they dictate most of the area for their cameras, rather than enjoying the moment as it is. But I guess that’s the downside of visiting a temple as beautiful as Angkor Wat, many others also want to visit it too. Nonetheless, do not let this prohibit you from visiting it.

Pub Street

[Forgot to take a photo of pub street! Sorry!]

Pub street is basically a very touristy area, and as the name implies, with many pubs and clubs clustered together in one area. It had a very friendly vibe and fun environment to be in. There is also plenty of street food to try out, and market stalls on the side. Make sure not to get conned, because some of the sellers will obviously attempt to charge you a higher price for what the product is worth (since I bought a skirt that was immediately ripped after one wash – the material was of very bad quality). You can always bargain with the sellers, as they are more than willing to sell off their products off as soon as possible. Everything is relatively cheap anyways, so bargaining for every item is not necessary.

Rent a Bike

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Renting bikes in Siem Reap is a very popular thing to do, and there are many bikes around from different shops that you can rent from. It is a relaxing way to get to know the neighbourhood surrounding one’s stay, but I would only recommend renting a bike for those who are confident on the roads in ASIA! The drivers and roads are not as safe as those in many Western countries. That being said, you can still rent a bike if you choose not to go on the main road, then that is fine.

Temple Tour

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I took part in a temple tour, which consisted of me visiting five different temples in one day. It felt like I was temple hopping.

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Nonetheless, Cambodia is a lovely place to visit, and the Cambodians make it even lovelier. This is definitely one South East Asian country you should visit whenever you can. It is full of personality and friendly people.

(And what made my experience of Cambodia even better, was travelling with amazing and loving friends.)

Hua Hin

Hua Hin is a beautiful seaside resort, that is 3 hours south from Bangkok. I had the chance to visit the place, and it was a very touristic area, but still pleasant at the same time. Personally, for myself, it did not scream THAILAND but rather, a catered version of Thailand for foreign visitors. Nonetheless, it contains a beautiful beach, which was located right at the back of my hotel, so the pool led straigh onto the beach.

CAVES AND MOUNTAINS

Furthermore, I researched online about a famous cave an hour away from Hua Hin called, Phraya Nakhon Cave, and decided that it would be one place I must visit with my housemates. However, I was very clueless that to get to the cave, one must climb moutains…in this case, I had to climb TWO! It was a major shock for me, realising that I had to climb up a very steep and bumpy mountain, with no safety equipment at all. To top it all off, I am a very clumsy person, so I was petrified each time my foot would slip across the rocks, and as a result, I ended up lagging behind my friends (it was definetely an unforgettable experience). Each step, was to my belief, an inch closer to death, and I just wanted to end this trip. Fortunately, when I eventally reached the bottom of the mountain, after climbing both moutains twice, I was very proud of myself for not giving up (not an achievement that should really gain praise, but come on, I was a fish out of water).

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NIGHT MARKETS

Thailand is famous for night markets, and Hua Hin was no exception to this. Cicada Market was perhaps one of the best night markets I have ever been to, and it did not disappoint! Luckily, on the evening I went, there was a music festival going on at the same time, inside the market.

Photos featuring my housemates (aka The Fabulous 5).

If ever you get the chance to visit Thailand, I’d say spend a weekend in Hua Hin as part of your trip. I would advise that a few days are better than a week, since you can get most of what you want to do, done, within a couple of days.

My 21st Birthday

Blessed I was, to be able to celebrate my 21st birthday (back in November) in the beautiful country of Singapore. However, I will not reveal too much about what I got up to, apart from showing you all my birthday outfit, and a birthday video from my friend as a gift.

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  1. Dress – £14.99 from eBay.
  2. Shoes – From everything5pounds.
  3. Accessories – Roughly  £7 from eBay.
  4. Watch – Roughly £15 from Accessorize.
  5. Clutch – A gift from my sister for my year 11 prom (yes, I still have it) and unfortunately do not know where she bought it from.

HERE is my birthday video. Hopefully it speaks for itself, and show a bit of insight about how I celebrated it, and unveil a part of me to you.

Thank you Jesus, for the blessings, for the added year, and for the love.

Ayutthaya

Ayutthaya was once the capital city of the Kingdom of Siam. However, it was attacked by the Burmese, not once, but twice! (Pretty scary and badass).

Last weekend, I went to visit the ruins of Ayuttaya with my housemates, and it was overwhelming. So much history in once place. If you ever come to visit Thailand and want to get to know more about her story, come and visit Ayuttaya.

Below are some pictures I had taken of Ayuttaya:

Year Abroad

It is officially 1 week until I fly out to Thailand! Big girl adventure!

So it only seems fair that I share with you all, how Thailand became part of my plan.

Sit back, relax, and enjoy.

I originally planned to do a three year Literature course at Sussex. Of course, I did want to do a year abroad, but decided against it, because I didn’t think that I would be in a financially stable position, otherwise. Another thing, I had no idea where I would have wanted to study.

During sixth form, I had my first Asian celebrity crush. And you’ve guessed it, he was Thai (Mario Maurer by the way). Oh goodness, now you all probably think I’m some crazy stalker. Sigh. As a result, I began researching more into the Thai culture, and watched their movies. Ever so slowly, I was no longer gushing over some celebrity, but found myself falling in love with the beautiful country. From the gorgeous beaches, to the way the Thai language looks and sounds, as well as the endless summer weather. My heart was set on visiting this country.

As soon as I went to university, I forgot about Thailand and how much I wanted to visit it. However, in my second year, I had a friend who was submitting her application for a year abroad, and of course I was so happy and excited for her – because it was an amazing opportunity unlike any other – but I couldn’t help being slightly envious at the same time.

It was too late for me to apply, I thought. I missed the deadline, and I didn’t tell anyone that I wanted to do a year abroad.

Then something amazing happened:

Original email I received about spaces available in Thailand.

When I received the email, my dream of visiting Thailand came flooding back. I sat down with one of my housemates, and discussed it with her. It all seemed quick, rash, and done on impulse, but I didn’t care, all I wanted was to be there.

Here is the story I posted on Humans of Sussex University:

Immediately I went straight to work on my application, but found out that 1 place had already been filled. My chances were getting slimmer. During my last day in Brighton before I went home for the Christmas holidays, I eventually received my reference 30 minutes before the study abroad office closed. I ran pass 4 bus stops in my heeled boots in order to catch the 25X and arrive on time. With 10 minutes to spare, I made it. Unfortunately, I didn’t fill out one page of my application properly. I thought it was all over. However, one of the women in the study abroad office said that she’ll sort it out for me and that I could give my application to her. This was one of the many blessings I received.”

I’m excited. I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m sad about it. I’m happy about it. I’ve been feeling every emotion possible about this trip, but all I know is that I will love it. I want to have no regrets, none at all about this.

I just know that I am SO blessed, and I thank Jesus for the adventure I am about to take.