There comes this sneaky moment after moving abroad, when you see that one positive thing you’ve overlooked. Moving abroad is a stress-fest; even if you move somewhere where the language is the same, the culture is not and despite what you may think, this makes a real difference. You never know just how strong you are until you put yourself through an extremely tough challenge that once you are in the midst of handling, doesn’t necessarily point in the happy direction you thought it would. You can hate everything about this new place down to the clothes you walk around in, but there is a positive right? For me, yes. A resounding yes.
Up until the last few years, I wasn’t the person you would call soft. I didn’t cry over beautifully written cards, death scenes of a beloved character in a book or movie, and if you wanted advice from me about love, you would have had to be prepared to talk about tough love. I was ever the pessimist and if anything, career-driven with a plan for success. I was the problem-solver, the person who got things done no matter who I had to piss off in the process. Hell, if I had to piss off someone, I did it almost gleefully. I was the person who amassed a large vocabulary not just because I love words, but also because I love insulting people in such a smart way that they end up questioning what I said or better, realizing what I said long after I said it. Yes, I was, and who am I kidding, still am quite a jerk sometimes. I would apologize for it, but it wouldn’t be sincere; this was my way of positive inner communication; it was my inside joke that saved me from more somber and much more depressing, self-deprecating inner dialogue. But something changed a few years ago, and although I still love smart insults, I’m much more soft, and the positive thing that I can see through the foggy days and nights is the G-Man.
See the G-Man and I did the unthinkable and almost impossible. We did the long distance relationship thing for two years because we found time to make us work; to send gifts, skype date, he traveled across the ocean twice, we argued and got over it because you can’t argue long distance and not get over it fast if you want it to work out. We made it work, and here we are still making it work. I’ve been a bundle of emotions since coming here; depressed, angry, lethargic, and standoffish and he still manages to get through these things to me. I still get excited when I’m going to see him after work, and when I get to wake up late on Sunday mornings with him.
And we aren’t what I despise about other couples; oh you know the type that do really annoying things like never stop talking about each other or have to call them every few minutes when one of them is out with you having a drink, or tells you inane things about their partner when you are eating dinner like oh my boyfriend loves soup because I saw three cans of soup in his cupboard and I was like, omg why do you have three cans of chicken noodle soup and he said oh cuz’ I love soup. OR (and this really happened), when the girl is like oh I’m cold and the guy hands her his green sweater and she says ewww I don’t wanna wear this- I’ll look like a frog and the guy says, Oh I love frogs and then they kiss and giggle. I seriously thought of jumping out of a window. When I thought about relationships, I always worried I would be like one of those weirdos at the table in Bridget Jones Diary, who talk the same and do everything the same and criticize their single friends.
But nope, that didn’t happen. Instead, we are absolutely ridiculous in the best of ways; we chase each other around the house, I attempt karate and boxing moves on him, we have wii tournaments, we have arguments over who would win in a fight, Jason Bourne or John McClane (I say Jason Bourne), and we seem to understand each other despite the language barrier and the fact that we are both a little crazy. Look, I know a lot of single amazing women out there, abroad and back home, who have this grand idea of love and relationships, or who have never had an amazing relationship, or who have had their hearts broken. or or or. I don’t know why it happens for some people and not for others, whether they deserve it or not. I know what I’ve gone through in my life and why I think I have what I do. I know I have always had to fight for what I believe in, learn things I’m not always interested in learning, and make it through these big tough challenges set before me. Moving abroad and love are the same in this way. You can give up and go back home because it’s easier, or you can keep trying, and keep yourself open to this new experience and fighting your way through it. You are going to have disappointments yes, heart-wrenching disappointments, but you have to fight the good fight and find more reasons to keep fighting it. And always find humor in the little things, even if you are the only one laughing. I just can’t handle when someone tells me they want to give up; life is tough but you still have to keep living it in hopes it gets easier, and the same goes for finding and accepting love.