My friend Patricia spent A LOT of time apart from her man, and not just a few miles away or for a few days, they lived in completely separate countries. I can't even imagine! They have the most unique love story, it's something you only see in the movies. It always makes me think of Mary Kate and Ashley's Passport to Paris, I guess that tells you what my favorite shows were growing up. It's the kind of thing that every girl who does study abroad jokes about, meeting a hot foreign man, dating, falling in love and getting married. Patricia actually lived that story in real life! I'll let her tell you the whole story though, she does it a lot better than I do!
I'm Patricia and Kisses & Croissants is my little corner of the internet. I'm an American expat, married to a Frenchman and living on the other side of the Atlantic. Amberly was nice enough to let me take over her blog today, and I'm really excited to be sharing a part of my love story with you!
It all started with a year long study abroad trip to France. At 19, I was young, curious, and just itching for adventure. So I stuffed everything I could into one little suitcase and bought a plane ticket. A few months later, completely excited, jet lagged, and a little naive, I showed up in a city that I'd never visited before, not knowing anyone or even if I'd be able to find my apartment in the morning. I barely spoke the language.
It wasn't long before a sweet lady from church decided to "adopt" me for the school year. I fell in love with her son the first day we met. I know how cheesy that sounds, but that's really what happened. He was tall, dark, handsome, and barely spoke English. At first, we could only see each other on weekends, when his mom invited me to Sunday dinners. He lived three hours away from us in the south of France. I remember thinking that the distance was tough at the time, but he quickly became my world, my first real love.
That school year passed quickly and the end of summer came. I had to go back to my home university to finish my senior year, because throwing away my education for a boy that I'd known for less than a year was out of the question. He promised wait for me, but when he dropped me off at the airport I couldn't stop from self from crying. I remember being slightly embarrassed to be sobbing in front of so many strangers, while he held me in front of Geneva airport's Burger King. Definitely not glamorous.
I'm not going to tell you that living on the other side of the Atlantic was easy, "because we were so in love". People who tell you that are lying. Long distance relationships suck. I'm also not going to tell you it was the hardest thing I've ever done. He was still my best friend, my closest confidant, and always just a phone call away. I had a lot to be grateful for.
There's a French proverb that says "Distance is to love as wind is to fire. If it is a weak love, it will be quickly blown out. If it is a strong love, the winds will only make it stronger." I wanted to share with you a few things we did to keep the fire going during our time apart.
1. Send each other snail mail.
Skype, facebook, and google hangouts are awesome. It's so wonderful that we could keep in touch with paying anything - other than the monthly internet bill, of course. It's fast and efficient.
But nothing beats a handwritten note from your sweetheart, especially if you're the sappy type. It takes a little more effort, but makes a huge difference.
2. Send lots of pictures.
When you can't be there for the other person, photos are a pretty good second best. My husband loved getting letters and e-mails, but the pictures where his favorite part.
3. Have an end in sight.
Being separated is really hard, but not knowing if the distance will ever end is harder. If you have a goal and end date in site it just makes things so much easier. It also helps put things in perspective.
Just so you know, happy endings do exist :) . After graduation I dropped everything, bought a plane ticket back to France, and married that boy. We still appreciate every single day that we get to spend together, because we spent so many days just wishing that we could. Don't get me wrong, I would never ever want to do the long distance thing again, but I'm so thankful to have had that experience.