So, you’re in one of those dreaded relationships, the long distance type. A long distance is a rather relative term; for my brother and his girlfriend, it can be three hours. For me, it is 8 hours by plane, a six hour time difference, and two distinct continents. Distance: over 4,000 miles.
4,000 miles can seem like a lot. And it is. Traveling that distance often requires 24 hours straight of traveling: walking, buses, cars, and airplanes. Even traveling within the airport can be daunting. I have been on trains inside airports as well as buses that take 15 minutes to go between terminals. Layovers are annoying and so are delays. None of that can be helped.
But by far, the worst thing is the everyday, humdrum part. The part where you are here, and he is there, and the distance between you two seems interminable. That’s where you handy dandy tools come in. What are these tools? Let me help ya out.
- Skype. Oh, Skype. Whatever would I do without you? You’re free, but that doesn’t mean I think you’re easy. I love your accessibility and your video capabilities. On Skype, you can chat for free if both you and your chatting partner are on the Internet. You can also “Skype out,” or call that person’s cell phone/landline for a small fee. Mario can call me for $0.02/minute. The other way around is $0.27/minute, though.
- Gchat. I love Gmail’s chat feature because it doesn’t requie downloading a client. Nope, just log on, and you’re good to go. Plus, Google is slowly taking over the world anyway.
- Notebooks. When I found out Mario and I would be maintaining a LDR back in January, I bought his-and-her notebooks. I wrote in mine, and he in his, for the duration of our first separation. When we got back together, we exchanged them. We ended up reading them aloud to the other because we’re cute (cheesy) like that.
- The postal mail service. Yeah yeah, I know, no one uses snail mail anymore. That’s why we have email, y’all. Well, my boy is a bit old-fashioned and he looks a good handwritten letter. (He also enjoys using old-fashioned pens, plumas as they are called in Spanish.) It’s so nice to walk out to your mailbox, open it up, and see a letter addressed to you. It’s more tangible and more fun.
- Google Buzz. I sometimes forget how much of a relationship is based upon sharing the minutiae of life. I’ll often read an article, feel compelled to share it with him, and realize it’s 3 AM over there. Oops. But, with Google Buzz, I can just click “share” on my Google Reader and it will show up for him tomorrow, when I’m snuggled in bed.
- Patience. It’s a virtue, after all.
- Not counting down the days. I swear, it makes them go by even more slowly.
- An understanding of the other person’s needs. Mario knows that I get tired of speaking on the phone everyday, so we chat instead. I understand that he likes to see me, so somedays I’ll suggest it to him, so he doesn’t feel like he’s forcing me to do something I don’t want to do.
- Pictures. I send Mario pictures of me doing things, of my new clothes, of whatever. It’s just to make him feel like he knows what’s up with me. Plus, who doesn’t like pictures of their significant other?
- Love. It’s what makes these annoying LDRs worth it.