Saturday, October 28, 2006
A few years ago, I took a job a few provinces away from my honey at the time, and she said she'd be with me through thick and thin. She lasted almost 3 months before mailing the rest of my stuff to me and saying adios.
One of my best friends while growing up was a guy called Chuck. His mom had moved from Taiwan to Canada to send her kids through school while his dad stayed behind in Taiwan to work, only coming to visit for a few weeks each summer. They both stuck with it. After 12 years, Chuck and his sister graduated, and his mom moved back to Taiwan to be with his dad. That showed me something about dedication and loyalty. I know it can be done.
I'm at Lisa's place as I write this.
This morning, I made a run to the local deli for some fresh whole-wheat sesame bread and some fruit salad. We devoured half the loaf while it was still hot, and munched on fresh grapes and cantaloupe slices. A simple, shared pleasure.
We have been together for nearly 6 1/2 years now, and for more than half of that, we have been long-distance. My schedule right now is generally Monday - Friday on, with weekends off, and every time I have been able to, I go see Lisa for the weekend, like now. I am lucky in that it no longer takes me all day to see her, but we are still in different area codes.
So how have we made it work? Well, I have a few tips for having a relationship with a a non-pilot girl, and I hope that some of it might be apply to both sexes.
1. We both have internet and webcams. A half-decent webcam is $30, and is worth it's weight in gold. Microsoft Messenger has webcam stuff built into it, so it's a simple matter of plugging it in and hitting a button, and we can see each other in realtime while chatting. It's not the same as a good snuggle, but it beats the hell out of a mere phonecall. If you happen to be dirt-poor, which is sadly very common in aviation, note that both of you don't have to have webcams for it to work, even if only one person can see the other it's still better than a disembodied voice on the phone.
2. Speaking of phonecalls, I talk to her at least 3 times a day. You can buy a phonecard; I used these awesome ones called Ci Ci Ola, they are 4 cents a minute with no connection fee. I call her to touch base even when I'm sitting in Upper Dog Testicle. We talk about important stuff, and we talk about stupid stuff, and we talk about boring stuff. In any relationship, communication is what helps you get through the rough parts. I developed my speaking skills, and I'm not be afraid to be mushy-mushy on the phone. I tell her I love her more than goats love oats amd bunnies love bunnies. Yeah it might seem a little unmanly, but it melts her heart. If I wind up fighting on the phone, I don't let it go overnight without resolving it. Does it really matter that much that she spend an extra few bucks on a pair of shoes or that some slimeball hit on her when she was out for supper with her girlfriends? We don't sweat the small stuff. I reinforce the fact that I love her and we will be together for years and years, just not right now. But each time we wake up, it's another day closer to when we can be with each other again.
3. She sends me internet greeting cards all the time. I love them, and they are totally free to send. A quick Google will reveal a zillion sites out there. It's awesome to open my email and see an animated woodland creature sing a little song to me about how I rock Lisa's socks.
4. We always know when our next visit is. That way it never totally feels like we are stuck treading water, there's always something to look forward to. I'm on a layover through next weekend (you hear me, internet stalker?), but I will be here for a visit in 2 weeks, and the weekend after that looks pretty good too.
5. We are both independent. We are together because we want to be, not because we need someone in our lives. When we lived in the same place, we still had our own interests and a few friends apart from each other. If you fly for a living, you'll understand why this is necessary. If you are still looking for that first job, then be aware that you are going to be away from your loved ones for extended periods of time even if you live with them. If you are constantly worried about what your significant other is up to, it's not gonna work out. That's really the single most important thing to have; without trust, you might as well not even bother.
6. We both know why I'm here and she's there. I'm here so I can make some decent money and continue building my worldwide empire, and she's there so she can attend The University of Her Choice. I help to support her while she's in TUOHC, and she understands the importance of having income. I could quit my job and move back to where she is, sure. We'd be together, but I wouldn't be doing what I love, and neither of us would be able to afford to eat every day. She could quit University to come here, but that's not practical as she is in her 4th year, and we both know it's important for her to have some specialized education for when she enters the skilled labour pool. After all, she's gotta support me in my old age :)
Now here's the kick in the ass:
Unfortunately, the ultimate decision to stay together through long-distance has nothing to do with what I just written; basically it depends on the two of you and the relationship you have.
If your partner is going to bail on you after a few months, they are going to bail on you no matter what you do. If they are going to stay with you, just try to remind them why they chose you in the first place. Send letters, phone messages, emails, maybe the occasional small gift just because you love them. Think about the amount of money you would spend on them if they were with you, and try to spend at least a portion of that on them even when you're far away. It's not really the money that counts, but it will force you to be creative and keep your bonds strong.
"Aww, that's sooo cute. He was thinking of me" That's what I wanna go for.
Not everyone can handle the lifestyle. But if it's what you love, you have to be true to your soul and follow your dream of being a pilot. Damn that sounds like TV-movie dialogue, but it's true. If they really love you, they'll be proud to be with such a dedicated, ambitious person.