{Hear From Him} Long Distance Relationships

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Very excited to announce the first post created WITH my lover man and future hubby, Kevin. I’ve wanted to do a post with him for a while, and being engaged and long distance we decided to write our first post on this very topic: LDR’s. We’ve gotten a lot of comments from friends and strangers about how we do it.

“Wow, power to you guys. I could never do that.”

“I had to break up with my ex after two weeks of distance– we just couldn’t figure it out.”

“How do you know it’s going to work out when you are married and living together?”

We know we’re not the only one’s who have been here, my own grandparents were long distance during WWII and wrote letters to each other during their first year or two of marriage!  Honestly, we have it easy with the technology available to us and we wanted to share with those who are curious, or are in a long distance yourself– it is possible to have a long distance relationship, and for it to work!

Here are 6 tips for you from us! Read through em and let us know of any tips you have from your long distance dating experiences!


Your Phone is Your Best Friend – Kevin

Keep it charged. Be mindful of the battery percentage. You don’t want your phone dying when having meaningful conversations or when you are trying to say something important. One huge factor in communicating well is to have (as much as possible) regularly scheduled phone times, where you both know you are available, even if it’s a brief morning call and lunch break check in. Be thoughtful of these times, keeping your schedule as clear as possible and having your phone battery fully charged and ready to go for when you can talk.

Look into each other’s eyes. See each other’s smiles. Laugh as much as you can together and even share in sad times and see each other cry. This establishes a true friendship that can be more durable in the long run.

Try to acknowledge your significant other’s calls or messages as much as you can. Understand that even though you each have separate lives, messaging and calling throughout the day is a big part of any relationship. It’s amazing what a heart emoji can do for your sweetheart days. Reply to their messages as soon as you can.


Gifs, Emojis, and Undivided Attention – Juliandra

Like any relationship, it takes work in communication to be in a long distance one as much, if not more, than an in-person relationship. One huge aspect to communication that has helped Kevin and I is the little things.

Sometimes we don’t have hours on end to spend with each other. Sometimes it’s a 10-minute phone call between work and gym and then maybe a call while doing errands and that’s all we have time for that day. And it’s okay as long as we keep up with the little things like an “I Love You” gif or “Thinking of You” text. Those little messages will help keep communication going, whether or not you can talk much during the day.

And because you don’t REALLY know what your partners’ day is like as you aren’t a part of the daily ins and outs, then being sure to be the first one to send a sticker or gif through the day can just be a stepping stone to showing your partner they matter and are on your mind.

Little things matter too, even when you do have hours to spare on the phone. When you talk, do yourself and your partner the favor of turning off your TV or notifications on your phone, giving him or her your undivided attention. This communicates that you’re focused and fully engaged—Little Things matter so much!


Keep Physical Reminders in Sight – Kevin

This works as it reminds you of your lover and brings memories that keep you going, no matter what is happening around you in your day.

I have mementos hidden in drawers and placed around my room of pictures, gifts Juliandra has given me, and things we’ve collected together on trips. These physical things matter in a tangible way and ease out a smile every time I see them.


Your significant other has a life outside of you—don’t hate them for it.  -Juliandra

As a matter of fact, try to be encouraging of it! Like all things in life, balance is key and though you will want to spend most of your time together on the phone, and that’s important to keep communication lines open, having relationships and activities outside of talking to each other is important too. When things come up that you are home, but they are away for hours or even days, encourage them to take those times and moments with other friends and family. It will give you more to talk about after the fact, and shows you trust them with how they spend their time outside of talking with you. Long distance is hard enough, don’t make it harder for your partner by being selfish that they be at your beck and call (no pun intended) at every moment.


Creative Date Nights – Kevin

The opposite to Juliandra’s point above, it’s just as important to have dates and times figured out in advance, where your schedule is clear just for each other. These nights are meant to be work free and relaxing. No interruptions allowed.

Pick out a movie, get a drink, and order food you both like. Get your phones fully charged so no one gets left out during your date. It usually takes a minute or two, but syncing your movie and watching it at the exact time makes you feel as if you are both right next to each other.

Other things we’ve done is going on walks and even shopping at the same time. Not caring about the looks of others when on a video call during your date night, especially when out and about, gives the feeling of being in your own world together. The rest of it fades away.


Expect hard things to come up when you do see each other – Juliandra

One thing I didn’t expect dating long distance was the awkward to sometimes hurtful moments when were together in person. When talking on the phone, it’s easy to avoid conversations you don’t want to have, or brush things under the rug that are actually a big deal in person. And it’s okay to have those moments. Expect it even. You are two people who might not get to see each other often, and there will be an adjustment period every time you are physically in each other’s presence. Things that you didn’t know were an issue might come up, and have to be addressed to have clarity in the relationship. This doesn’t mean you should end things because it’s hard, it just means that you’re human and so is the man or woman you are dating.

I’ve realized in dating Kevin that every time we see each other I get super sad or even irritable with him days before he leaves. I didn’t understand how we could be together even during fun events and me feel so dejected inside. Or, we’ve ended up bickering, fighting, being less than patient with the other always just before another long parting.

When I realized this pattern, which would surface every visit and always just days before separating again, it has been easier to know that its coming and be better prepared for it the next time. But no matter what happens—giving myself and Kevin grace in the hard, awkward moments of being together after a lengthy separation is key.

 

{Travel Tuesday} Travel Better With These 3 “To-Dos”

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Travel better with these three recommendations for your next trip!

Rather than make a post about a specific country, culture, and time of life, the simple “To Dos” on this Travel Tuesday post are things that I’ve learned through the 27 countries I’ve visited, that I hope will help you make the best memories the next time you venture out!

1. Do talk to strangers. Some of the best moments traveling have been the serendipitous conversations with passerby-ers, people staying in the same hostel as I, and strangers next to me on the bus or train.

I remember a time in Queretaro, Mexico striking up a conversation with a gentleman standing outside of a play I wanted to see. I was with a few other students and we all showed up late, without tickets. It was sold out. We ended up striking a conversation with a guy outside, having no idea he worked at the theater. If we hadn’t taken the time to chat, he wouldn’t have then snuck us in a backdoor so we could see the second half of the show… It pays to talk to strangers; you never know where it’ll get you!

Another time, a guy with blue hair, gauges in his ears, and wearing a leopard print shirt was traveling from Spain to Morocco on the same flight as I. From the looks of him, this guy was someone I wouldn’t have talked to on my own turf. However, he asked me a few questions about Morocco, namely why was I going, and then happily told me allllll about his vacation. From plane, to taxi, to train, we ended up sticking together through the travel process in making it to our destinations. Halfway through our 2 hour wait for the train, I heard him ask the people around us about phones and buying a SIM card and data. He turned out to be a huge asset as together we found a mall a couple of blocks from the train station with a phone store, got food, and he even carried my bags on and off the train for me. You can find great comradery in friendly travel conversation, even with someone who looks like they just rolled through their sister’s closet by accident.

With strangers I’ve gone rock climbing, dancing, out to shows, connected with over drinks, and like the guy from Morocco, even finding and buying phone data in foreign countries! Strangers, while keeping a close hold on my phone and wallet, make traveling worth it as we’ve exchanged stories and experienced life together. After all, my current fiancé was just a stranger on a ship at one point, before we started talking!!

2. Do travel alone. I LOVE group trips. It’s important, fun, and you come back with shared stories to talk about for years to come. BUT the times I’ve traveled alone, I’ve learned more about myself—what I’m capable of, what scares me, and how to stretch myself out of my comfort zone. I am more aware of my surroundings when alone, whether for safety reasons, or just to make sure I arrive on time to the next bus or train. It allows me to take in more with sights, sounds, and smells. I get to pull out my camera, and not feel pressured to hurry because I’m with people, as I capture the both the breadth and depth of life around me. I love a good solo trip, even if it’s just for a day to branch out in a new city.

3. Do what locals do. I’ve certainly stood out as a foreigner in many travels. Even just to NYC, 5 hours from where I live in Pennsylvania, if you’re not from the area, locals can tell. And with that comes the risk of being targeted for money, scams, pick pocketers, or worse. I’ve learned to research the customs of the areas I’ll be traveling to in advance and have gotten advice from people through Facebook groups, blogs, tour guides and even “safe zones” like hotels and Airbnbs. Doing the local thing, by researching in advance will save you money and harassment, I promise.

A small, but telling story of being naive in a new place was as simple as buying a gelato in Italy. You would think it was a simple thing, buying gelato in Florence. It’s everywhere. Street corners and plazas. Piled high in beautiful, colorful mounds. Luckily, I’m not much of a dairy eater anymore, or I would have fallen for the simple trap that those gelato stands have going on in most touristy places throughout Italy. I learned from a local that those tall, gorgeous piles of gelato aren’t real (artisan), and shop owners charge double, 6 euros, instead of 2 or 3, for a scoop like in true gelato shops. She said the real places with homemade, artisan, and authentic gelato keep it insulated in small containers. And she warned to not spend more than 3 euros for a dish. If the workers tried to charge more, she said tell them you know better and you’ll pay the local rate.

It doesn’t matter what country, city, or culture I’ve visited, I’ve been naive and have stood out many times. But through seeking locals’ and avid travelers’ advice, and by doing what they do and going where they go, I’ve always had a richer experience.

By the end of my Italy trip, I ended up trying gelato a few times and it was always the right price and quality, saving me a few bucks as a foreigner.

That’s it! My three “To Do’s” to making the most of your next trip. Drop a message/ leave a comment with your To Do’s when traveling; I’m always open to the advice of others!