That's right, I cried so hard I gave myself a nosebleed.
Needless to say, doing a long distance relationship is hard. Especially if you are 7,500 miles away from the person and 13 hours apart. It's not the ideal situation, but I've found my time in Thailand has helped nurture my relationship more than I thought possible.
Here are 6 things that have helped teaching abroad work with a long distance relationship (and are probably all totally obvious) :
I downloaded WhatsApp for my phone (Viber and Line work well too) and it works off of wifi and data. I also got data for my phone and it's allowed me to text Eric whenever, making it feel like he's right across town and not on the other side of the world. Literally. Some people rely on finding wifi spots to get access to using phone data, but for about 500 baht (about 16$) a month you can buy unlimited data for your phone.
This has also allowed us to communicate on a much deeper level, I've never been particularly eloquent expressing my emotions and we have gotten really good at really diving into our feelings (even though it's texting) this because of the distance.
2. Sending packages
Sharing little tidbits from the amazing country you are in with your loved one will make them feel so special, not to mention receiving something from home that reminds you of them.
3. Make Skype your friend
Even though 70% of Skype conversations are "Can you hear me? Wait I lost you. I can't see the video! Wait you froze. WHY ISN'T THIS WORKING?!" It's all worth it to see a smile and have a (semi) face to face conversation.
4. Bring Pictures
This is one thing I forgot to do before I left. I didn't print out any pictures at ALL. I am a super visual person and love a beautifully nested area, so my room still feels empty without pictures of loved ones. I wish I took the time to just stop by a Walgreens back home and get a bunch of pictures printed out. Now I have notes that my loved ones wrote to me and put those up on my wall and read them all the time.
5. Trust it's all going to be okay
It might be a sign of growing up and the evolution of dating in my life, but having 100% trust and respect for my partner has been the most crucial factor in "being okay" with a long distance relationship. I trust there's nothing going on behind my back and he knows the same with me. It's been that way since we got together and has made the hard parts of our relationship totally approachable if we need to communicate something. This experience will help challenge your trust, but just have faith.
6. Try to share the experience together
While this is a once in a lifetime experience that has allowed me so much personal growth and inspiration, I get to share the end of my time in Thailand with Eric when he comes to visit me. It will be a perfect ending to such a magnificent adventure, and while I had the experience for myself, I will still be able to share part of it with him. If you can't manage this, support each other through whatever is happening at home and remind each other that you are always there for one another no matter how far (how's that for cliché? oof)
Best of luck to all of you heading out in October or planning to next year. And don't fear the LDR! It will make you both warriors of independence and masters of communication :)
Oh and one more...
7. Cookies, etc.
Eat the loneliness away with all the cookies and delicious food you can find in this beautiful land. Kidding...actually not really. Food = happiness.
Any questions? ---> firstname.lastname@example.org