Love Across Borders
In preparation for our move to South Africa, we thought it would be a good idea to look back at our relationship with each other which was shaped by South Africa.
Maxwell was visiting Michigan on a break from school in South Africa when he met me. It was one of those cliché moments where we saw each other and just knew. Like a terrible 90’s romantic comedy, people disappeared around us and a light shown on him.
Before I knew he was living in South Africa, he used his passport to get into the next bar our group went to. Because I had never traveled, I thought he was the coolest. When asked why he was using his passport, he said that lived in South Africa and did not have his driver’s license. My heart was a bit broken because I thought South Africa?? Noooooo. This boy that I had already married in my mind was unattainable.
After turning caution to the wind and dating him daily for the remaining 2 weeks he was in town, we agreed that we just needed to try it. We couldn’t go on knowing that we did not try long distance. (Spoiler alert: we are now married <3 )
Long distance- especially super long distance like the US to South Africa- was hard but completely worth it. Maxwell and I have created a guide of how to survive a long distance relationship!
This one might seem like a no brainer, but open communication for long distance relationships is important. Communication for any couples is essential to the relationship’s success. Because we only had Skype,WhatsApp, and letters to communicate, we focused on our foundation of communication. I have never known someone as I know Maxwell and vice versa. Though the internet connection in South Africa left little to be desired and I could only see a pixelated version of him, it was the best sight.
Because of the time difference, we had to schedule our talking time. This might seem like a pain, but I am a planner so I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had just started graduate school and in between homework and stress, I had something to look forward to. Maxwell would stay up until the wee hours of the morning to accommodate my schedule.
I remember on weekends, I considered talking to a computer my social time. My mom would ask if she would see me at all because she knew I was having a marathon Skyping session with Maxwell. On weekends, it was not uncommon for us to talk 5 hours a day both Saturday and Sunday. Our relationship strengthened through poorly connected internet.
Fun date nights
Our “date nights” were so long that we often ate meals together and played games to be like any other couple. He would be eating dinner while I was eating lunch and his company made it feel like we were together. Our favorite game to play was Catch Phrase because of its simplicity. I would cover the portion of the screen that showed myself show the Maxwell the word he needed to describe to me. It was silly and childish, but it made us feel like a real relationship. Additionally, I play violin and Maxwell loves when I play. I would often practice on camera 🙂
A long distance relationship is worth it
I don’t think that our relationship and bond would be what it is today without the distance. I’m happy that we did the long distance for awhile, but then were able to take time to date in person. It didn’t take long for Maxwell to propose and for me to eagerly agree.
3 years after our long distance, we get to live in Cape Town with each other. Truly a dream come true.
Bonus: Photos of our Skype sessions