After 3 years in a long-distance relationship, they’re becoming pros. Vitor is almost done with his thesis in Japan. He’d planned to visit Gina in France, but that will have to wait.
Gina met Vitor in a karaoke bar in Japan, three years ago. She was there for a semester abroad and he was at the same university getting his PhD. He asked her out to lunch the next day, with him and his friends. After lunch, he came with her to her lab and kept her company while she worked.
“We talked about nothing and everything. The next weekend, we had our first real date. I mentioned that I really wanted to see Universal Studios before I left Japan, but he said he hated places like that.
Then he said, ‘We can go there together if you want.’ Hearing him offer to do something he didn’t even like was touching. A month before I left, we went to Tokyo together and he accompanied me at Universal Studio. The activity didn’t matter; it was the quality time that he valued.
When it was time for me to leave Japan, we didn’t actually talk about having a relationship. Neither of us knew where we stood but we kept talking a lot. One night, we both got a little tipsy and told each other we felt like we’d found our other half. We decided we’d stay in contact no matter what. Even if we broke up, we’d still remain friends.
It’s hard to have a long-distance relationship in college. Around the end of 2017, I wanted to leave my home country, Indonesia, so I went to France. Since we were both students, our budgets were tight. We weren’t able to meet up a lot, so it was a whole year later that I visited him again in Japan. After that, his university paid for him to attend a conference in the Czech Republic and I met him there.
Even though we had a lot of doubts and the trip was short, we had an amazing time in the Czech Republic. After three years of knowing each other, we still have our problems and difficulties, but the fact that we both choose to fight for each other, instead of just finding something easier, is amazing for me.”
Struggles in Their Long-Distance Relationship and What They’ve Learned Because of It
“On top of challenges like different time zones and busy school schedules, we’ve had to really improve our communication skills. In the beginning, we both kept our doubts and feelings to ourselves, making the long-distance seem like a slow killer. Now, we’re purposefully expressing our doubts and feelings and believing in the other person no matter what.
We’re still working on it. We have to learn to manage our inner demons that threaten to sabotage the relationship. When it all comes down to it, what matters is that we both know we want to be with the other, and the rest are just supporting details.
The last time we saw each other was September 2019. Vitor is supposed to visit me in France after he finishes his thesis next month, but now we’re not sure if it will be possible. I’ll be so happy when I see him again!”