Panka & Michael

Panka & Michael
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First Whatsapp, then Skype. They fell in love from afar, demonstrating how to start a long-distance relationship. Michael moved from Texas to Hungary to close the distance. Then Corona happened. Now they’re in separate cities, back where they started.

In Panka’s delightful podcast about long-distance relationships, she records a full and candid description of starting a long-distance relationship. I met her on Instagram and asked her to share the story here. Combining her written words with details from the podcast, I’m excited to share the uniquely romantic story with you here. 

She comments that she’s only able to share her own side of the story since podcasts are not Michael’s cup of tea. But her version of the romantic story is descriptive and detailed enough that the picture she paints is clear.

How They Met

Starting a Long-Distance Relationship Between Hungary and the USA

She first met Michael in September 2018 as an 18-year-old fresh out of high school. She was browsing a site called InterPals where you can meet people from all over the world. You can chat with them and practice languages you want to learn. 

When she clicked on Michael’s profile, she saw him sitting on a couch with a guitar in his hand. “I wanted to practice English and was very interested to talk to an American, especially him.”

Drawn to his smoky eyes, great hair, intelligence, and kind bio, she approached him. She describes, “I’m really awkward at starting conversations, so I don’t know why he responded or decided to correspond with me. I just typed, ‘I’m not very good at starting conversations.’” 

When he answered, they started with some basic introductions, talking about their respective countries, hobbies, and interests. The conversation went really well so Michael asked for Panka’s phone number in order to continue their chatting over Whatsapp. Because they’d spoken with such ease and comfort, she agreed even though they’d never met. 

“We chatted every single day. It never felt like a burden or a chore but was very pleasant and natural. We were able to talk about all kinds of deeper subjects. Even though we didn’t always agree, we still talked about it like adults and had interesting conversations.” 

After some time, they had their first Skype date. When Michael called, Panka was so nervous she was sweating, but everything was alright as soon as they started chatting. Michael wore a button-up shirt while sitting in his dorm room and Panka really enjoyed his voice and tone when speaking. 

They didn’t fall in love right away, but they definitely had a strong case of like at first sight. Panka started noticing her feelings for Michael gradually until she really began to realize that she truly liked him. 

On New Year’s Eve, Michael confessed his feelings for Panka with a hand-written letter on quality paper. He read it out loud in a video to her while wearing a suit. But Panka wasn’t quite ready to reciprocate the gesture. She writes, “I freaked out and quit. I was scared of my own feelings. He was the first person I’d ever loved, and I didn’t know how to start a long-distance relationship.

It took me 2 months to face my feelings and admit to myself that I love him and want to be with him no matter what. So I reached out to him this time. I told him I was ready to acknowledge my feelings and asked if he could give me another chance. He was still there, just waiting for me to see that we belong together.”

How They Closed the Distance From 10,000 Kilometers to 73 Kilometers

Once they both realized they were in love with each other, they had to figure out the details of how to start a long-distance relationship. Here’s how they did it. 

Michael found a local company that trains English teachers and sends them to countries in central Europe. So he enrolled in the courses, finished the program, and moved to Hungary! They still don’t quite live in the same town, since Panka lives in Budapest and Michael lives in another city 73 kilometers away. 

They may not see each other every day or as often as they like, but it’s still much more manageable than the gap between Texas and Hungary.

Maintaining a Long-Distance Relationship in Lockdown

They haven’t been able to see each other much because of the strict quarantine rules Hungary has been enforcing. Of course, it’s hard for them to be separated after closing such a big gap. But Panka looks at the bright side of things. 

“It’s much better than it used to be. Now, we have the privilege to live in the same country, even though we can’t really see other right now. Fortunately, it seems like the virus is getting weaker and the rules are getting less and less strict. But we are still cautious. 

Basically, we’re back where we started. But still, I’m thankful every day that he could make his way to Hungary before the virus. Now, we even have the opportunity to see each other every month! I think we get to see each other much more often than most long-distance relationship couples, which is so lucky. I’m eternally grateful for it.”

Panka’s Advice on How to Make a Long-Distance Relationship Work

“Long-distance relationships are mostly about patience. Have faith and believe. When you’re doubting if it’s going to be possible or worth it, believe in your feelings. Believe in your partner. Trust that they feel the same as you and that they’ll honor their commitment to be with you. 

If I can give y’all one advice, then it would be this: please, safety first! I know it’s a big struggle and sometimes it’s unbearable. But please, always consider yours, your partner’s, and other people’s safety before you do something!”

Connect With Us By Sharing Your Story

Since the start of Corona Love Stories, we’ve met over 25 couples in long-distance relationships. It hasn’t been easy during this quarantine but the connections we’ve made give us a common bond with others around the globe. Through Instagram and Facebook, we’ve built friendships. I now have people cheering me on in my long-distance relationship and wishing me the best encouragement and advice I could ask for. 

We’ve even learned a lot about cultures we weren’t familiar with before. Madhu shared about life in Andhra Pradesh, India in a long-distance relationship that’s lasted several years. So if you’re in a long-distance relationship during the Corona lockdown, submit your story or send us a message. We’d love to connect with you!

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