October – Does long-distance make or break our relationships? | Rotterdam Diaries

I’ve always been close to my mom. Typical Asian family, you’d say. What might make our relationship special is that she underwent a heart transplantation when I was 9, blood cancer when I was 16 and leiomyoma removal surgery when I was 20. She takes about 10 types of medicine everyday at the moment, including antidepressants, has migraines, sleeping problems and back problems.

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So naturally, she was always home with me because she was not able to work anymore. At the age of 9, I had no idea what are the consequences of a heart transplantation. All I knew was that I could no longer have a pet because my mom’s immunity system was weakened. As I got older and taller, my mom seemed to get smaller and smaller. I slowly started realising that my mom is a little fragile human and that she could pass away any day. I was trying to suppress that thought. And I was good at it.

I never told any of my friends about my mom’s condition. I would start crying whenever I started talking about it. Heck, I’m even crying now as I type this. However, not so long ago I’ve learned it’s a crucial part of me that I need to stop avoiding.

So, my mom was home every day. I got used to that quickly. I’m naturally a quiet person just like my mom. Our typical conversation wouldn’t last longer than 10 minutes. It was very silent at our home, especially when she had headaches. We knew we loved each other, don’t get me wrong. But somehow I started taking her presence for granted. There was not so much to talk about. And right now, I just I wish we talked more about the little things.

Fast forward, I was going abroad for my exchange semester. I was used to not seeing my mom for a month or so and 5 months is not forever. Right now it has been 2,5 months of my exchange. We chat, whatsapp or skype with my parents about three to four times a week. Sometimes it’s 5 minutes, sometimes it’s 30 minutes. And I realised something. Of course, long-distance couldn’t break us. Nothing break Asian family’s bounds. But I did not expect the distance to make our relationships stronger. We actually talk now. About the little things. I told them how I set my boyfriend’s kitchen on fire, how I bought new raincoat or even how my butt is getting firmer from biking. They tell me how they feel, what they are working on right now. That’s the things we would not discuss if we were living in the same household.

Sometimes it’s good to take a break from each other. Look at things from distance.

Does the same apply for romantic relationships? It’s funny, but even though me and my boyfriend are together for almost 5 years, I can’t say for sure. Ironically, sometimes it’s short-distance that breaks people, not long-distance.

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