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.

IMG_1508

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.

Wil jij mijn valentijn zijn?

The past two weeks I’ve spent in The Netherlands, the country of tulips, cheese, wooden clogs and of course space cakes. That’s what this small country usually symbolize for foreigners. To me it’s a country of good-looking tall people (of whom my boyfriend is the tallest and the handsomest!) and a country of crazy crazy crazy carnaval that happens to be around Valentine’s (only in the south; and I usually don’t use words three times in a row but I’m listening to One Direction atm, haha)!

2013-02-09 13.58.44

And of course, I couldn’t resist joining this special event myself!  It’s SO cute! Every citizen is dressed up, people you’ve never seen before offer you fries, beers, some may experience first kiss or hangover. It’s a 5-night-long party that everybody should attend at least once in their lives. What is usually considered normal is not anymore, being insane and enjoying horrible dutch music remakes is a must. I bet you’d love it just as much as I did.

Meet my sexy boyfriend and his awesome dad!

Besides carnaval, I was just stuffing myself with food I can never get in The Czech republic. I love food so much, I would give up a lot of things in my life for good food :D.

2013-02-14 15.36.25
Japanese dessert made of creamy ice-cream covered in rice flour. A very tainting obsession.
2013-02-10 16.42.42
Tony’s chocolonely’s big enough for two, don’t eat when lonely! :) It won some dutch prize but it’s up to you to decide if deservedly (I myself found it quite average but better than Hershey’s or Milka). Beef Jerky was just a try because I’m somehow attracted to the food from The US. It was super good!!
2013-02-10 15.11.05
What can I say… The worst McDonald’s burger I’ve ever tried so far… I kind of miss it.
2013-02-16 14.03.10
Limburgse vlaai is one of the fluffiest and yummiest things you can get in The Netherlands, I recommend strawberry flavours or cherry/chocolate mousse.
2013-02-17 19.18.51
I just had to get those funny peppermints because they are so large and good and with the queen’s name on it – yumm!

Not the healthiest choices indeed but noone should be on a diet when having holidays! ;) My boyfriend and I were actively sabotaging a fit lifestyle. Once we were having actually a proper dinner at his grandparent’s – a dutch meal called stamppot which is made of mashed potatoes and any vegetable I think. We couldn’t bear the idea of eating like any other person, so after a delicious dinner (mind you, we already had a soup, main dish and a pudding for dessert) we went to local’s supermarket to get starbucks drinks and bag of potato chips with a special dutch sauce called Joppiesaus (my heart thingy). I’m afraid to check my weight now!

Sometimes we made breaks between meals and did something else as well. I love buying cheap yet pretty clothes (honestly, who doesn’t?) and my dear is so dear that he always take me shopping with a smile and wait for me in front of fitting rooms patiently. So our first stop from Rotterdam’s mini airport was to Rotterdam’s big and crowded Primark store. It wasn’t as full of nice clothes as in the summer but I managed to buy myself few stuff O:). Other shops that every hipster or fashionista (god, hahaha, that word is just funny) needs to visit are Brandy&Melville (!!!!! their stores are only in very few countries in the world, mostly just the US), American Apparel, maybe Zipper and any shop located at Nine little streets. For those we had to go to Amsterdam but visiting the capital is obligatory, isn’t it?

Though the main purpose of my visit was Valentine’s day. If you haven’t figured out yet, my boyfriend is very dutch (maybe a bit spanish, lol) and lives in the Netherlands. I can’t even describe how difficult it sometimes gets, having to live over 400 miles away from the person you love so much. I believe that what we have is somewhat special and unique, so unique that it already lasted over two years. Despite all the petty fights and misunderstandings (probably everything caused by me since my boyfriend is perfect in every way) we are still together and … invincible (at least I hope, I wouldn’t wish to read this again in the future crying because of being dumped, haha).

And we had a beautiful Valentine’s day! Although the weather was so bad that I got a cold, although I made him upset when I refused to visit the city of his first date with one of his ex-girlfriends (okay, but this is understandable, isn’t it? someone support me!? :D), although we bought a surprise bag of chocolate that was full of nougat that I don’t like, although we are so different from each other.

2013-02-14 17.37.23

P. S. I do think watching Django Unchained on Valentine’s day is the most romantic thing we could have done.