Since this is the week of love, I thought I’d take the time to share the story of my long-distance relationship. Never in my wildest dreams would I have known how important these dates would one day be to me.
I can recall that particular October 14th somewhat vividly, which is strange for me since I have a relatively poor memory (thank God I have Sam – his is impeccable). A friend and I were hanging out in my dorm room, killing time until a party later that evening and decided to go on Omegle for laughs. For those of you not familiar with Omegle, it’s a website where you can type or video chat with random strangers. The concept is cool, but thanks to the pervy men of the world (you know what I’m referring to), the video aspect is actually pretty ridiculous. Still, my friend and I got a kick out of it every now and then, and not everyone was there for pervy reasons. Case in point: Sam. When we landed on him, my friend immediately exclaimed, “Ooh, he’s cute Mal!” and turned the camera to me. We chatted with him for a little while, poking fun at him here and there, and he eventually added me on Skype & Facebook, where we proceeded to stalk him (duh). My friend left and I started getting ready for the evening, but continued talking to Sam. That night, I would have laughed in the face of anyone who told me it would be more than casual conversation. If someone had told me I’d be in love with him two months later, I would’ve said they were crazy. Sam’s and my official anniversary is February 21, 2012 (a week from tomorrow – eek!), but we didn’t meet in person until August 4th of that year.
Sam’s recount of our meeting in person goes something like this (with some commentary by yours truly, of course):
On the day Mali and I met, I left my house very early in the morning for St. Augustine Beach where she was staying with some of her friends. I had never before made the drive without someone else in the car with me to talk to, but it went by surprisingly quickly, and before I knew it I was driving into St. Augustine. As I was making my way through the city to the beach stretch on the far side, I called Mali to let her know I was close. She wanted to meet me in her hotel’s parking lot and was waiting near the lot’s entrance with her friends. I felt incredibly nervous as I pulled into the parking lot and immediately saw her standing there smiling and laughing with her friends about what a weird situation it was (I was freaking out, as is evident in the video below. Sorry about that..). The first thing that struck me was how bright her eyes looked. It was weird seeing her in person after always seeing her on a screen; she looked so much more “high-definition” – it’s the only way I could describe it. I felt incredibly self-conscious about my dumb old car and it was only made worse by me not finding a parking spot right away. Anyway, I got out and she ran towards me like in the cheesy old movies but it was really cute. She jump-hugged me and I caught her and gave her an awkward little first kiss. We talked about how great it was to finally meet in person and I remember saying she looked even more beautiful in person (because she did). We walked back towards her friends where they were taking a video of us meeting (how the heck does this thing have 165k+ views?!).
We headed up to their room and changed into swimsuits to hit the beach. While we were waiting for her friends we laid on one of the beds and put a blanket over our heads and just kind of smiled and talked. I think her head was upside down or something for a little bit because I remember seeing her permanent retainer and thinking she had alien teeth (you guys, he legitimately thought I had some sort of weird mutant teeth, for like, a long time). We headed out to the beach and took some pictures, put sunscreen on each other, walked out into the water, and did a little casual suntanning.
After the beach we were both hungry and headed out for our first lunch date. We went to this burrito place and got some decent food and just chatted. It was nice. I’m pretty sure she paid but I don’t know why I let her… I think I paid for dinner later when we went to a place called A1A Steakhouse. We got calamari as an appetizer and I think burgers for our meals, and I remember us having some very good conversation. I think maybe about ketchup. It was cute. After that we wandered down St. George Street, the old shopping district, and then headed back to the hotel. Overall it was a great day, and I love Mali very much.
Long distance is hard. It is not for the faint of heart. It is not for anyone who needs constant companionship or admiration. I wouldn’t wish long distance upon anyone. And yet, it’s taught me so much about myself and my relationship with Sam. It’s allowed me to both grow as an individual and grow in our relationship. And now that there’s less than three months left of long distance for us (I still can’t quite wrap my head around that), I think back to that October day when we met and see how far we’ve come and all that’s changed. I’m so happy Sam and I have been able to grow and change and go through life’s twists and turns together. Without him, I wouldn’t be who I am.
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!