Going the Distance

Right now, the time difference between me and my hubby is 12 hours. For nearly six years now, we have lived with three, four, five, six, 9.5, 10.5 and now 12-hour differences. Let me put it this way: when I look at the time, I automatically see the time in another country.

What can I say? This is another side effect of globalization: the (frequently) transcontinental partnership.

I call this "Skype Scramble: My Hubby Rearranged" Photo credit: nishaksquared
I call this “The Skype Scramble: My Hubby Rearranged.” (You can’t tell, but that’s my guy in the center. It’s very artsy, no?) 
Photo credit: nishaksquared

My hubby is in Manila for a work project, and on a daily basis, I find myself wondering how we managed to do long-distance for the first two years of our relationship. The answer to this, of course, is Skype. I honestly don’t think we would have been able to handle long-distance without Skype. We spoke every single day, saw each other every single day — this despite thousands of miles between us. But that’s not to say that it’s a perfect application: I have lost track of how many dropped calls, audio defects, video defects and/or delayed transmissions we’ve had to deal with. We put up with it then (the mid-2000s) because that was the best tool we had.

But now…now is a different story.

Marriage and the luxury of living in the same time zone have spoiled us. I can never forget how — during those early years — the day revolved around the times when we could get on Skype and speak to each other. For that reason, I honestly believe that we’ll never take each other for granted. But I have adapted all too easily, all too happily, to the fact of us being able to talk and do all sorts of other normal activities together, in person.

That’s what makes me even more impatient with our current NYC-Manila routine.

Allow me to elaborate: We can only really use Skype since my hubby’s mobile doesn’t work in Manila. (No iMessage for us!) I’ll email him, or he’ll email me, so that we can settle on a time to Skype. When the hour has come and I call him, or him me, the first 5-10 minutes of every conversation goes like this:

“Hello?”

“Hello?”

“Honey, can you hear me?”

“I [garble, garble] hear [garble, garble] properly.”

“You can hear me properly?”

“This [garble, garble] working…”

And Skype lets us know that the call has dropped. Sigh. Call again? Yes. Repeat the whole routine. Usually about three more times. Maybe we’ll try FaceTime. Oh, it works! Wait, no. Same story.

When we are finally able to speak, we’re both frustrated and curse Skype, Filipino Internet service, the weather, work, anything really that is even remotely connected to these trying, technologically-unsound mishaps. Then we ask ourselves the same question: how the Hell did we do this before? The standard response: I have no idea. 

But then, the nicest thing happens: we reminisce. On the weekends when we have more time to chat, after we talk about the past week and the one ahead, we remember what it was like when we were both students, busy but so in love and determined to give “us” a chance. I’m transported back to those early days of getting to know each other, of talking about everything big and small, of planning our reunions. We do that now, too: in a matter of weeks, we’ll be reunited, and even though it feels like a long way away (these past few weeks have felt like a few months!), I focus on the fact that we have so much to look forward to. I like to daydream about picnics in the park, going to a weekend matinee, grabbing a drink, having friends over for dinner, planning a great trip. These are the beautiful little moments that make up and fill up our life together.

So, for my fellow long-distancers past, present and future: Hang in there. Use Skype, FaceTime, whatever you can. The time you carve out for each other is absolutely worth it. You’ll love and appreciate each other in a more total way because your time together will always be precious — not because it’s scarce, but because it’s wonderful.

And to my dear hubby: If you’re reading this now, I love you and I miss you. Skype date later?

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