I had always been adamant that I would never, ever, have a long-distance relationship. The feeling of missing someone simply seemed so painful. I would always say that there was only one case in which it could work.
If there was an expiration date for said distance, and the people involved had been dating for a while before being apart. That was the only way I could even consider it.
We have a lot of sayings in Venezuela on the topic of claiming things we have to take back:
Por la boca muere el pez: The fish dies by the mouth.
Nunca digas de esta agua no beberé: Never say I shall not drink from this water.
La lengua es el castigo del cuerpo: The tongue is the punishment of the body.
All of these mean more or less the same thing: never say never. And as it happens, I fell in love with someone that lives in a different country (in a different continent according to his high school textbooks). Furthermore, we had only been going out for a couple of months before the long-distance part began.
Of course, when it all started, there was a tentative expiration date for the distance. However, as they would also say in Venezuela, we plan and God laughs. As the time we would spend apart did nothing but grow, things actually were a lot easier than expected. And I have to thank technology for a lot of that.
Thanks to the wonders of WhatsApp, we can talk every night as if he was simply calling from the neighbor’s house. We can share fun things on Instagram, and plan trips with YouTube videos. Booking a flight has never been easier than with Google Flights and Skyscanner. We even have date nights thanks to video calls. We share recipes, the news, and Reddit is a constant source of laughter.
Although we can’t hug each other, go out dancing or have a drink on a Friday night, we can communicate seamlessly. We are able to keep the other updated on anything and everything that goes through our minds if we want to.
I wonder if people felt the same way when they were simply using the regular mail. Instead of the instant gratification of a WhatsApp call, they would wait for weeks for a lovingly-written letter. My boyfriend and I think that given our personalities, this would have never worked for us. Ironically enough, he was also one of those that never saw himself doing long-distance. And yet here we are, sharing our days and our hobbies online, and it almost feels as if I’m there, and he’s here.
I wonder if technology in the future will allow for these experiences to be even more similar to the real thing. Would I be able to get a robot that looks like him? How creepy would that be? Maybe we could do some sort of virtual reality in which it would actually feel as if we were together.
In every sense of the word.
As our world becomes more and more volatile, borders tend to strengthen. Although we have economic globalization, there are some countries that look to distance themselves from their neighbors. Shining beacons on the hill like the United States and the United Kingdom want unity only within themselves.
Will this be the solution for future couples separated by arbitrary borders? To rely on technology?
Therefore, arbitrary visas are required, which have selection processes that continue to baffle me. Is technology the answer? Is keeping in touch by electronic means a rebellion against the establishment?
For me, it’s simply the way to keep the person I love in my life. And I’m eternally grateful to the creators of all these chat apps and social media options. I thank everyone involved with the invention of the internet and the modernization of cell phones. I know you didn’t do it for me, but the happiness your creativity and intelligence have brought me is unmeasurable.
So thanks to the computer geniuses that have made my life easier, we feel like our love has a chance. Even with the unexpected and painful prolongation of our time apart, we can be in each other’s lives. Every day, through any positive or negative event. I might not feel his reassuring touch, but I always keep with me his assertive words. I feel like I’m part of his life without having to be physically present.
And yes, sometimes he cooks amazing things that I want to taste, or I’ll visit an awesome place that I would love for him to see in person. But for now, I’ll keep thanking the camera techs that have allowed me to show him my world through my eyes… and the lens of my camera phone.