Lasting

2017-01-17

monika-jia-rui-123

In my naïvety, I tend to think that everything will be fine once my love and I are reunited. During lonely moments I long for the comfort he gives me, missing the boundless intimacy we share. His love and hugs protect me from the occasional wave of darkness that sweeps over me.

Then we’re finally together – and out of the blue, problems kick in.

New Year’s Eve almost ends in a disaster. We spend the evening in the apartment of an acquaintance in Lucerne, a friend of my flatmate’s. We’re a group of thirteen – some are friends dear to my heart, but the majority are strangers. Upon introducing each other, I quickly get the feeling that we’re not on the same wavelength.

∙•∙

I know I’m spoilt. I got used to be around people that are very attentive and mindful. Thoughtful souls who cook vegan meals when I’m invited and speak English instead of German or Swiss German when my love is present. I have no idea how I can be so lucky, but I guess some blessing after my horrible exchange year is only fair.

Unfortunately, most people aren’t that considerate. It’s unrealistic to expect that. When you’re different, you have to adapt to the norm, not vice versa. It sucks, but that’s life, and we have to deal with it.

∙•∙

So here we are, at this party full of people who aren’t willing to speak in a foreign language so my love would be able to participate in the conversation as well. I don’t judge them, I get it: it’s uncomfortable to speak in a language you’re not fluent in. It’s troublesome and people often feel embarrassed. But on the other hand, my love’s mood understandably sinks – and mine with his.

I stay with him. We’re not part of the group, sitting isolated in a corner. I miss the warm comfort of our Thursday group that brings out the lighthearted and bubbly side of me. The dynamics here is entirely different.

As if wasn’t bad enough, my love knows exactly what’s going in my mind: You wished you could join the others, right? Yes. Yes, I wished I could roam around the room and get involved in conversations. I can hardly deny that I feel drawn to the laughter and banter, but I emphasise that it means much more to me that he’s here with me. It really does.

(The next day he’d tell me “I felt horrible. I thought you wished I wasn’t here so you wouldn’t have a burden to deal with” and my heart almost breaks. Never. Maybe I’d have had more fun without him that night, only responsible for my own well-being. But I’d never ever want him to be away when we have the rare chance to be together.)

I rummage through my mind, desperately trying to think of a way to solve the situation. I offer him to leave and for a moment it looks as if he’d say yes. He looks tempted and I kinda hope he’d give in. He’s not the only one who wants to get out of this distressing mess.

But he declines bravely, unwilling to run away from a difficult situation. We stay, and eventually, it gets better.

C, one of the very thoughtful and kind people who I was blessed to meet in the last months, talks to my love for a while; seeing them together makes me very happy. Later, C’s girlfriend joins us. She struggles a bit with English because she hasn’t spoken it for ages, but tries her best nonetheless. Her effort is much appreciated.

∙•∙

Later that night my eyes wander through the room, observing the people around us. The girl I envied because she had (probably fleeting) male company while I was feeling horribly lonely is alone tonight. On the sofa next to us lie two drunk singles, having found someone who gives them attention for the night. We’re not the only couple, but looking at the others, I’m reminded of the cold and unloving relationship I had with my ex (though I don’t want to judge – just because they don’t seem loving doesn’t mean that they aren’t. I don’t know them).

My heart swells with gratitude. I realise that what my love and I have is lasting and precious. He might not always be here when I’m feeling lonely and at times, language barriers and introversion make social situations together rather stressful than fun. But we have us and make each other happy. And that is what counts.

Afterwards – his first night in my beloved new home. 01/01/17 4:28am

21 Comments
      1. Thank you, Josh! :) Yes, that’s why I try to be as kind and thoughtful as possible. You never know how much it’s needed.

    1. we live in a bilingual family, English, Russian and sometimes Finnish, .. sometimes the best times together are a bottle of champagne, and not much conversation xx

      1. wow – English, Russian and Finnish is an interesting mixture :o alcohol definitely helps at times :D

      1. I’m glad to hear from you again! <3 how were your days with your love? and which are the 'conflicting' languages in your case?

        1. Nice that we can chat like this! :) They were short but amazing and worth everything and every minute apart <3 Well he speaks Flemish and English, so we converse in English but some of his family and friends struggle with talking in English all the time when I was around so I was very quiet for a lot of those moments. But at least it gave me opportunity to observe :)

          1. Yes, I enjoy talking to you! :) And I’ve just noticed we have very similar hair at the moment haha
            I hope you had a smooth journey back and had lovely first days in Australia!
            Ugh I can relate to it as well, I’m introverted and my Spanish isn’t supersuper fluent so I don’t dare to say anything when his cousins have their loud, chaotic conversations. Hopefully we’ll learn it someday so we have a more active part in these conversations :)

            1. Yep, blue hair all the way :p It’s been busy, being back at work pretty much straight away, but it’s a good thing. Ah yes, I’m sure you’ll get there, takes time to integrate into all family conversations :) I love learning languages so I am enjoying trying to learn dutch at the moment!

    1. I am an American who lived in Switzerland for 8 years. That time there has stayed with me, and I have even been fortunate enough to teach private German lessons to American adults.

      1. I’m glad you had an amazing time in Switzerland, it’s definitely a lovely country to live in :) and awesome that you can teach German! :) thanks for your comment and take care :)

    1. I guess there will always be days (or nights) like that. You just have to make the most of it or do your own thing to enjoy. I do have a question as I’m just curious. Didn’t your friends talk to you?

      1. That’s a valid question :D they did, partly, but they had many other friends there as well with whom they could speak their language and the atmosphere where we were wasn’t very appealing, so I understand why they didn’t want to sit with us all the time. But we’ve met those friends a couple of times since then, without the strangers, and it was lovely :) hope you’re doing well, thanks for your comment xx

    1. Communication barriers can be pretty tricky. I can’t claim to have exactly experienced linguistic barriers of the sort you describe here, but the feeling of inadvertently being excluded is something I can relate to. That said, I’m glad the two of you were able to find comfort and happiness in each other at the end :)

    1. That sucks, I feel the same way yout boyfriend felt that night every time my boyfriend invites me to hang out with his friends. I’ve actually never told this to anyone (not even him), but I suspect he knows it. It’s very awkward and it does make you feel like you’re a burden, but that’s how long-distance relationships are, especially when you come from different countries and cultures. It’s just something we have to learn how to deal with.

    1. I love the photography. You are a beautiful woman MashaAllah (as they say in my religion to a person of precious beauty and courage). I found your words full of courage… God bless you and your partner. Wonderful writer and photographer.

      1. Thank you so much for your wonderful words, Jia! They mean a lot to me. You have a very kind heart, take care! <3

        1. Thanks for your words as well. :) Stay blessed and you are welcome <3

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