LDR Amongst The Crisis

The Venice Grand Canal Mall in Taguig, Philippines
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venice_Grand_Canal,_Taguig

When I met Freeman for the first time it was like meeting an old friend again. We met outside of South Mall in Las Pinas. That is located in the Philippines. Being in an LDR (long-distance relationship) can be and often difficult to maneuver. Especially, when you each live in a different country and time zone. Even though our time together was brief in our eyes. We had exactly 4 weeks to get to know each other. If it wasn’t for COVID19; it would have been much longer. However, we feel blessed to have had this time to get to know each other. It’s not that way for most LDR’s from what I have read or heard about. Either way, there are many factors to take into consideration. First, and foremost for myself is the love part. For me, that was almost instantly as after our second meeting. I knew I wanted to be with Freeman. Fortunately, he felt the saw way about me. Hands down there is love between us. I sit here typing this out and I get energized just thinking about him. The great times we spent together getting to know each other and talking about our goals in life.

Now that I am back in the US, we continue to chat twice a day. We even video chat daily, as there is no replacement for actually seeing their face.

Now after you establish if there is a spark or a deep-rooted interest between both parties. I am not talking about money or something tangible; as we all have seen those reality tv shows. I am talking about something real. If you are only in it for the money; then you will never be happy; truly happy. Once we had a few weeks of spending time together. I started to ask myself these questions. For me, they came up “YES” every time. Is he someone that I could see myself living with? What do I have in common with him? Do we share a common goal in life? Am I willing to relocate if necessary? The list goes on and on and on. These are the ones that kept circling in my head. I think that is up to the unique situation of the circumstances surrounding the LDR.

I must say with regret that it was my first one, and being new at the whole long-distance thing. I was just as much fault as the other person for it not working out.

Now that I am back in the US, we continue to chat twice a day. We even video chat daily, as there is no replacement for actually seeing their face. To bring you both closer together; as you are both apart from one another. I will tell you from past experiences, staying in contact daily and making each other a priority; is the key to making an LDR work. That is if you truly want that person in your life long term. Personally, this would be no different if you were already living together. You wouldn’t ignore them or talk to them for days or weeks. Then expect the relationship to flourish and grow. So why would you treat an LDR any differently? This is where the true test lies. When you are separated and how you both work to keeping what you had together alive. No lie it does take work, just like a marriage or relationship. Yes, it does take moving things around so it all fits comfortably.

Right now for me, the time zone thing is the only one thing that is the trickiest.

This will avoid any disconnect or distancing the other party may be feeling. Again, I will say it-communication is so important. Even more so with an LDR and keeping it on course for the long haul. The way I see it; is when you ignore or unresponsive to their communications. Even your prearranged chat/video set times. Personally, this is a sure way that you will quickly distance yourself from the other person. They may also feel that you’re not taking the LDR seriously or losing interest in them as well. I do speak from experience, as I had a prior LDR. I must say with regret that it was my first one, and being new at the whole long-distance thing. I was just as much fault as the other person for it not working out. However, I will say that it gave me a great deal of perspective on how to truly manage and maintain an LDR going forward. Yes, I will admit that I made mistakes. We both did when it came to setting up a schedule, expectations, or even communication on a daily bases.

We are doing our best to move forward and making sure of one thing during this separation. That is showing our love for each other on a daily bases.

Right now for me, the time zone thing is the only one thing that is the trickiest. Since Freeman is still in the Philippines waiting to get back to Africa. We only have a small window in the morning to talk before I go to work. I know once he gets back to Africa; the time will work a lot easier with our scheduling. The upside right now is, I have more time to talk with him in the evenings. With Freeman; we always communicate with each other about everything. This is very imported too when retaining an LDR. I love the fact that we always start and end the day with each other. We share details about our day and make each other laugh. Just like if we were already living together; he would share his day with me as I do with him. Of course with the current crisis and lockdowns or quarantine. There is not a whole lot to share in that area of our lives. We let each other know what is going on in our lives from the mundane to the more interesting things. This works for us, and everyone needs to establish some type of schedule for communication.  

We may be separated by an ocean. But we are closer than ever before.

Even though we were expecting to have more time together before my return date. With the COVID19 pandemic, and change of plans for later this year. I can tell you that it has made us stronger as a couple. We have made plans for the future and meeting up after the Crisis is over. We are doing our best to move forward and making sure of one thing during this separation. That is showing our love for each other on a daily bases. We may be separated by an ocean. But we are closer than ever before. All I can say to you; if you are looking or pursuing an LDR for yourself. Do what I did, and take that first step. Just make sure you’re being honest with yourself. What is it you need for this to work for you? Have those hard conversations with your future partner. To make sure their head and heart are in the same place as you. Are they interested in aking a possible LDR seriously? I will leave you with this. Whatever you decide to do. Make sure that you set clear and precise expectations. Have a clear timeline set and most of all. Just be realistic in your expectations; make sure that you are not living off of the fantasy of an LDR. But, something solid you can bank on when you are working to close the distance between the two of you.

Catching Up-Where Is Morgan?

I know that you are all wondering what happened, since my last post in February. Where should I start? Well, it all started out great, as I was headed back to Manila, to meet my new hire class. I was looking forward to meeting someone of interest-after several weeks of online conversations. On top of that, there was the warmer weather I was looking forward to. I was feeling really good about myself; and the direction of my life. Everything was looking great! I packed light this time. Ok, a little lighter-ish and yes I still need to learn to pack lighter.

At this time it was still fairly new, and most of the world had not felt its gravity.

Silly I decided to pack my Samsung tablet to do my personal work on; instead of dragging along my laptop. You see my laptop is 17 inches; I already had a laptop that I had to carry for work. I got to the hotel where we were staying. Where a few days later I opened it to begin to write. Then I realized this was a bad choice. I tried not to let it bother me since there was so much more to worry about in the new world of COVID-19. At this time it was still fairly new, and most of the world had not felt its weight. I put my focus on my work, getting to know my new class of trainees. There was so much to do, in the way of work. I was consumed with plenty of distractions. I did often think of wanting to blog about whatever was on my mind at the moment. However, these thoughts left as quickly as they came.

A few weeks into my stay in the Philippines, there were more outbreaks of the COVID-19 in more countries and even in the Philippines. I did not realize this at the time. The people in the Philippines were not as panicky or acting all crazy like they were in the states. I felt very at ease and somewhat safe where I was. Yes, they did a thermal scan of your body temperature wherever you went. Even some stores required you to sanitize your hands prior to entry. But it was done in a way that it was not frightening or scary. Well at least for myself, and I can only speak for myself. So basically it was life as normal; with the one observation of this overwhelming feeling that a change was on its way. Can’t quite explain it, perhaps it was in the way people were acting, or their expressions. It even could have been me and internalizing too much as usual. Whatever it was, there was a change that came a few weeks later, that was for sure.

I found myself constantly thinking of things that I did not have control over.

Amongst all of this I had met this man that I was quite interested in. I suppose this was the distraction that I needed from all of what was about to happen around me. I just didn’t know it, that my time with him would be cut short by an unseen killer in the world. Even now the thought of him makes me feel like I have butterflies in my stomach. As if I am trying to catch my breath. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. This warrants a whole blog of its own. So this basically brings us up to my final 72 plus hours in Manila. Not much into a better part of my workday; Thursday the 12th of March. We were all pulled into a meeting. Well, this was it, the day the shit hit the fan as they say. We were planning our quick evacuation out of the Philippines; prior to a border shutdown. I was not able to leave until Saturday evening. So I spent the last 2 days in my hotel room packing and wondering what was happening and coming to terms that this is quickly becoming the new norm globally. I can honestly tell you that packing was so difficult when your mind is so focused on what was happening in the world. I found myself constantly thinking of things that I did not have control over. I tried to distract myself with packing, reaching out to friends and family. Even this was not enough to keep my mind from thinking about the Coronavirus pandemic.

Now I am home in the states. I can tell you that the fear is very real for me, even though it pains me to say it. I always thought of me as a strong individual that could stand up to anything that was thrown my way. However, I don’t think that this is what any of us thought 2020 would start like. Even to this day, I find myself spending all my time in the house; like I’m on house arrest with an ankle bracelet. I find myself staying indoors more and more. I have only been out of the house twice for food and to get some fresh air. I will have to spend some time outside; not only for the warmer weather coming our way. But also for the simple fact that it’s so important to get fresh air, like and natural vitamin D.

So how are all of you surviving the COVID-19 and what are you doing to keeping the sanity? 

I am a social person and now how hard this is on me. I can only imagine how hard it must be for kids. They are so much more social and I hear from friends. Their kids are going crazy with staying home; not being able to visit with their friends or going out. 

 Whatever you’re doing or how your devising ways to cope with this recent upset. Of what we thought of as the norm in the world. I hope that you are all staying safe, and healthy. May we all come out of this a kinder world.

In-Between Traveler

When you only have 6 weeks before you whisk off to another work assignment. Well, it’s that time again to get packing and off to a beautiful island for work. I love my job and the many great opportunities that come my way. I work with a great bunch of people from many different locations. I wanted to send this out before I take off again to the Philippines for another 2 months. I find it difficult to focus on my home life and things that need to be done around the house or in my “permanent home”. When I know that in just under 35 hours I will be taking off to a faraway place. I have only been home for 6 weeks, since my last “tour” of work duty.

Not sure how many of you out there handle this or even if you have a routine down; if you travel a lot for your job. I don’t travel constantly for work. However, it feels that way lately with back to back travel assignments. Don’t get me wrong as I love what I do and meeting new people. As well as the great experiences you have, it just leaves an everlasting mark on you. Even though I have been there before this trip. I can’t help but feel excited as if it was my first time. I contribute this to my love for flying. Some would think I was crazy, but I do love it! I do not mind the lines, customs, or even standing at the check-in counter. Just to be told your flight was canceled or delayed. I just look at it as an opportunity to exercise my ability to be flexible. As well as accept what happens and move on, since not everything can be controlled.

Have any of you that traveled a lot, ever think that. I can pack less since I have been down this road before. Just to realize that you cannot pack less? I literally pack and in my mind, I feel that I packed less, but in reality, I have not. I may pack fewer pants, shoes or other non-essential items. To find out that I packed more of another item, due to the extra room. It’s like in my mind I see it as a challenge to pack in full. When I was packing I had a clear agenda of what I wanted to pack and less of it of course. Why do I feel like I actually packed the same amount? I realize that I pack for the “what if” moments; instead of what is actually going to happen day-to-day. I will be taking more stuff out of my luggage before I depart on Thursday morning. I keep telling myself, “leave room for souvenir’s”.

There are lots of blogs and websites on how to pack light. I find most of them don’t address the extended work travels. I wish I could get away with shorts and t-shirts all the time. Who am I kidding, I would still pack a dress and heels. Well, not sure what value this will have. But if you have any tips or recommendations. I would love to hear them.

I will see you at the boarding ramp. 🙂

Mindset Of A Traveler

As I walk into my home for the first time in over two months. It is almost like walking into a stranger’s home. When you are away for any length of time-regardless the reason. There is always something unsettling. An adjustment to getting back to your “normal” routine. I know that this is to be expected when you travel across time zones, layovers, and even with the flight itself. I have looked up ways to combat post-travel and getting back into the swing of things once you are back home.

“Have you ever had a vivid/real-like dream, that you woke up from? During that haze of waking up and feeling as if that dream was real.”

A lot of what these sites tell you is pretty much common sense and what most of us do anyway. Like drinking lots of water, take a day to unwind. None of these sites explain nor acknowledge the fact that you are having these wonderful experiences, or even experiencing different cultures. In some cases, a sensory overload when it’s an extended trip. This within itself is not only emotionally draining. It is a culture shock to your system when you return to your home.

I experienced this when I was traveling to India for work; as well as to the Philippines. I have thought about this a lot and this is my theory; well how it is for myself. When I travel to these beautiful places. I put a lot of energy, thought, and much of myself into my work while there. I settle into my new role while in these different places. I find it easy to get into a day-day routine/ much like the locals. I do my best to embrace their culture, experience what I can while there. My point that I am trying to make, is when I return home. It is like being ripped out of what has become my life and back into reality. Meaning I am back home to making another change to fit my home life and culture. I think of it like this. Have you ever had a vivid/real-like dream, that you woke up from? During that haze of waking up and feeling as if that dream was real. As you wake up, your frantically trying to make sense of that dream; as you are becoming aware of your surroundings. Out of that groggy sleep you just emerged from. That is what it is like for you.

“I do my best not to waste one minute, as life is too short to have regrets, or even have those “I wish I had…” moments.”

Don’t get me wrong; I do not regret any of these opportunities that I have been given. Quite opposite, as it is a chance to encounter something new and exciting. Even if it is a work trip, there is always something new to learn or experience. I never say no to opportunities. We just never know what will happen or the outcome of those opportunities. I take that with great pride, respect, and so blessed that they are available to me. I do my best not to waste one minute, as life is too short to have regrets, or even have those “I wish I had…” moments.

A few things I personally try to do pre and post traveling anywhere:

  1. Write a packing list of items needed for the trip.
  2. Have all required documents during the trip (2 copies are great just in case you lose one of them)
  3. Get plenty of rest before heading off to the airport.
  4. Travel with lots of patience, kindness, and respect for others.
  5. Always be grateful to the airline staff, hotel staff, and your drivers.
  6. Being in the moment over trying to capturing it. 
  7. Try to stick with your personal “health” routine while traveling when possible.
  8. Don’t over eat-this one is hard as we always want to sample everything new that comes our way.
  9. Understanding different cultures and respecting them as you make the adjustment. This is a big one as we are a visitor-so we need to make the adjustment, not them.
  10. Taking time for yourself once you return home-taking that day or two will make a difference.

I know that this is pretty basic, and there are so many other things that I do for pre and post traveling. I can tell you that when you get older, you don’t bounce back like you use to. I am good with that as I know my body and do my best to listen to what it tells me. I am young at heart and have no problem embracing life to the fullest.

Here’s to all of those single mature women out there- never look back and happy travels.