Skip to the end if you don't care about relationship blogs but would like to help a TLer Thanks!
My girlfriend has lived on the other side of the planet for more than a year.
I met Sunny while at college. She's a Korean national who was at Auburn to finish her Master's degree, I was an undergrad engineering student with two tickets to the football game that weekend and a little too much liquid courage. Somehow, I managed to avoid offending her too badly, and we hit it off. Within two weeks of meeting, we were dating. By the end of the year, she had had Thanksgiving with my family, and in January we took a trip together to New York for a week before she had to return to Korea, with no set date of return.
I think most people who knew me expected that would be the end. Certainly my family did. But we stayed in touch, with Kakao and Skype. We were busy - her with PhD preparations, and me with job searching after withdrawing from school - but we leaned on each other. Eventually I managed to straighten my life out, due in big part to her love and support, and we grew closer. Sunny applied to a bunch of PhD programs in the USA, and in January, flew to Penn State University for an interview.
Well, there was no way I was going to miss the first opportunity in a year to spend time with my girlfriend! She would be interviewing until late friday night, but we could spend the weekend in Penn State - not the most idyllic location, but location wasn't something I really cared about. Then her professor did her a huge favor - and ruined everything.
Sunny's professor purchased her plane ticket. While obviously this was a huge financial boon, she had a return flight from Penn State at 6:30AM Saturday morning. I flew in at 11:00 PM Friday night. This meant that, rather than the weekend together, we would have 7 hours and 30 minutes. Seven hours and thirty minutes is not a lot of time, so we were trying to scrape every additional minute we could. I got the seat next to her on her flight from Penn State to Detroit, so now we could be together from 11:00PM to 10AM, but that was all I could do. Still, we were thrilled! And more than a little nervous. But for the first time in more than a year, we were going to see each other face to face.
Or at least that was the plan.
On Friday, I left work at 3:30, to go to the airport and catch my 6:30 flight. I decided to take the 1 hour train in so as to avoid the Friday afternoon traffic that was already starting to form. I just missed the train when I got to the station, no worries as one runs every 10 minutes.... right? 45 minutes and a minor nervous breakdown later, a train finally pulls into the station, and we are told that a train broke down on the tracks and delayed everything. So, I'm still ok, I get to the airport, no checked bags, and get on my flight to Detroit. Supposed to land at 8:50 in detroit, leave detroit at 9:30 and make it to Penn State 11. Its a shorter connection window than I realized, and that realization came about the same time that the pilot announced that we would be sitting on the runway for 30 minutes.
No, I mean literally - panic. I'm having a panic attack, which has never happened to me before. I'm trying to control myself until we get off the ground, because otherwise we'll be delayed even longer and I'll completely miss Sunny. When the seatbelt light turns off, I'm up and pacing down the aisle of the plane, making everyone nervous. One flight attendant comes to ask me to sit down, I break down and explain the whole situation to her. Thankfully, she understands - calms me down, talks to the pilot, and passes along that we just throttled up and should make up the lost time in the air. In hindsight, this was probably just said to make me calm down, but it worked, and we actually did make up all the time. Now all I had to do was get from gate A74 to C33 in 10 minutes...
So I'm sprinting through an airport. Not ideal, especially when there's a decent chance you were reported to the TSA for acting like a terrorist on your previous flight. I'm dodging people and jumping over suitcases, sliding down stair railings - totally on autopilot, if I'd stopped to think about what I was doing I would have slammed into someone/thing. I make it to the gate at 9:10, gasping for air - to be told that because the plane is so small, they only start boarding 10 minutes prior to takeoff - 10 minutes to go. A drink at the bar to calm down, and get on the plane.
I land in Penn State, and she's there waiting for me. All the prior anxiety disappears. It just feels right. We spent the rest of the night and the next morning on a ridiculous adventure, ranging from gay japanese pornography (which interests neither of us) to a McDonald's basement (at 3am... creepy) to fighting security guards (and almost missing the flight home), in that order, but we were happy. And that's when I knew that no matter what happened, no matter what distance for how long, we would be ok.
But I need your help!
In a few days, it will be White Day in Korea. For those of you unaware, over there, March 14 is when guys return the favors they recieved on Valentines day. I have been trying to order flowers for Sunny for over two weeks, and have been met with declined bank cards, international scams, and even (accidentally) attempting to break international law. If someone in Korea (or with an international credit card - I can't get one quickly enough) could assist me in ordering flowers for her, not only will I reimburse you via Paypal, but in addition I will send to you any T-Shirt from the TL store (or additional paypal of the cash value). Help me, TL, you're my only hope! Send me a PM if you're willing.
Me and Sunny in Penn State