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The Aftermath

I have been consistently dreading writing this for public consumption as I am certain if the Kpop stans get ahold of this I'll get videos of Twice dancing along with death threats. I will preface this by saying that if you feel the urge to fight or debate, fight or debate your mother. This is not an open forum. I am not free of the consequences of my words, but I am eternally free to ignore you.

That being said, Korea is the worst place I have ever traveled. As I have likely told many of you who have asked me in person, I would suggest going if you're white, if you're obsessed with the culture and its exports, or if you're going for 2 weeks or less.  Everyone else has been warned. I landed back in the United States on Sunday, June 30th, 2019, and approximately 206 days later, I am ready to talk about my 1 year in Korea.

The Flight Back So, I almost died. I'm starting here because this isn't really Korea's fault so much as my exhaustion because of Korea. So…

How To: Maintain Your Relationships With A Time Difference

   Did this post wet your whistle? Check out the last one here. You can check out the "Ultimate List of Resources" here.

   As I write this, my very best friend is in Beirut, Lebanon on what has become a life-changing trip for them. When they were in the states our typical week-to-week friend schedule includes being in contact all day every day, spending 4-5 days a week drinking and eating dominos together, and complaining about how the new Starbucks barista doesn't know how to make a white chocolate mocha the right way. As expected, though, the time difference, as well as their... enjoying themselves, has made this routine impossible. They are still my best friend, but our relationship has had to adjust. Here, is how I've learned to maintain my friendship with time differences. Be sure to check out the Resources section at the bottom of this article.

Adjust Your Expectations

I think the first really important thing to do is to make your expectations more realistic for your time difference and your friend's life. It is unrealistic and more important unfair to expect the same level of interaction when you, or your friend, are away from each other. You can, however, maintain the intimacy and bond that keeps you close friends.

Use Voice Features

So my friend and I use WhatsApp, probably one of the best all-in-one apps for maintaining relationships from anywhere. For a while, we exclusively used the text and video call features, but one day when they were particularly busy, they sent me a voice recording and ooouuu we never ever went back. Now we communicate like three or four times a day via voice message and not only do I feel closer to them than I did when we were simply messaging back and forth, but it's also helped make me feel more comfortable. Partly because I'm not actually looking at someone, I feel less of the pressures to um... not cry for instance (the very first time my best friend heard me cry was over a voice recording and that's sad). It's like the comfort of trolling behind a computer screen but instead of being an awful coward I can instead fully expose my authentic self to someone who I love.





It Really is The Little Things

Do you know that notes app on your phone (the one you use for rants about exes and poems and checklists)? Yeah, use that for something good why don't you? Consider using your notes app to write down your little victories and pitfalls throughout the day. When someone develops a really meaningful relationship with you, they care about these things. Nothing is too small or too big to be celebrated or talked about and sharing these things with the ones you love most is super important to the maintenance of your relationship's intimacy. Write down that you had something really weird for lunch, your boss was extra hard on you, etc. It may seem really small and insignificant to you, but if you would normally talk about how weird your left toe's been looking ever since that scab healed, talk about it still. What's a little distance between people who love each other?

You Have A Life, Don't You?

Remember those things that set your heart on fire? Get back to those! Now is the time to really focus on your hobbies, your studying, and your worldliness. It's a great time to just sit back and enjoy being yourself. Look up some free things to do in your city. Learn that language, call up that friend or family member that you haven't talked to in six months. Especially for those using this guide for their serious partners, using this time to re-realize yourself as an individual and nurturing yourself is super useful. Before you belonged to anyone else you belonged to yourself, so you have to build up that relationship too. Do some of the things you've always wanted to do and have some new experiences. Don't let the lack of your loved one physically where you are put your life on hold. 

Don't Be Selfish

Your feelings should always be a priority in all of your relationships, but you also have to consider that your friend abroad is likely having some really novel, possibly life-altering experiences in their new country. While it is super important to continue sharing your life and fun with your person, it is just as important to ask them about the new and fun things they're experiencing. How does the culture affect the way they are able to navigate their new environment? Have they learned any new languages or eaten any new cuisine? What do they think about people where you're from? Asking them to elaborate on their new experiences really gives you a picture of what they are experiencing in their new day-to-day life making the distance less and less as time goes on. 




You can do this! You wouldn't be reading this if you didn't care about this person enough to do a lot in order to keep your relationship healthy while they're away. Don't worry, they'll be back soon or you'll go and visit them and if you're meant to be in each other's lives, you will be. Just remember to tell them you love them whenever you get the chance.

Good Luck
Myaia
*Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with any of the companies mentioned in the article unless explicitly stated. All of the opinions stated here are my own. I just want y'all to be happy, that's it. 

Resources

Technology

Whats App (Android/iPhone)
Kakao Talk (Android/iPhone)

 Websites


Thumbnail Photo by Kyle Loftus on Unsplash

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