Challenging my thinking

The moment the plane landed I turned off airplane mode and saw that he had messaged me. For every second of that three hour plane ride I was thinking and writing about him and us and our time together.

When I arrived at my airport hotel I called him. Seeing his face and hearing his voice soothed me. I didn’t realise I would feel like that. The call was short as he was visiting family but it was clear that we were both missing each other.

As promised, he called me later when he got home. He was different then, quieter. I know he was tired: we had ‘slept’ in the same bed the night before and we had been up early. He’s always quiet when he’s tired. But I also felt like there was something on his mind. If there was, he wouldn’t tell me no matter how much I asked.

He asked me to send all the photos and videos of my visit to him. He also asked me to send my writing.

A few days ago, he had come into the room to find me on my phone. He asked what I was doing and I had told him I was writing.

“Writing what?”

I told him that I was writing about my thinking.

“Have you always done that? From being a girl or just now?”

I explained that I have always written journals but that now I write on my phone. Telling him that I was writing about him probably wasn’t the best idea but he’s not stupid. What else would I be writing about?

“I want to see.”

Excuses can only last so long. Last night he wanted to see, so I showed him.

It was actually a letter to him, one that I never intended to send, but I’ve found an unsent letter is a good way of processing what you need to say to someone.

It contained how much I loved him, how happy he had made me, how grateful I was for the care and attention he had given me this week.

But it also expressed some of my fears and confusion: what did his parents know/think about us? What were we now? Why did he want me? How sacred I was of losing him, of him finding someone better.

He went through the letter and answered some of my questions. He said that he had told his parents that I was visiting because we may have a serious relationship and that I was coming alone so it was safer if I stayed with him. I hadn’t realised that he had actually verbalised the seriousness of us but I should have done. He’s told me enough times about his culture. I said to him that he hadn’t told me what he’d said to his parents. He reminded me that I hadn’t asked.

The rest of my ‘questions/concerns’ frustrated him a little. One of the things I really love about him, is the way he challenges what I think. Instead of just saying it, he makes me think about it myself and find my own answer:

“so, why do you want me?”

“Why are you asking me that – the letter is about how you feel, not me?”

“Just answer the question. Why do you want me?”

“Because I love you.”

“Good. Why do you love me?”

It doesn’t matter that I’m frowning at him now, and complain that he already knows, it was in my letter. I have to answer:

“I love you because you make me happy. You care for me, and look after me and make me laugh and make me feel important. You’re a good man.”

“OK, so why do you think I want you?”

Sheepishly. “Because you love me.”

“Because I love you. So why are you asking this question… ‘I don’t know why he wants me?'” He pauses. “And how do you know I love you?”

Even more sheepishly: “Because you care for me and look after me and want me to be happy.”

“Good. So where is the problem?”

“There isn’t one.”

He tells me that he is not frightened about losing me because he has done nothing wrong for me to want to leave. He is being the best he can be, so why would he lose me? Only if he does something wrong will he worry about that. And if I find someone else? That is my choice and there is nothing he can do about that. All he can do is care for me and love me and be the best he can be.

I sit there, looking at him, listening to him, and I feel so stupid. Stupid for worrying and over thinking. I tell him that the letter was never meant for him to see, that it was just my thinking. But he says he doesn’t understand why I think that way. Did he not show me he cared and loved me this week? Actions speaking louder than words, perhaps.

I can’t help it at this point, I start to cry. I cry because at that moment, I need his hugs and his kisses more than ever. I cry because I am stupid and my fears and insecurities are going to chase him away. I cry because I love him and miss him and am so lucky he found me.

He tells me not to cry, that he doesn’t like it when I cry…why am I crying?

When I tell him it is because I miss him, because I’ve been lying on this hotel bed expecting him to walk through the door, just like he did at his home.

He tells me not to cry. We will be together one day. And that he told me it will be hard and that I need to be strong.

The call ends with us telling each other that we love each other and by sending kisses over the phone, just like we have done for four months now.

I love those kisses. But I love the real ones even more.

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Day six and seven

I’m now sat on the plane, flying away from him and one of the best weeks I have had.

Yesterday morning I waited for his arrival with some anxiety. I hadn’t slept well, trying to process everything. I know we needed to talk but I wasn’t sure when that would happen.

Day six was going to be spent in Wild Card’s home. I was perfectly happy with that. I was very aware of the amount of driving and money he had spent on me and that he was still unwell. For my last day, the thought of lying in bed with him, just being close… Laughing, making love. Well, that sounded perfect to me.

And it was perfect, apart from the tears that kept threatening to spill whenever I thought about leaving him. Pathetic, really. I kept telling myself to just enjoy him. And I did.

We did talk. He knew when he walked in I hadn’t slept and of course wouldn’t leave it til I’d told him why.

I told him I had been thinking about what he had said at the beginning of the week. He replied ‘good’. I asked him if he still felt the same now that we had spent the week together. He said he did.

So, I told him I felt the same. I want the same. He kept asking, checking. I’m not sure if he believed me. He asked if I thought we would be good together and when I said yes, he said he didn’t know. I’m not sure what that means but I get it – one week together and four months talking isn’t enough time to know for sure.

I talked about my need for security. I needed to know if this was serious or not because I don’t see the point in continuing with this unless we both have the same goal, regardless of whether we are successful or not. Don’t get me wrong, I know this can all fall apart at any moment – like any relationship. But because of the situation, the long distance, we both need to be committed to trying for a serious relationship otherwise what is the point? I told him that I was not interested in anyone else and I needed him to say the same. He again said about the fact that I was there and I had met his parents and did I really think he was with other girls?

He also warned me, again, of how difficult this would be. I realise that he knows this better than I do. I just still think it’s worth it. I just need to be 100% sure that we are on the same page.

We went for a walk after dinner and he told me he is going to miss me and he loves me. I said the same.

Last night he stayed with me and we held each other all night.

This morning was difficult as you can imagine. We had breakfast with his family and discussed my flights etc. Then it was time to go.

We talked about the future on the way to the airport. I will visit again, won’t I? Promise? Maybe I could come in the summer and bring my children and we could have a few days at a beach resort? Am I serious about him, really?

Soon I was hugging his parents goodbye, his mother telling me that we were family now and that I am always welcome. That brought, yet another, tear to my eye. I even got a hug from his Dad – no handshake this time.

It was too quick, walking into the airport; too fast that I had to leave him. He hugged me, kissed my cheek and told me to take care and that he would miss me. As I walked away, he shouted me to remind me to contact him throughout my journey.

Soon I was standing at passport control and I connected to the WiFi as I queued. Instantly he called: he was still in the carpark and was I OK? Did I want him stay a little longer? So sweet. I didn’t even realise that they had waited and a good ten minutes or more must have have passed.

Forty minutes later, after spending my unused currency on duty free, I sat down to eat the worst salad on the earth (only gluten free option) and checked my phone to see he had messaged me. Also unexpected – we had agreed that I would message as I was about to board the plane and wasn’t for another hour.

He told me he was missing me. Missing my kisses. And that he loved me. And was I OK? And then he asked for his own reassurance.. Did I love him? Did I want him? Maybe he does feel like me after all.

So now, I am on the plane writing this. I am in the clouds, literally and metaphorically. I wonder what he will be like in a few days, when we have been apart?

I am under no illusion of what I will be like.

Day five

Do you remember me telling you about the YouTube video I had watched about ‘How you know he likes you in an LDR?’ At the time, I had four out of the five. I now have all five – him taking you to places that are important to him, ie places from his past.

Day five was another fantastic day. We visited another city, about an hour away from Wild Card’s home, where he grew up and his parents lived for 30 years until they moved in recently with Wild Card.

Wow, it was a beautiful city. Whilst his parents ran errands, Wild Card showed me round, pointing out his school and college, where they used to live and places that he used to go to study.

We then drove up the mountain to see the city from up high, parking at a viewpoint balcony where we took lots of pictures.

It was here that one of the many little things happened, that just make my heart swell for him.

We had been stood with his parents, taking in the view, and Wild Card was taking our photo. It was time to go so I picked up my bag and we started to walk away. There was a shout and I turned to see a young girl, probably around eleven, speaking to me (which Wild Card translated) and pointing at my sunglasses that I had left behind on the balcony wall . As I picked them up, he walked over to her and they spoke. His body language was so… caring, I can’t think of another word for it, as he bent down to listen to her. We walked to the car and Wild Card spoke to his mother as he got in. He then rummaged in his car before calling the girl over and giving her money – a few coins, I don’t know what. As she walked away, Wild Card’s mother also called her over and gave her more. It was then that I noticed her clothing – it was clear that she was impoverished although that hadn’t been so evident on first sight. I don’t know how much they gave her, but it doesn’t matter. It’s the fact they did, it’s the fact he did.

We then drove to the major city in the area, a tourist hot-spot and where the majority of his extended family live.

As we got out the car he warned me to stay close as the area was very busy and it would be easy for me to get lost. He then proceeded to tell me what to do if we were separated which, whilst a little scary, just again showed his care and attention for me.

As did the fact that he wouldn’t let me spend any money. We had gone to the market so that I could buy presents for my children. As this was the kind of place where you barter, I wasn’t surprised when he took control to speak to the merchants but was so when he wouldn’t let me get my money out to pay, ‘later, later’. Later never came. I kept asking him how much I owed him and he kept saying, ‘I don’t know’ and then ‘It doesn’t matter’.

It does matter though. I’ve paid for nothing. He has fed me, including buying special and probably expensive foods because of my gluten allergy. The amount of driving he has done to take me to places and the fuel he must have used… The presents he and his family have now bought for me and my children… And he won’t let me pay for anything. I have told him that I want to buy his family gifts to thank them for looking after me, particularly his mother who has gone out of her way to accommodate my gluten intolerance, and he just won’t engage. In fact, he actually seems uncomfortable when I ask him what I could buy, does he have any ideas.

And then there’s meal times, Day five a prime example of his care for me. Every day he attends to my needs first, cutting the special bread his mother has baked for me, spooning food on to my plate regularly, pouring more tea as soon as my cup is empty. On this occasion though, he went a step further. His mother had made beautiful fried fish, small – perhaps sardine side. As he put some on my plate he asked if I liked them and I said yes – I enjoy fish although admittedly I don’t eat that much at home.

To my horror though, I then watched as he and his brother began to debone the fish before eating, something of which I have never done, and he told me to be careful of the bones. As soon as I started to try to do this with my own portion, it was evident to him I hadn’t done this before. He took over, pulling small mouthful of fish off the bones and putting them on to my plate. I attempted a number of times to tell him to eat himself, that I could do it now I knew how, but he wouldn’t listen and insisted on preparing my fish for me throughout the meal.

Today, day six, is my last day.

I started writing this post at 5am as once again I had woken up, this time thinking about my departure.

I don’t want to leave him.

Day four – monkeying around

Yesterday was just amazing.

The day started as usual: I wake early, roused by the sounds of a city that I’m not used to, and listen to music and write until Wild Card knocks on my door. We then cuddle and kiss and talk, sometimes watch some TV, and then go for breakfast.

After breakfast we all got ready and set off on an hour and half journey to visit a city in the mountains.

You might think that sitting in a car with four people speaking a language you don’t understand is difficult. It really isn’t. I feel perfectly comfortable. Sometimes, I try to work out what they are saying. Most of the time I just enjoy listening to the cadence of Wild Card’s voice and slying watch his emphatic gestures and facial expressions as he talks, whilst I pretend to be looking out of the window.

His family are considerate though and either apologise repeatedly for not speaking in English or periodically ask me a question to include me or point out something of interest. And then, Wild Card regularly calls my name and asks if I am OK, am I well? Am I happy?

The views were stunning as we drove though, the landscape ever changing in a way I have not seen before. It’s a beautiful country and I know he is happy when he sees how much I love it here, which I do.

We arrive at the city in the mountains, whose climate is much more like an English climate: fir trees line the streets and surround the beautiful European housing.

When we get out of the car, his family walk one way and he directs me the other, again asking if I am happy, do I like it here? And I do, more so because he has made the effort to bring me here as he knew I would love it. We walk around formal gardens, stopping to take photos and his fingers brush mine. I’m so happy.

As we head back to the town, we see his parents stood at a street stall so walk over to meet them. His mother asks me for my advice on a necklace she is about to buy… To my embarrassment in turns out to be a gift for me and is not the first for the day.

We get back into the car and head into the mountains.

“We are going to see the monkeys. Are you afraid of monkeys?”

“Are they big monkeys? No I’m not afraid.”

“You’re not afraid? We will see.”

Of course, I’m stupid and think they’re in a sanctuary or something. But they’re not, they’re loose, and scampering around us, racing up and over the trees and cars or sat eyeing us.

He takes lots of photos and videos and later we laugh passionately as he describes my fear and the way I danced around as they ran around me. He was particularly amused at my thoughts of them being in cages/enclosures. The story is repeated again at dinner and whilst I don’t understand his language, I could understand what he was telling them and laughed with them.

On the way back home we stop to look at camels and more pictures are taken. Walking back to the car he spins me round and kisses me quickly. We get fruit from the car and walk amongst the trees, eating and talking. I tell him how much I have loved the day and thank him. He tells me that he wants me to be happy. He asks if I like his family and his country. I tell him I love both.

We set off again and this time his attention is on me and he jokes and plays and we laugh for the rest of the journey home, his parents smiling at us and calling him crazy, tears running down my face.

Later, lying together, he asks me if I love him, am I serious about him? And I look into his eyes and tell him I do love him and I am serious about him:

“I want to be yours.”

“You are mine baby,” and he kisses me so gently and holds me so tightly that I never want it to end.

Day four – monkeying around

Yesterday was just amazing.

The day started as usual: I wake early, roused by the sounds of a city that I’m not used to, and listen to music and write until Wild Card knocks on my door. We then cuddle and kiss and talk, sometimes watch some TV, and then go for breakfast.

After breakfast we all got ready and set off on an hour and half journey to visit a city in the mountains.

You might think that sitting in a car with four people speaking a language you don’t understand is difficult. It really isn’t. I feel perfectly comfortable. Sometimes, I try to work out what they are saying. Most of the time I just enjoy listening to the cadence of Wild Card’s voice and slying watch his emphatic gestures and facial expressions as he talks, whilst I pretend to be looking out of the window.

His family are considerate though and either apologise repeatedly for not speaking in English or periodically ask me a question to include me or point out something of interest. And then, Wild Card regularly calls my name and asks if I am OK, am I well? Am I happy?

The views were stunning as we drove though, the landscape ever changing in a way I have not seen before. It’s a beautiful country and I know he is happy when he sees how much I love it here, which I do.

We arrive at the city in the mountains, whose climate is much more like an English climate: fir trees line the streets and surround the beautiful European housing.

When we get out of the car, his family walk one way and he directs me the other, again asking if I am happy, do I like it here? And I do, more so because he has made the effort to bring me here as he knew I would love it. We walk around formal gardens, stopping to take photos and his fingers brush mine. I’m so happy.

As we head back to the town, we see his parents stood at a street stall so walk over to meet them. His mother asks me for my advice on a necklace she is about to buy… To my embarrassment in turns out to be a gift for me and is not the first for the day.

We get back into the car and head into the mountains.

“We are going to see the monkeys. Are you afraid of monkeys?”

“Are they big monkeys? No I’m not afraid.”

“You’re not afraid? We will see.”

Of course, I’m stupid and think they’re in a sanctuary or something. But they’re not, they’re loose, and scampering around us, racing up and over the trees and cars or sat eyeing us.

He takes lots of photos and videos and later we laugh passionately as he describes my fear and the way I danced around as they ran around me. He was particularly amused at my thoughts of them being in cages/enclosures. The story is repeated again at dinner and whilst I don’t understand his language, I could understand what he was telling them and laughed with them.

On the way back home we stop to look at camels and more pictures are taken. Walking back to the car he spins me round and kisses me quickly. We get fruit from the car and walk amongst the trees, eating and talking. I tell him how much I have loved the day and thank him. He tells me that he wants me to be happy. He asks if I like his family and his country. I tell him I love both.

We set off again and this time his attention is on me and he jokes and plays and we laugh for the rest of the journey home, his parents smiling at us and calling him crazy, tears running down my face.

Later, lying together, he asks me if I love him, am I serious about him? And I look into his eyes and tell him I do love him and I am serious about him:

“I want you be yours.”

“You are mine baby,” and he kisses me so gently and holds me so tightly that I never want it to end.

Days two and three

As I lay listening to music and thinking of him, there was a knock at the door and he came in. A feeling washed over me… Butterflies and relief and comfort that he was there.

We cuddled and kissed and then it was time for breakfast.

Not that I was ever uncomfortable, but I am feeling much more relaxed now. We all sit around the table and eat and talk together. It’s lovely. 😁

After breakfast we all got in the car and Wild Card drove us to the ruins of a Roman town in the hills. The journey was beautiful, the place stunning, and I enjoyed every second of our fingers touching, him calling me princess and the impromptu dance we had in the middle of the ruins. Considering he was sick, he drove all that way because he knew I would love it there. He said he wants me to be happy.

On the way home we stopped off to see a number of things that he wanted to show me. He’s considerate and kind and lovely, just like his family.

We had an amazing dinner of grilled sardines and salad and a lentil dish of some sort. Once again, his mum had gone out of her way to manage my food intolerance with little touches just for me.

After dinner we went for a walk around the city with his brother. Here, something unexpected happened.

We were talking, Wild Card joking as he often does, and he happened to say something – in jest – which I took a little sensitively. He didn’t notice at first, but as we headed back to the house he pulled me back to question me.

“You’re angry with me? Seriously? What did I say?”

Despite my protestations, he of course wouldn’t settle until I had repeated the ‘offending’ comment which – of course – by this point didn’t sound half as bad as my overreaction.

He didn’t take it well. “You know I’m only joking with you, you know I’m always joking”. I told his to forget it, it was over etc but he wouldn’t.

When we arrived at the house, he stopped and leaned on his car. His brother, who hadn’t spoken to either of this at this point, offered me the door but I walked towards Wild Card so he went upstairs.

I stood next to him, and for a little while there was silence. He was upset and although I kept telling him to forget it, it was in the past, he just couldn’t. He kept apologising but at the same time, didn’t seem to understand why I had reacted that way. He then asked if it was because of his brother, and I admitted that was part of it. (In hindsight, I think this was a part of it. The joke was at my expense and whilst it wasn’t a horrible thing he had said, for a second it had embarrassed me in front of his brother).

We eventually went inside but it carried on. We talked about it a little more and then I went for a shower.

When I came back he just kept apologising. He said he understood his mistake now and kept asking if I forgave him. He kept kissing me and saying ‘I’m sorry’ over and over. He left for me to go to bed but then came back five minutes later and apologised again. He said he wouldn’t sleep until he knew I had forgiven him, despite the multiple times I told him it was forgotten about.

Truth is, whilst his reaction was unexpected, this sincerity and the depth of his hurt that he had upset me was so real. It of course made me feel bad as I knew he had been joking and had quickly realised that I had completely over reacted anyway. You can’t take it back with hindsight though, can you?

At the same time though, the depth of his feelings he had an opposite effect to the one he must have thought I had: it just made me love him more.

Day three.

Yesterday we had a relaxing day. We spent the whole day together watching TV, going for a walk, talking, kissing and dancing. Whilst I can’t get used to doing nothing – I certainly don’t do that often at home – I wanted every second to last for ten.

Because by the evening, I came to the realisation that half of my holiday was over. Half of my time with him was gone. And even with the knowledge that I still had half of the time still left to go, it filled me with a sadness that I was unable to hide, despite my best efforts.

Flying high – written last night

After a delay due to the onset of Storm Dennis, I am currently in the air on the last stage of my journey.

I have thoroughly enjoyed myself. I think I might actually be converted to solo travel, it is extremely empowering.

On the other hand, my happiness could also be from the fact I’ve had regular messages from Wild Card asking how I am and generally just checking in. He called me in the airport and both of our smiles were wide and all encompassing. I could see he was excited as me.

Somehow, time passed quickly in the airport even though I was there a while. I browsed, I read. It was quite relaxing.

Admittedly, the flight has not been quite as relaxing. Only because my brain no longer has to think about travel so it can think about him.

In two hours or so we will be face to face.

My goodness. It’s finally happening.

I’m going to go bright red when I see him. How can I hide that? I’ve been travelling nearly twelve hours, I bet I look a mess.

What do I call his parents? No pdas… Do I shake hands, bow my head? I can’t just stand there.

What if there is disappointment on his face when he sees me?

Will we just talk like we always do or will it be awkward?

What do I do if I wake up in the night? What do I do when I wake up in the morning?

When will we have the talk? Does he have a plan? Is he going to leave it a few days? Or straight away? How will I know if he’s just waiting or if he just doesn’t want to?

The last train

It’s cold and wet and dreary outside. Typical English weather. I’m sat on the last train, heading towards Stansted Airport.

Two things have struck me whilst siting here.

First – I am so proud of myself! I keep thinking about my breakdown and how I couldn’t even leave the house to take the kids to school. Now look at me! Whatever happens with Wild Card, this has been a journey for me metaphorically as well as literally. Saying that, the journey has been good so far… Maybe I do have a propensity to look for negatives.

The second thing was that we are taught to perceive differences where there aren’t any. As I look out of the window at the dark clouds, rain, fields – and more recently, houses and shops – and I could quite easily be up north. There’s little difference, no need for the North-South divide. And if that’s the case in my own country, where we stereotype and become prejudiced, what does it say about our perceptions of those so far away?

Train number one..

I’m on the train, on my way to London.

I actually wanted to write more last night but was so tired after the previous night’s poor sleep.

There was a real air of romance and excitement in last night’s brief contact with Wild Card. He kept sending little Valentines’ montages of us and was affectionate. And that little nervous giggle we both gave at the end. Butterflies in my stomach moment. His comments about my sisters show some of his feelings and when I tried to play along and said I didn’t like him either, he said he knows I like him because of my eyes. I told him his eyes show it too. Perhaps not as obviously and frequently as mine, mind.

This morning I text him as I was waiting for my train. I told him I was nervous and excited and he asked why. At the moment, it’s because I’m travelling alone for the first time so that’s what I told him. He was reassuring and told me not to worry. Obviously, I’m also nervous about meeting him only because of what I’ve already told you… I want him to like me, want me, and vice versa. He is saying he isn’t nervous but, who knows. I think he probably is.

I still can’t believe I’m doing this. It’s exciting. Even putting those overwhelming feelings for him and this situation to one side, I’m going on an adventure. I’m doing something with my life I never thought I would do… Looking outside the box, taking a risk, being brave. I’m travelling alone. In the depths of my depression I couldn’t even leave the house. I’ve come a long way.

The build up

Three more sleeps and I will be with him. Oh my goodness.

Tension is building, I can tell you that. We both seem to be swinging between excitement and affection to anxiety and nerves. Everything is heightened at the moment.

Following the regrettable ‘ignore me’ incident, he was a little sullen the next day and kept mentioning it. We ended up having to talk about it all over again but, you know, when he talked about the shock he felt when he had first read the message, I kind of got it. We then talked about my arrival and he willingly offered his phone number etc to my family who are worrying about me a little too.

When he got in contact on Tuesday I was actually with my sister and I enjoyed them speaking briefly. It felt more inclusive I suppose, like he was part of us, not just me. He was out  with family himself but had stepped outside to talk to me. He mentioned that it was only three full days until I arrived and when I smiled, he commented upon it. I told him I was just happy and he said that it was ‘amazing.’ I’m not sure if he meant my smiling, my happiness or the thought of my arrival. I didn’t ask.

He called again when I got home but this time his insecurities were there. He asked what my sisters thought of him and whether they thought I was crazy for liking him… before listing all their possible, and imagined, complaints. I’ve often wondered what his family think of me too. I will know soon enough I guess. The conversation ended, as usual, with laughter and love.

Today… Well. Today’s has been intense. Missed phonecalls on both sides. Neither of us seem to like that. Bit of jealousy on both sides. But then he spoke to my son, I spoke to his mother… More laughing.

If this is all playing on his mind as much as it is for me, it’s no wonder. This is an emotional roller-coaster in its truest sense. In two days this whole thing becomes very real and so it is natural for all those insecurities to worm themselves out into the open.

Truth is, neither of us know how far this will go. We’ve had nearly four months of daily conversation building up to this point but it’s only when we are face to face, spending real time with each other, that we will actually know if this is anything. And even then, who knows what the future holds?

Sometimes, just sometimes, I wonder if I can continue with this emotional tsunami for the next few months and even years. Will things change once we have met; will we both feel more secure or not? I know LDR are difficult and have their own set of unique problems. At the moment, he is worth it. I don’t like the thought of him not being there, not at all.

But that true connection can only happen, possibly-if-at-all, when we meet. In two days. This time on Saturday I will have been with him for around half an hour. Wow.