Long Distance Love

Mar 12, 2010

Caution: Sappy love stories ahead. Stop reading now if you can't handle it.

I must make a confession. When I first got this crazy dream in my mind to become a flight attendant, I didn't once stop to think about what would happen if I fell in love. The idea in itself was so far fetched, that it didn't really cross my mind. No, I wasn't battling a major self esteem issues, convinced that nobody would ever love me. Yes, I believed that love could exist and that it must be amazing for those people who got to experience it. I was the poster child for independence and single girls everywhere. Not a feminist, by any means, just a girl who enjoyed my life to the fullest and chased my dreams, rather than going on dates. I told everyone that one day I'd be a flight attendant. I didn't know how long it might take, but I'd get there. It was taking longer than I'd anticipated, so while the rest of my friends bought houses and settled down with their significant others, I bought a backpack and set off to travel the world. I spent a year trekking through Southeast Asia, Australia, and Fiji. I was perfectly content with traveling solo... discovering new places was what I loved, and no person could ever replace that... or so I thought.
I came home, ready to start my next adventure. I applied to any airline that I'd ever heard of, praying for a response. My home town felt like a trap, a place that I'd never feel happy. 3 months after returning home, I received an email inviting me to an Emirates Open Day. Emirates was one of the best airlines in the world, and flew daily to places like Paris, New York, Tokyo... places I could only dream of going. "Why not?" I thought to myself, and with encouragement from my mom and my close friend Ryan, I headed to Vancouver to try my luck. When I arrived and found 230 other hopefuls, all sporting perfect flight attendant hair and clear, beautiful skin, I wasn't expecting to make it past the first stage. Imagine my surprise when a week later I was attending my final interview, one of only 13 others who had made it to this phase of the interview process. I headed back to Alberta, waiting for news, hoping and wishing and dreaming of Dubai. The world was in the midst of an economic crisis, and the airline industry was not spared of the consequences. Emirates put all recruitment on hold, promising to contact me in 6-9 months, once they'd resumed hiring. I'd felt that all hope was lost, and considered giving up on my biggest dream. I accepted the fact that I'd likely never hear back from the airline, and began to move on with my life.
Since returning from my trip, Ryan had played a more prominent role in my social life. We'd been friends for a few years, but only grew close when we began talking online, late at night while I was in Australia. Many great conversations came out of hours spent in internet cafes across the State of Queensland. When I came home, he was the first to meet me at the airport, making me the happiest girl in the world as he handed me a Tim Horton's iced cappuccino... a craving that I'd had the entire duration of my stay in Australia. We began spending a great deal of our time together, and he soon became one of my closest friends. It took 8 months, but with his true romantic ways and incredible charm, he became my boyfriend. Me? Single, independent Krysta? In a relationship? Things don't always work out the way that you think they will. Sometimes life surprises you, and this was a welcome surprise. I was truly happy, and for once in my life I understood that being in a relationship didn't mean giving up my freedom or tossing my independence out a window. I had somebody to share adventures with, somebody to dream big with. This had been an unexpected twist in my life plans, but I wouldn't trade it for the world.
One afternoon, as Ryan and I were driving, I received a surprising phone call. 9 months after the email that I'd convinced myself was a rejection letter, Emirates Airline was calling me, asking if I was still interested in a career as cabin crew. I fumbled for words, gave them my email address so that they could send me details of a reassessment, and then hung up the phone and looked at Ryan. "That was Emirates." I said. I explained that I'd need to go through another interview, still in disbelief that they'd called. He was happy for me, encouraging me to go to Vancouver for the reassessment. "It's your dream job, you have to try."
Before I'd even went to the interview, we discussed what we would do should I pack up my life and move to Dubai. I wasn't too concerned, it still seemed like such a long shot that I didn't want to get too ahead of myself by making any plans. I tried to convince Ryan to come to Vancouver with me... it would be fun, we'd take photos and explore the city and he could be there to support me in the build up to the biggest interview of my life. He explained that he couldn't make it, and I understood. It was a lot to ask, spending hundreds of dollars on plane tickets just for a weekend. The morning that I left, he brought me to the airport. At the security gates, he kissed me goodbye, wished me luck, and promised to pick me up on Monday evening. I never would have imagined that he'd rush back to his car, change into an in-cognito outfit (which looked ridiculous, might I add), rush back into the airport, hurry through security, and board my plane without a minute to spare. All while I sat cluelessly staring out the window, sending him text messages. When I arrived in Vancouver, he surprised me by being there. I was so confused, surprised, and ecstatic. While I'd been trying to convince him to join me, he'd been making up excuses while booking his flights. It was the sweetest, most romantic surprise ever.
We had an amazing weekend together, and he kept me distracted from the massive stress that was taking over in the days leading to my big interview. We headed home, still not thinking seriously about what we'd do if by some chance I ended up with a job on the other side of the world. Reality hit me a week later, when we were awoken in the night by a phone call. I can still remember exactly how I felt at that moment. "I'm calling from Emirates... I'd like to congratulate you on being successful in the final interview..." the voice on the other end spoke for several minutes, and I responded with short answers, unable to take in all of the information being thrown at me. I was stunned. Happy, terrified, excited, and a little bit sad, all at the same time. Ryan knew me well enough to read my expressions, and he was well aware of what was going on. He even pulled out his camera to document this once in a lifetime phone call. Everything that I'd ever wanted had just become mine. I hung up the phone, looked at Ryan, and didn't need to say a word. I called my mom to share my big news, and then sat down next to my boyfriend, hugged him, and cried for hours.
In the weeks that followed, I did my best not to discuss the inevitable. Our days together were dwindling. If I ignored this fact, maybe it would be easier. We both agreed that we could handle a long distance relationship, and that breaking up was silly and simply out of the question. I didn't once fear that we wouldn't make it, but on many occasions I wondered how I'd be able to go a day without seeing him. How would I sleep at night without a goodnight kiss? I know what you are thinking... "Why did you go if you were that upset to leave?" Sometimes I asked myself the same question. I'd always lived by the motto that you'll only regret what you don't do, and I knew that it would ring true here. I had to go. How often are you handed such an amazing opportunity, a chance at something you've been dreaming about for years?? Ryan was amazing, supportive, and even though I knew it was just as hard for him, he was happy for me. We took advantage of what little time we had left and made the most of it. We went on many dates, celebrated early Christmas, had a romantic mountain getaway, and spent all of our spare time together.
Time went by too fast, and before we knew it, I was leaving. At the same spot where we'd kissed goodbye before I'd left for Vancouver, I sobbed and cried as I said goodbye to my mom and Ryan. I knew that unlike Vancouver, he wouldn't be there to surprise me in Dubai. I kept waving until I couldn't see them anymore and then walked through the terminal with tears streaming down my cheeks, not caring that everyone was looking at me. On what should have been one of the most exciting days of my life, I was heartbroken.
It took awhile before I was able to enjoy Dubai. Eventually, I remembered the reason that I was there and it cheered me up, a bit. Training was intense and stressful, but I survived. At the end of January, Ryan came to visit me in my new home. Suddenly all in life was good again, as I proudly showed him around and shared my Dubai life with him. Even after he left, things were easier. When I told him I was going to dinner at the cafe downstairs, he knew where it was. When I talked to him online while lying on my bed, he could visualize my room, having been there before. The 2 weeks he'd spent seemed to fix everything, and take away a great deal of homesickness. Since then, I haven't felt as sad as I did before his visit.
Still, there are times when I miss him so much that I question what I'm doing here. Sometimes I feel like a bad girlfriend, for choosing my career and leaving him at home to miss me. Next week is his 25th birthday, and I won't be there to celebrate with him. I feel terrible, and even though I'll make every effort to make it up to him, I still wish that I could just go home, just for that day.So you might ask what I'm still doing here in Dubai, when clearly my heart is back home. I'm happy, I really am. I love my job, I love the places I get to see, and most days I can find ways to cope with homesickness, like a walk through Brisbane, or planning my next layover. Most days, it's great. I love my job just as much as I'd imagined that I would. I talk to Ryan every day, and he is proud of me for chasing my dreams. Long distance relationships aren't impossible, contrary to popular belief. With a great deal of trust and the determination to make it work, it's possible. But I won't go as far as to say it's easy. On the positive side, time apart makes you really appreciate the small things, and learn not to take them for granted when you reunite.
We will reunite. I don't know when that will be, or where our lives will take us, but I know that one day my heart will lead me home. The poster child of independence, won over by love. Sounds like a cliche chick flick, doesn't it?? Think of me the next time you watch View From the Top.

6 comments:

Gio said...

Love your story. Thank you for sharing. As much as you might love him, don't give up what you set out to be. :)

White Shell II said...

What a beautiful romantic story...........and a true one! You are a brave lady and strong too to chase your dream!

It only gets better when you chase that dream with the one you love!

See our blog at:

www.whiteshellii.blogspot.com

You are in our thoughts and prayers Kristal...your aunti Lue

Anonymous said...

What a lucky guy!

Krysta said...

What a lucky GIRL!

Amber Cavers said...

I already think your life is View From the Top!

Schems said...

Thanks for the sappy love story warning! =p

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