Friday, March 4, 2011

Real Love Works: The Long Journey

Real love is all about going the distance. A lot of compromises and commitments involved in making it happen. Never easy tasks but they worked magic.

Sky is not the limit.

Back in 2009, after our very first few meetings in Malaysia and day-and-night online chats for weeks, my now husband/then-boyfriend, YK, was kind of hesitated to start a serious romantic relationship with me. One, he was geographically located in Malaysia and I was in Singapore. Two, he was just not certain at all in having a cross-country relationship and dating an Indonesian girlfriend who could not speak fluent Mandarin whilst he mainly speaks Mandarin with his direct family and friends. Three, he was not that confident either in potentially having a city girl from Singapore to be the girlfriend of a simple man from a small town like himself. Some of our close friends and family remarked that very seldom long-distance relationship would have happy ending, furthermore both are not of the same nationality.

As time went by, we pursued a romantic relationship anyway despite all the above-mentioned hurdles and heavy considerations. YK believed on 船到桥头自然直. Its direct translation means 'A ship will automatically straighten up when it reaches the jetty' or loosely means that nature will work things out at the end of the day.

About four months after our first meeting, we were officially an item. In the initial stage of our relationship, we made a commitment to take turn in crossing Singapore and Malaysia every two weekends. We always took budget airlines to see each other and were always so busy hunting for Air Asia/ Jetstar/ Tiger Airways' Singapore - KL promotions. Even though we always took budget airlines, the monthly extra costs from flights, taxi fare, etc eventually made our pocket thinner. In addition, a couple of months later, due to YK's work commitment on weekends, I was the one who always flew to Malaysia since I didn't have to work on Saturday. Every time he had to drive for about one hour from Seremban to the airport to fetch me or send me home.

 Sending me off to Singapore from KLIA.

I spent most of Friday and Sunday nights at the airports. Then, Changi Airport was like my second home. I knew Changi T1, T2 and T3 pretty well. Once, I missed my flight to KL and I immediately purchased a S$200 one-way air ticket for the next flight to KL. I didn't think much that night. I was just pervaded by the thought of spending a weekend without him would be so unthinkable.

On the bus to send him to Changi.

Later on, we discovered a less expensive alternative to go to Seremban from Singapore. There were straight buses from Singapore or buses in Larkin Bus Terminal going to Seremban. From Singapore, it cost around S$25-S$30 per trip but the single journey minimum consumed 5 hours on the road. If I took bus from Larkin Bus Terminal, it would cost me even cheaper but the trouble was doubled since I had to swing by the super messy and crowded Larkin Bus Terminal after the Malaysia Immigration in Johor Bahru to get on to the direct bus to Seremban. Say, if I leave my office at 6pm on the dot, hop on the advanced booked cab to Woodlands Immigration, I could reach Larkin Bus Terminal before 9pm and catch the last bus to Seremban which departs at 9pm something. I would arrive Seremban Bus Terminal at around 1am or 2am. Kind of scary for a lonely traveler, don't you think?

I never fancied a bus trip to Malaysia since I had to step in and out of the bus three times for the immigration checks alone. In addition, the journey by bus was rather an agonizing experience due to the pretty long trip and ridiculously long queue in Woodlands / Johor Bahru terminals and immigrations. Somehow, we still managed to take turn visiting each other by bus nearly on weekly basis. This is why I was out of my friends' circle for about a year since my weekend was always spent for crossing the Singapore-Malaysia borders.

The trips by bus went on for few weeks until I reached the point where my body physically could not take traveling any further although my mind was always so willing to do that. From zero medical leave record at work in the previous two years, I began seeing doctors and taking MC every other month. My health level was that dropped. Believe it or not but infatuation would make people do things that they'd never think they'd be able to do. They'd just cross their own boundaries in the name of love.

15 May 2010: The proposal in Seremban.

Moving on, our meeting schedule was slightly improved when YK was posted in Mersing project, which is located about two hours from Johor Bahru. He drove for three hours from his Mersing site to Singapore every Friday to find me. Sometimes he'd stay overnight in Singapore but most of the times, he'd rather to go back to Malaysia for the weekend. No more public transportation at this point but this also meant that Mersing - Singapore - Singapore - Seremban route would be his weekly long driving exercise. Eight hours driving in one day ain't sound that pleasing, huh?

On Sunday night, we'd drive back from Seremban to Singapore and YK had to go back to Mersing on early Monday morning, the time when I was also off for work. We ventured Singapore and Malaysia by car for about six months. I was not driving but I found that cross-country traveling every weekend was quite a demanding deal. As much as I wanted to bitch about it, I knew it was definitely much harder on my partner. My only hope then was to put this grueling long distance relationship to an end as soon as possible. In less than two years time, our new passport books were almost full with Singapore and Malaysia's immigration stamps.

 10 July 2010: The Engagement in Malang.

Instead of giving up this pretty challenging relationship, we decided to get married in almost a year after we got together. Many people were so astonished with this decision. When I broke the news, some people were really supportive to my decision yet some bombarded me with questions like: Why so rush? You both have not even dating for a year. Are you serious? Are you pregnant? Are you sure that he's the one? Do you know him and his family well? What's your plan in the future after the marriage? The answer was really simple. We both just felt ready and sure to move on to the next stage of our relationship.

6 August 2010: Registration of Marriage in Singapore.

YK decided to leave his family business and follow me to live in Singapore after his Mersing project was completed. To him, moving to Singapore would mean living in a rented room in an HDB flat, saying goodbye to his beloved car and taking public transportation for work or leisure instead, eating outside for almost every meal everyday since I was not allowed to cook at home, missing his family and good pals in Seremban, job hunting and working in someone's company as an employee, etc. It was not that easy to him. After four months of living in Singapore, he expressed his interest in moving back to his home country. Hence, I had to make another big life-turning decision.

I always appreciate his trying to live in Singapore for me. I respect the fact that he turned out didn't quite see Singapore as his future after a brief stay there. Two weeks after he mentioned this possibility, I decided to leave my career, friends and comfort zones in Singapore. I had to bid farewell to Singapore after four good years there and move to Malaysia to build my new family life there.

It was not an easy move to do and things were very shaky for me in the beginning. Nevertheless, I was still determined with my relocation decision. I just can't see myself being apart from my husband ever again nor would ever consider taking those stressful modes of public transportation to see each other every weekend. I want to stay put in Malaysia for him. Everyday, I am trying to get better in organizing my new life in Malaysia and the best reward for that is that now I can see my husband every other day.

1 February 2011: The Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot Session in Seremban.

At the moment, everyday is like Valentine's Day to us. We are contented to learn that there is no more significant distance between us. YK and I indeed still have a long way to go post the marriage but we try to make the ride as enjoyable and smooth as possible from then on. Whenever we argue, fight or feel terrible about each other we always think back on our memorable love moments, all the long journey that we had gone through to be together.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, loved ur story. I also got married in Sgp to my M'sian hubby and we plan to go back to Penang (his hometown). I was born in Indo too. Thanks for the tips on applying the LT-SVP.


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