Oh Dan. You are my world.
The first time he took me skiing in Niigata, Japan, January 2013
I don’t even know what to say. Dan is in the process of moving back to the US, and we’ll live together again. Words can’t express my joy. We haven’t lived together since December 2013, and we haven’t lived together in the States since July 2010. It seems like another world, to think back to those times.
Christmas 2009, our first xmas together, at our awesome house in Redmond with our beloved roomies Kelsey, Stephen and Amber. Good times happened in that house!
Next week Dan and I will celebrate 6 years since we started dating. It’s crazy to think what all has happened in those 6 years- ups, downs, moves, international moves, best days of our lives, worst days of our lives, vacations, deaths, jobs, disagreements, love.
July 2009- the first time he took me to Japan. I had no idea a year and a half later I’d call Tokyo home
Dan and I have spent a lot of time apart in our relationship- actually the majority of our relationship- but the 2 days that hurt the most were the day he moved to Japan in September 2010 and when I moved back to the States January 2014.
When Dan moved to Japan, life was so chaotic. I had just lost my job as an event coordinator for an HVAC company, and my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nothing was making sense. Throwing in my boyfriend’s international move sent me into basically a quarter life crisis. I moved to Portland to be with my mother during treatment, missing my last two months with Dan before his big move. I call this the end of Living Together 1.0. I think we were thinking about breaking up; we had only been dating about a year and a half at this point and he had no return date in mind. So naturally we ran away to Vegas and eloped.
His last weekend in Seattle, I was with him til he left for the airport. As I watched him pack up his life, I felt like I was losing air. We had absolutely no plan of staying together, when we’d see each other again, when we’d live together again. It was all a big scary unknown. I tried to stay up all night- something Dan is way better at than I am- but around 5:30am I conked out on the couch with Penny. I woke up to his kiss good bye. And he was gone. And I was so sad. And it was a dark time where I wanted to be strong for my mother and all the scary things she was going through, and I wanted to be her support system, but I was scared for her too and I was now constantly calculating time zones in my head as to when I can catch Dan for a chat. The long distance life (dubbed Long Distance 1.0) had a rough start.
I didn’t know I could be so excited to Skype with someone
So as I’ve mentioned, Dan moving to Japan created a great unknown. But in time the unknown developed into a plan to live together again, as soon as possible. The only way that would happen would be if I moved to Tokyo. So I did in March 2011, thus launching Living Together 2.0!
Reunited at the airport
We lived together in Japan for about 3 years, but Japan was always Dan’s dream, not mine. I enjoyed my time there but decided that I miss my family, my friends and wanted to work and speak English 😉 The day I left Japan didn’t feel like a very big deal- Dan was coming with me because we were running the Disney World marathon together, so it just felt like another vacation.
The day I left Tokyo. Little did I know I was going to get miserably sick over the next 24 hours.
Oh yes, Dan and I had 2 weeks of vacation together before going back to being a long-distance couple again. And I was miserably sick the whole time. We were at Disney World and I didn’t want to go to the parks. We were with friends we never get to see and I couldn’t bring myself to get out of the hotel bed. We were in California and I couldn’t eat In-N-Out! I was so sad I was sick and ruining our final moments together.
The day he left I probably wasn’t as sad as when he moved to Japan in 2010, but I was still pretty devastated. We went all out for our California trip and were staying at the Grand Californian. He had a flight to catch back to Japan, and my mother who was living locally at the time was coming to pick me up. I pulled my sick body out of bed and we hugged and kissed good bye. We knew we wouldn’t be apart for more than a year or two, but again, I had that feeling like i was losing air, that big chance was uncontrollably happening and uncertainty was clouding everything. He gathered his luggage, one last kiss, and was gone. I sat on the hotel bed and cried. I didn’t know why we did this. I didn’t like being apart from him. I gathered up my numerous suitcases and duffels, dried my tears and met my mother out front of the lobby. Long distance 2.0 had just kicked off.
That day I spent time with my mom and got a car that I’d drive back up to Seattle. I couldn’t believe Dan was out of my life again (physically). But life goes on. Dan is a huge part of my life, but he isn’t my life. So, I picked up and kept moving forward. The beginning, as usual, was hard. There’s no one to come home to. There’s no one to share my day with. No one to bitch to about Kevin in Accounting (ok, there’s no Kevin, but you get my point). The other battle was the fact that I’d become so incredibly dependent on him. Getting my life up and running again was a struggle, frustrating and I made a lot of mistakes. The things that seemed like everyone did were so confusing to me- car registration, change of address, job hunting, I was in the process of changing my name as well, and that made things even more difficult. But as usual I got into a new groove- I was nannying, taking care of business, running again and enjoying living with Kelsey. But I still spent a lot of time missing him so much. We adapted to the distance but never got used to it. Even in just his few years in Japan, technology improved, giving us the ability to Facetime and talk almost any time. But still. He wasn’t here. And I missed him.
The last photo we took together before Long Distance 2.0
Life took shape more and more for me, and I found myself waiting for him less and living more. I got a job at a gym and started nannying more. I reached out to friends more. Having a life definitely helped the time pass but still, it was a long 4 month stretch before I got to see him next. When I did, it was nothing but fireworks. I felt complete again.
There’ve been a couple more visits since then. But it’s now 2015, and almost 4 and a half years ago was when we started this crazy long distance adventure. When we eloped we promised to never stand in the way of each other’s dreams, and always be there for each other. I’m so glad I was there for him during his Japan adventure. And I’m so excited to say he will be moving back to Seattle in the next month or two. And let’s be real, excited doesn’t even cover it! He’ll be here tomorrow for a brief 4 day trip to interview for new positions at his company and we will hopefully secure a house for us. It all feels so unreal. I can’t believe the time has come.
As I’m working graveyard, I don’t have much to do, so I calculated how much time we’ve spent together and apart. It pretty much looks like this:
Time together living in Seattle- 1 year 3 months
Time together living in Japan, minus my visits back home- 2 years 2 months
Time living/ being apart- 2 years 6 months
Wow. It’s just all been such an adventure. I can’t wait for the next chapter- Living together 3.0.