Behind the screen

We do live in the world where texting is slowly replacing calling or talking in person. Texting is easy, fast, convenient. Very often, you can hide your true emotions behind the texts as, no matter how good an emoji you choose, it cannot replace your face expression, your voice or intonation, your eyes, and body language. It simply cannot. There is limitation to texting. Lack of personal touch, emotional note.

Yesterday one of my best friends called me, crying, to say that her boyfriend broke up with her. They have dated for almost a year. Living in different cities, they managed to come see each other almost every two weeks. They spent all their vacation days with each other, and in summer they lived together for two months. They got to know the families and friends of each other. They had plans for future. They wanted to be together. Until yesterday.

Yesterday he broke up with my friend. And he did it over a text message. He wasn’t ready for commitment or anything serious. And while he explained to her in great detail what was not working for him, the text message left so many things unanswered. My friend was in the state of shock. She called me to ask for help, and we talked for hours. I felt so much pain for her. I cried for her loss. And while it was about her heartbreak, it also brought so many memories for me.

I’ve also had an experience of getting this kind of goodbye texts from boyfriends. These texts were from someone I spent years with. Someone I was ready to share my life with. Somebody we decided to move in together. Yet, despite that, their choice of break-up was sending a text message and being done with it. And while I could understand the reason for separation, I could never understand the way it was done – through a poor text message.

If you had the desire to spend weeks, months or years with one person. If you let this person into your life. If you shared good, bad, or usual days with him or her. If you kissed their lips, their face, their body. If you let them into your circle of friends and family. If you took them seriously. If you let them open their heart and trust you. If you said your first “I love you” to their face, have the courage to say goodbye while looking in their eyes. I know it is extremely hard to reject or hurt someone, and you might think text message is an easier way to let that person go, but it is easier for you. Not for them. You end up hurting them two times: first, by not reciprocating their feeling of love; and, second, by not respecting them enough to say it in person, to look in their eyes and say honestly: I do not love you anymore.

Don’t break up with your partner over a text message. You might have your valid reasons to end relationships, but end them in a humane way. Cell phones do not have a heart, but you do. Show your emotions to this person for the last time. Don’t hide behind the screen. Don’t.

love-hate relationships

Relationships with the city you are living in are as complicated as relationships you are having with a loved one. Sometimes it is love at first sight. Often times, love fades away and you see another side of the city.

The first time I saw Taipei from the window of the airplane, I instantly felt it was a city of insane energy and endless fun. I fell in love with it the minute I landed and took the first breath of city air. A strange, unfamiliar smell promised a new adventure and a different life. I was in love for the first time. In love with a person, and in love with a new city. Every day I woke up with the feeling of excitement to be living in one of the coolest metropolitan cities in Asia. Hundreds of events were happening in all parts of the city. Every day I tried a new restaurant, and every day I was pleasantly surprised by something new. I was deeply in love, and I felt the city loved me back. I liked how cheap street food was. How sunny and hot the days were. How different the fashion style people had. How beautiful the palm trees looked at the university I was studying at. I loved how often I got compliments about my looks. How friendly all the vendors were. How organized the public transport was. How much of the nightlife I had. I liked everything and everyone at this moment. I was in love.

I loved this city for the whole one year. I broke up with my first love in a year, and something happened to my relationships with the city as well. Involuntarily, I started seeing a different side of it. And I hated it. I hated the intense, never-ending humidity when nothing ever dried out overnight. I hated having ants and lizards in my room (hello, subtropical climate). I hated the bland taste of steamed vegetables in the restaurants. I hated having rice 3 times a day. I hated being always the tallest person in the bus. I hated the times when people wanted to take a picture of me without trying to talk to me or be my friend. I hated the fact that no matter how much I studied the Chinese language, I could never have deep conversations and form close friendships with Taiwanese people. I hated meaningless parties, hangovers, and phone numbers of random guys who never wanted commitment. I hated being alone without family and friends. I hated being a foreigner. I fell out of love.

It was love-hate relationships with the city. Many years later, when I moved to live in another city, another country, I formed new relationships with a new city, but I never forgot Taipei. It was my first pure love – beautiful and ugly at the same time. And even though I left the city on a bad note with many heavy feelings in my heart, I remember it now in warm, bright colors. And I do want to give this city another chance. After all, don’t we all deserve a second chance?

So much time. So little time.

We have been together for 2,5 years. So many things have happened. So much time has passed since we met. So much I still haven’t said. So I am saying it now:

Thank you for being someone who came to my life when I least expected and most needed. I did not wait for you, but you came like a storm and swept me off my feet. I could not resist it. I did not want to stop it.

Thank you for being someone who has been committed from the first date. You made me part of your life from week 1. You introduced me to your friends in 2 weeks. You took me to meet your parents in 3 weeks. You took me on vacation in 4 weeks. You asked me to move in with you in a few months. You bought a house with me in a year. You asked me to share my life with you, forever.

Thank you for being someone who is so caring. You make me hot meal when I am sick. You hold my hand when I am sad. You let me sleep a bit longer. You make my tea a bit sweeter. You give me the best slice of cake.You put cream on my dry hands. You never let me carry heavy things. You ride a bike next to me even though you can go so much faster. You watch my favorite dramas with me even though you love comedy. You make me a bubble bath when I am tired. You bring me champagne for every little success I have. You are always here…when I need you, want you, miss you.

Thank you for being someone who made me believe in love again. I was lied, cheated, betrayed, misled so many times. I was broken. I unlearned to love. You were the one who showed me how to open my heart again. I learned how to love myself again and how to love you. You say, “I love you,” very often, but every time it is like the first time. Sometimes you are silent, but your hands say what you feel. I have never been touched so tenderly, so gently, so delicately. I have never been looked at with so much affection. I have never been desired so passionately. I have never been spoiled so regularly. I have never been loved so much.

Thank you for being someone who believed in me from the very beginning. You believe in my goals. You listen to my thoughts and ideas. You support my early steps in career. You share your experience. You look at my cover letters and resumes. You push me to do more blogging, more writing and creating every day. You boast to your family and friends about me. You are proud of my achievements. You cheer me up when I fail. You believe in me even when I do not believe in myself.

There are so many things I want to thank you for. So many more. I haven’t even mentioned the presents you give me, the dinners you cook for me, the trips you organize for me, the efforts you put for me to make our house the best home, the amount of hours you spend helping me achieve my dreams, the amount of love you give me every single day. Thank you for this all. Thank you for your love, for your care. For being who you are. Thank you for being the one.

So much time has passed since we met.

So little time has passed.

A whole life ahead of us…