Living miles apart

 

Feb. 12, 2014

By Jacqueline Schaefer

 

Surviving distances large and small

Junior Nichole Lattin is no stranger to distance. She and her boyfriend, Wyatt Webster, have been together for almost two and a half years. They have survived a challenging freshman year when Lattin attended Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

“That year I wasn’t doing well in my classes, and I couldn’t go home that many weekends because I had swim meets,” Lattin said.  “He stuck with me though through all the shit I put him and me through.”

Because of this bad experience, Lattin said she was worried about studying abroad. However, Lattin is currently studying at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany.

“Because of my first year of college and how skyping went then, I was nervous to go abroad, thinking that the stress and disappointment that was my first year of college would return,” Lattin said.

Lattin said things are going well.

“My first week we had some miscommunications and sorted out the time zone issue,” Lattin said.  “Now we Skype often.  When classes pick up, we’ll probably Skype in shorter segments to check-in and offer pick-me-ups.”

The couple was introduced through a mutual friend and Facebooked each other before actually meeting at Lattin’s high school graduation party.

“Due to some unforeseen circumstances, I invited [Webster] to my graduation party earlier on that same day,” Lattin said.  “Totally unlike me, to invite someone I’d never really met.”

However, the two hit if off and met up later at a party the same day. They didn’t spend long at the party but instead took the time to get to know each other.

“We sat outside against the building and shared our favorites until a group of eight-year-olds started teasing us to kiss,” Lattin said.  “Then we went for a walk and watched the sun set into stars.  I felt so open with him, just being me in my hometown without the notion that he remembered how I looked in the fourth grade or that I still rode the school bus in high school.”

Lattin said she wants to make Valentine’s Day special by surprising Webster with a Skype date of pizza and a favorite movie.

Distance can be difficult, and Lattin said she misses Webster most when she’s in public places.

“I miss him the most when I go to the cafe and see all these faces of people in conversation, but he’s the only person I could go to dinner with and not have to say anything,” Lattin said. “We can just be us, and that’s why we are we.”

 

Valentine’s Day is more than a holiday 

Junior Lianna Carter has a lot to celebrate this Valentine’s Day. Not only is it the most romantic holiday, it’s also the two-year anniversary of her relationship with her boyfriend Donavan Jackson.

Carter is currently studying Costa Rican health care and tropical medicines in Costa Rica and will be there until the end of March.

The couple has known each other since high school and have been friends for approximately eight years.

“We met each other in high school, we shared a common interest in track and field (triple jump) and were friends ever since,” Carter said.

Valentine’s Day brings back sweet memories of how the two came together as a couple.

“Donavan surprised me with really sweet gifts and a special card that said ‘will you be my girlfriend, check yes or no.’” Carter said. “It had two boxes and of course I checked yes,” Carter said.

In order to keep the day special, the two plan on having a Skype date.  While not a typical date, it still has meaning.

“Sure, we can’t hug and hold hands, and if the Wi-Fi goes black we won’t hear or see as clear, but none of that matters because [Donovan] and I will have grown together for two years,” Carter said.

In order to stay in touch, Carter and Jackson iMessage each other and Facetime almost every night.

Carter said her relationship is the same, even across the distance.

“As far as keeping our relationship strong, it’s the same as if we were home,” Carter said. “We trust God.  Especially with this distance, that has been extremely important for and to the both of us.”

 

Long-distance from the start 

Sophomore Emily Kahl’s long-distance relationship is put to a new test as she spends this semester in Salamanca, Spain.

Kahl  has been with her boyfriend, Adam Kopp, for almost three years. Kopp is a junior at Northern Illinois University. Kahl is currently studying abroad for four months, which will bring a new dimension to her relationship.

“Being in Spain is really the ultimate test of our relationship,” Kahl said. “But I have been here for over a month, and we have been doing fine.”

But distance is nothing new for the couple that started dating the summer after Kopp was a senior in high school and Kahl was a junior.

“We spent that summer together, but at the end of the summer he went off to college four hours away at Western Illinois University, and I only saw him once or twice a month for that year,” Kahl said.

The following year,  Kopp transferred to Northern Illinios University, located about two hours from Whitewater.

Kahl said being in two different places can be difficult.

“Sometimes the time difference makes it difficult to find time to talk,” Kahl said.  “I don’t think it’s too difficult to stay in contact. You just have to be willing to put in the effort.”

Even though they’re apart, Valentine’s Day will still be special.

“Adam is coming to visit me the first part of March, and we plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day when he comes to visit,” Kahl said. “Also, I made him a Valentine’s Day card before I left and gave him strict instructions not to open it until February 14.”

Long-distance relationships have taught Kahl to appreciate what she has.

“Being apart makes me really appreciate the time I do have to spend with him because it makes it that much more special,” Kahl said.

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