How To Fall In Love Abroad


Go abroad to study or work or anything that requires you to spend a season in a new city and develop a new temporary life. Settle in your new home and take the obligatory tour of the city, all in the first week. Start classes/work and meet new people. Go drinking and partying with these new people, upload pictures to Facebook while doing it, your friends back home must know about your new hip life abroad. After the first few weeks, start feeling homesick but don’t admit it to your friends or parents, this is your first time being independent and you can’t start behaving like a baby. Instead, retreat to your house every night feeling lonely and lost.

Meet him on the night when you feel the loneliest. Be fascinated, and listen to everything he has to say, even if the language barrier and the loud music make it a bit complicated to understand. Let him cure your need of intimacy and kiss him before the night ends. Don’t expect him to call the next day and be surprised when he does. Let him take you out and show you the city he knows. You’ve already been to that monument and heard the guide talk about its interesting history but it doesn’t matter; you will hear it again from him and try to memorize every word. Ask him questions about the city and tell him about yours. Compare your cultures, the food and the people in your cities. There can be no awkward silences; there is so much information to be exchanged between the two of you.

Meet his friends and wish you could introduce him to yours. Instead, you introduce him to your new party buddies, missing a couple of names during the introduction. It’s the first and last time he’ll hang out with these people, this is also true for you; from then on, your time is divided between your work/classes and him. His roommates become your friends and you feel special when they invite you to hang out with them. You forget it has nothing to do with you, that their kindness mainly comes from their friendship with him and they’d do it even if you were the most boring person in the word. Start leaving things in his apartment, stop going back to your place for long periods of time. Your roommates may start wondering if you died or moved out, it’s ok, nothing matters when you can spend 24 hours lying in bed with the temporary love of your life. When you are not with him, make some time to evolve some of your drinking buddies into friends so you can have someone to talk to every time you fight.

Melt down when the novelty fades and he dumps you claiming it would be too hard to watch you go in a month. Cry about your four month relationship for two weeks while partying like you should have been partying all these months. Enjoy your last month abroad with the bittersweet taste of a breakup in the back of your tongue. Never talk to him again, remember him every time he posts a new photo on his Facebook.

Alternatively, stick with him ’til the end. Love him more intensely the last few weeks, don’t party and don’t call your friends just so you can have more hours with him. Let him drive you to the airport and kiss you goodbye at the terminal. Shed some tears and hug him for five minutes straight while he gently rushes you so you don’t miss your flight. Cry on the 12-hour plane ride. Arrive home with red eyes, inappropriate clothes for the weather and a big depression. Bury yourself in the arms of your loved ones. They know you just left a piece of yourself in another continent, but they are happy to see you, so they’ll take care of you in your broken state. Let them do it. Sleep in your own bed, call your friends, slip into old routines, heal. Eventually your life abroad will be just a memory and the boy just a friend you talk to on a yearly basis.

Wonder why you let yourself fall in love in the first place.

featured image – And While We Were Here