Welcome to Ask Poppy! I’m Poppy, your go-to girl for all of life’s woes. And when I say ALL, I MEAN IT. I’m not an expert on anything except maybe for being me, which makes me totally qualified to do this.
I currently live in the UK and I have been with my boyfriend for three and a half years. We met at university and we have been through a lot, but we have grown together and I am the happiest when I am with him. And most of all, I love him. I currently work in London and he works in Edinburgh which is about seven and a half hours away by car. We have been doing long distance for seven months now and it has been tough, but given the distance, I still feel like we have become so much closer. He will soon be moving to London for another job so we won’t be far from each other anymore.
So this all sounds perfect but here is the issue: He is Sri Lankan and I am from an Indian background so my parents do not agree. My boyfriend has been in the UK now for four years and he recently told me that he has been feeling homesick and feels like he has lost touch with his culture. He proposed an idea for himself which is to move closer to Sri Lanka and find a job in Singapore or Hong Kong at the end of September 2017. He has reassured me that it is not set in stone but it seems like there’s a very good possibility that this will happen.
We have discussed our future together and I said I will give Sri Lanka a chance and see what it is like and even consider to move with him there if I do end up liking it. Sri Lanka is where he wants to be and I believe I want to be with him. However, I am a family-orientated girl and I am scared of missing the time with my parents when they need me the most. I also said to him that I need to develop my career in the UK first and receive my qualifications before I can make any drastic changes and he fully supports me. I just don’t know what to do as I feel he won’t be happy here in the UK and will only ever see it as a holiday destination but I love being close to my family.
I would like to believe that we live in a society that transcends beliefs and race when it comes to choosing the ones we love, but we really are bound to abide by what our parents dictate. The good thing is that you’re an adult—you have a job, presumably a degree; you have the brains and the heart to fall deeply in love with this man even though the distance can be a b*tch sometimes.
It may seem that you already have discussed EVERYTHING, but have you discussed what the effect might be to your parents? I mean, you’ve said it yourself: you’re a family-oriented girl. You want to be close to your parents just as much as your boyfriend wants to be close to his family too.
How was the last seven months of doing the LDR thing? It must be tough on you, girl. My parents did it for more than 10 years and I’m still baffled as to how exactly they did it. They did it in the `90s, back when mail took months to arrive and international calls were extremely expensive. We didn’t have FaceTime back then, so I would see my dad on video tapes that he’d record. My mom would do the same. It’s the back and forth of home movies that made us a lot closer.
I know how your boyfriend feels, Manny. I know what it’s like to be away from your entire family, often lost, questioning why you were displaced—left alone in one of 7,000-plus islands. The thing is, I did not make the deadline. I was over the age of 21, and I can’t cling on to my mom’s visa. And having a Philippine passport means that the only reason you want a US visa is to pull off a TNT (tago nang tago). This is how you’re going to feel when the time comes that you have to be much farther away from your family.
But I manage to get by here in Manila. This is because I fell in love. And I fell in love real f**king hard, Manny. It’s when I started building a life here that I realized that living here isn’t so bad at all. I’ve got a peachy keen job that pays, a loving and caring person who helps me pay the bills and buys me nice things ever so often, and just like you, I decided and believed that I can make it work. And it’s working so far.
I can’t remember the last time I saw my parents in the flesh. It must’ve been nearly a decade already. All I know is that in four years, I managed to live the way I want with the person I love the most.
Sri Lanka sounds lovely from what I’ve read on its Wikipedia page. I love Ceylon tea, and if you love Ceylon tea, then it’s right up your alley. You said that your boyfriend would love to get closer to his culture. Sri Lanka’s culture mostly revolves around its Buddhist beliefs drawn from India’s religion. It’s a bit close to your Indian roots, so you might be surprised to find out that your beliefs align to your boyfriend’s.
In Michael Ondaatje’s Anil’s Ghost(much better book than The English Patient), the titular character returns to Sri Lanka (where Ondaatje was born) to discover and uncover the ugly truths hiding underneath her homeland. It’s a pretty bleak novel, but there’s a recurring theme in which Anil feels detached from her roots. She was once a champion swimmer, but is now a forensic pathologist after getting schooled out in the West. More than the thrill of investigating and diving deep into the civil war, the act of going back to a tumultuous country shows her dedication to know her country a lot, lot deeper.
There’s still time to fully process this, Manny. A lot can still happen from today to September 2017. I don’t want to tell you to not worry about these things, some clichéd thing to cross the bridge when you get there, because you really need to think this through. And like what your boyfriend advises you, you should really focus on getting your sh*t together so that you can slay hard. Work on getting better. Work to bring your boyfriend closer to your parents. You can do a lot in that time frame, Manny. Think about every step that you make and always consider how your family, your friends, and your boyfriend would react to whatever path you decide to take.
Although, if it were up to me, I’d rather live in Singapore than Hong Kong. I like how it’s more chill in Singapore. Hong Kong is all bright lights and small cramped rooms and really nice shopping choices. Hey, I think our entire country is so envious of Singapore. Living there would be a dream compared to this… place.
Manny, go get that sexy beast from Sri Lanka.
Got a question for Poppy? From love and relationships to weird questions you dare not ask even your psychologist, Poppy is ready to answer them all. Send in your questions to [email protected] or post your question over Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #AskPoppy, and you just might get the answer you are looking for.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.