I spent the first shy 21 years of my life dating disastrously and thinking that I would be forever alone. Until one day, I met a guy who I finally seemed to connect to. Problem was, he was 5146* miles away... (*according to Google maps)
Back in April 2009, I spent an evening procrastinating. My best friend Rona suggested I try Omegle, which at the time, was a simple video-less messenger website for strangers to talk to each other. Conversations were assigned randomly. One conversation started, not with demands of “A/S/L?”, or even what I was wearing but with a fairly normal interaction. I was studying film at university; he was working on some independent films in LA, where he lived. "Wow", I thought - "He might be a great contact to have!"
Back then, the Omegle website was temperamental and conversations used to be cut off all the time. I often wonder what would have happened if we had been cut off before we had the chance to exchange our full names. Perhaps there is a parallel universe in which this happened – I wouldn’t even recall this now as a significant event, and my life would have taken many different turns instead.
We then proceeded to talk for a minimum 4 hours a day. It just felt so easy. I deliberately didn't tell anyone at first- I didn't want to overreact.
I had to go away to a place with hardly any Internet connection for a week, two weeks after we met. I laid on the hotel bed and felt physically sick because I missed him so much. I also felt confused- how could I miss someone I had never met?
Gradually, we told people about the other. Reactions varied, but my best friend Karen told me to go for it. My parents got used to me sitting talking to this boy on the other side of the world.
Nearly 3 months after we met, I flew over to LA for 2 weeks. I remember when I was sitting on the plane, thinking “WHAT AM I DOING?!”
When we first hugged, he was shaking.
First week was a little awkward and we just acted as friends and got to know each other, but we got over it in the 2nd week. After going home in tears, we realized we loved each other. And that was it, for 2 years, going back and forth, visiting each other every 2-4 months.
I tried to move over there and applied for a student visa, but got rejected. I started to feel like this could be the end of the line for us. There comes a point where it becomes too painful to be apart, it needs to be all or nothing.
But then, he did some research and realised he could get a British passport due to family background. Moved over and been here for 4 years now.
When living the everyday normalcy of our lives, I have to remind myself of our beginnings, and how amazing our connection across the world was.
People are surprised when I say I'm not sure I believe in "fate".
I think it removes our ability to control our destinies, and that we have millions of potential fates- life is a series of choices and circumstances from those choices. I choose to break out of my shell and to choose adventure. I was not disappointed.
PS. If you have a similar story, have some thoughts on meeting people on the Internet, or how it’s changing our communication, I would love to hear it!
PPS. Also, any costume designers, I would love to hear from you! I work in theatre design and stage management- I'm considering a move into costume specifically, and potentially into film and television work. Any advice is appreciated. My twitter is @ljunorcam. Thanks.