We all seem to romanticize the idea of dating someone from a different country. The idea of having a friendship (or intimate relationship) with someone from a land foreign to us is the stuff of fairy tales. Well not exactly, but it brings a whole new thrill to life. There’s a sense of pride and unspoken respect for the target of your affections.
What exactly are the pros and cons of dating someone who lives on the other side of the world? Sander and I existed for most of our lives, living 5,447 miles away from each other. How was it after we had acknowledged each other’s existence?
It’s easier to find someone to connect with
Sander and I bonded over our hobbies and similar mentality. He and I are both quiet homebodies who enjoy the outdoors every so often. We live simple lives and had had difference experiences growing up. Still, we connected in a way that we did not with people closer to home. Sander and I didn’t intend to look for a relationship overseas. And even then we could have settled for someone in our hometowns. Our personalities and interested matches so well that I decided to leave it all behind and move out to be with him. With the whole world at our disposal, it’s much easier to find someone to connect with. I can’t say that our relationship will last a lifetime, but we hope that it will.
The idea of fantastic adventures every day
Growing up in Southern California was boring to me. It was too hot in the summer to do anything. Now, I will admit that most of our adventures happen because we’re together. Sander and I make an effort to keep thing fresh but there is another factor. In the Netherlands, I take a step outside and I am thrust into a living history lesson. That was one of the perks about traveling in Europe, every day was living history. Today, Sander and I live at the bottom of a lake, reclaimed by his ancestors. How cool is that?
New options to explore
From food, to entertainment and more, different countries offer different luxuries. Once I had been introduced to Stroopwafels, the typical Dutch sweet cookie snack, I was hooked. I thought I was a chocolate lover. I’ve been able to explore so many options from dating Sander.
Differences in food palates
Sander loves Kipsaté, chicken with peanut sauce on top. Me? Not so much. My parents were born in raised in India. I was born in America. I love spicy foods, curries, rice and exotic flavors. In my house we used to drink tea several times a day. Sander on the other hand… Breakfast and lunch are meals of bread and meats. Dinner is meat with veggies and potatoes. I can’t add any spices to our dishes because Sander wouldn’t be able to eat them.
Differences in holidays
I cannot stress this enough because I was so depressed last year. There is NO HALLOWEEN in the Netherlands! I mean there are dance parties and the like in Amsterdam but other than that… There is little to no acknowledgement of my favorite holiday. There is a small children’s holiday called St. Martin’s Day but it is hardly a replacement.
Differences in social etiquette
I was completely caught off guard when Sander introduced me to his folks. The Dutch greet each other with three kisses. When you deliver a kiss, you go in for the right cheek, then left cheek, and then back to the right cheek. When you visit for a birthday party, you congratulate the guest of honor and the entire family. It’s appropriate to say “congratulations”. There are so many little ways that Dutch culture has thrown me off balance. But it’s nothing that will grow on you over time. Keeping an open mind is important while living in a different country.
Living in completely different time zones
I was pretty depressed after Sander had left me the first time around. We has only spent two weeks together before he had to head home and it bothered me a lot. It’s difficult living so far away from someone you love. I was lucky to have been able to join him. Leaving my family behind wasn’t easy but it was almost like a rite of passage. My mother left her home at 23, so I felt like I could do it too.