Learning to Live Long Distance through Music (Blog 8)

Long distance relationships are known as one of the hardest relationships to have. Some people don’t even try to maintain long distance relationships because they don’t think they will work out, or they have the impression that it will be hard to stay loyal to their partner. I am currently in a long distance relationship. I didn’t meet the guy online or anything. We met through a friend and have been dating for the past five years. Our relationship turned long distance when he decided he wanted to study for his Masters in Hong Kong. No, my boyfriend is not Chinese. He decided to minor in Chinese during the last few semesters of college. Throughout our relationship, music has been a main factor, being the link between us on the day we first met. When I hear certain songs, they help me express the way I feel about him and about us being apart.

The Canyon Behind Her –dredg: Love and Distance

I don’t remember the exact day or time that my boyfriend, Joe, called and asked me one of the biggest questions of my life. I remember it was in the afternoon and I remember I was in my bedroom on my computer. Sometimes I wish I could remember more, but at the time I didn’t think he was too serious about it.

“I’ve been thinking,” he said. “How would you feel if I studied in China?”

Without hesitation, I remember replying, “Why not?” The fact that he wanted to study half way across the world didn’t really bother me. In fact, I encouraged him to go. I didn’t think about how it would impact me in the long run, I just knew it would work out. We had been together for four years at the time he asked that question, and I felt it was the ultimate test.

“The Canyon Behind Her” from dredg’s album “El Cielo” presents two questions that could answer several questions presented when the thought of Joe going half way across the world in order to obtain a Masters.

Does anybody feel this way?

Does anybody feel like I do?

For anyone, the thought of letting someone you love so much travel half way across the world just to study may seem insane. You know you’ll miss them, and you know there will be jealousy and questions about what they are doing with their day while you are asleep. But what has to stand is the trust you have for one another. What some people may experience is pointed out in the second chorus:

Half of me is gone

The lonesome part is there

This is true. Half of me is gone. But I don’t feel lonesome. Not all the time anyway. My trick is that I constantly preoccupy my mind. It isn’t such a hard task with all the work I have to deal with during the semester. I do admit, that if I was at home with nothing to do I would be more lonesome than I feel when I am busy.

3 Libras –A Perfect Circle: Unreciprocated Love

I met Joe in July of 2005, and the link that started our relationship was music. Specifically, the Finnish band Nightwish. At the time, he worked at Taco Bell with a friend of mine, and we met one day when I had gone with her and my ex-boyfriend to get something to eat. Joe just happened to come in early to work also to get something to eat.

“Hey Joe! Come sit with us!”

I barely paid attention to the tall, gangly teenager who had sat down across from me. How was I to know that five years later we would be still together, going strong? My ex-boyfriend had recently broken up with me. As first loves generally go with teenagers, they tend to think there is no one else in the world that is meant for them. I was no exception, and the fact that I was the dumpee made the situation worse. Then the gangly teenager asked a question that, I’m assuming, pertained to their conversation.

“Have you guys ever heard of the band Nightwish?”

Nightwish is a metal band from Finland. They are a band who was not well known in America at the time. You couldn’t find them in any music store you went to, unlike today where their newest album can be found in almost any Best Buy. The question fought its way through my ear canal and into my brain. An alarm went off immediately. The soda I had in my hand was slammed against the table, threatening to be knocked over by the force of impact.

“I love that band!” was my enthusiastic response. The rest of the conversation before he had to go to work is no longer clear. The last thing I remember is him talking to me about Iron Maiden while walking with me to the door.

As I look back on the time when we met, I am reminded of “3 Libras” from A Perfect Circle’s “Mer De Noms” album.

Difficult not to feel a little bit


Passed over

When I look right through

See you naked but oblivious

And you don’t see me.

At the time, it related to the feeling of neglect that I felt from my ex, as well as the way I treated Joe. Now, it’s the feeling the accompanies the loneliness when it comes for a visit. It’s there the times when all I want to do is talk to Joe, but I can’t because he’s busy with something in Hong Kong.

And You And I –Yes: Togetherness

The e-mail assuring Joe he was accepted into the program at Hong Kong Baptist University came in the beginning of the summer. Of course, he still had to receive the official acceptance letter, but we didn’t know when it would come or when he would be leaving. We spent almost every day of the summer of 2010 together, especially as the summer was coming to a close. It was an experience of togetherness that has impacted the way I see our relationship.

From spending minimal time together during the school year, even though we did attend the same university, to spending almost every second together, it really showed me that there is a person in the world that I can spend a whole day with and not get tired of.

The band Yes says it perfectly in their song “And You and I”:

And you and I climb, crossing the shapes of the morning

And you and I reach over the sun for the river

And you and I climb, clearer, toward the movement

And you and I called over valleys of endless seas.

These lines express what our summer was like. We did almost everything together and ended our days with an evening walk around the neighborhood, talking about anything that came to our minds. One topic that we constantly came back to was what it might be like when he was on the other side of the world. We talked about possible times of the year when he might have the opportunity to come home. In the last few weeks of August, when we were still waiting for all the paperwork, there was the little bit of hope that Joe wouldn’t be going after all. While part of me liked the idea of only being separated by a train ride, I knew not to get my hopes up. His stay at Hong Kong was inevitable, and it was an opportunity I was not going to let him pass up. Finally his Visa and housing information came and, in a matter of hours, his flight was booked. There was no more time to wonder. The day after I moved into the dorms at school, he was boarding his flight.

After one month of being separated from Joe, I cannot tell someone how they can survive a long distance relationship, although at this time I feel that Joe and I will come out successful. It’s an experience that will be different for each relationship and it has to be handled in ways that work for the relationship. The link that music creates between me and Joe, the different memories and emotions that each song houses, is what helps me get through every day. When I feel a certain way, I listen to a certain album or song that I know will help with the way I’m feeling. The key is to find your link.

2 thoughts on “Learning to Live Long Distance through Music (Blog 8)

  1. Hi Casey,

    Thanks for commenting on my story. If I choose to revise that one, I may ask to pick your brain a bit more 🙂

    I love how you incorporated lyrics into the story in between sections and set the tone for what you are about to say. I love this piece because I feel as though many can relate to using music to evoke memories and emotions. After I read this, I immediately began to sing “American Girl” because I thought of one of my best friends who moved to Cali and whenever I miss him that song reminds me of a great time and cheers me up. Awesome!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s