Episode 8: One Immigrant’s Journey Across the World in An LDR

Migration has always been uneasy, but for a loving couple, it is even more challenging. Especially in the case when both need to migrate at different times, with all the uncertainty and risks being faced not once, but twice.  Our new guests Vrunda and Yatharth know how to get through such times best, and they are happy to share their story with you here, in our new episode of Long Distance Short! Don’t worry, their story has a happy ending, and this is awesome because they’ve managed something amazing! So why are you still on this page? Click on “READ MORE”! 🙂

ALLY

Hi dears! My name is Ally, and this is your favourite long-distance relationship podcast Long Distance Short. Today our guests are Vrunda and Yatharth, who came here to share their experience in an LDR. Hi Vrunda, hi Yatharth, how are you?

 

VRUNDA

We’re good!

 

YATHARTH

Very good, thank you, how are you?

 

ALLY

I’m doing pretty well, thank you so much for asking! So Vrunda, Yatharth, before the exciting or maybe terrifying and horrifying story about your migration, your actual love story happened: that’s how you met, that’s how you started dating and so on. So can you give us the understanding how it all started and also continued?

 

VRUNDA

Oh yes. So, actually, Yatharth was my senior in school but we never had any sort of interactions and, in fact, I didn’t even see him: he thinks that he saw me, but I didn’t see him. So, years later, I went to his place to collect some admission materials and all that, and a few years passed by, but we were not in touch. And then, when I was genuinely looking for a partner, we got in touch again — I think I had sort of manifested him. And when we got in touch after eight years, I was very sure that he was the guy that I wanted to get married to.

 

ALLY

So how many years ago did you meet?

 

VRUNDA

I met him four years ago, accidentally, at one of our school reunions.

 

YATHARTH

When I first met her in 2016 — it was like a flashback for me, going back to 2008 and that day. But I remember taking a couple of glances at her, and that’s how I spotted her at school. And then we just interacted here and there over the social media, and it was eight years until 2016, and then in 2016, we met in person, so it was a very fast time-lapse journey.

ALLY

Okay, so that’s interesting — basically, you started your relationship not over long distance, but kinda on short distance (in person), but then you got separated.

 

VRUNDA

The first time I interacted with him after so many years was on social media. And then he was in some state, and I was in some other state. So, initially when we started our conversation, it was on social media, and…

ALLY

How long was it?

 

VRUNDA

It was for two months, I think: we had conversations on social media, on WhatsApp, on Instagram, and then this reunion happened at school.

 

YATHARTH

We started talking more over the phone, we started meeting much more frequently: we started talking on the phone more, and meeting as much as possible, because I was working in another province at that time, back in India — I was not working in my home province. Basically, Vrunda and I, we are from the same province, but back then, in 2016, for work, I was in another province. So I used to fly out to my home province, we used to meet more frequently.

 

We started to get to know each other in mode detail, and found out that we shared the same views on life, and that we generally did really, really well. And that’s when we decided that we should take this relationship forward, and once we’ve gotten to know each other more, we thought of getting married: both of us were, at that time, looking for a genuine partner who had similar world views.

 

Vrunda and Yatharth

 

ALLY

Okay, and did you think about living in India initially?

 

YATHARTH

No, because — well, yes and no, because I didn’t ever actually plan to immigrate to Canada, but it was just that after one year of our relationship that we got engaged, and it was so funny that the day we got engaged I received an invitation from Canada to apply for the home residency.

 

ALLY

Oh, wow.

 

YATHARTH

Yes, it was on the very same day, so I was destined, probably, to make our relationship more serious.

 

ALLY

And your friends and family, how did they react to your moving abroad? That’s, I don’t know, more than a thousand kilometers away?

 

YATHARTH

Oh yeah, absolutely — in fact, more than a ten thousand kilometers away, and it was like a twenty seven to twenty eight hour long flight time.

 

ALLY

Oh, yeah, I can see.

 

YATHARTH

Absolutely, so, each of them, I mean, because my parents were really looking forward to me immigrating, but none of us was really, passionately waiting for an invitation from Canada to open. But they were pretty excited and happy at the same time, because Vrunda was not so much keen on moving to another province, to another country altogether.

 

ALLY

Vrunda, why did you want to stay?

 

VRUNDA

I mean, it never really occurred to me that I should move out of my country — yeah, I was very happy, but I am my father’s daughter, I wanted to be in proximity to my dad. In fact, it’s like… what you resist persists: I resisted the idea of moving out all my life, and that same thing happened to me. I was really comfortable with my career growth in India — I was really comfortable in my cocoon…

 

ALLY

(laugh) Your comfort zone, shall we say, yeah?

 

VRUNDA

Completely in my comfort zone, and secondly, my dad was diagnosed with a severe medical illness, and I wanted to be close to him, so… It was very dreadful, actually, when he forced it on me — that, okay: the Canadian government has given us an invitation to apply; I really cried, literally, instead of being happy or overjoyed about it.

 

ALLY

Okay, and did you, at that point in time, start thinking of moving to Canada, too, or did you kind of try to persuade him not to go — how was it?

 

VRUNDA

Well, I did try to persuade, but no — I didn’t go above and beyond. But I think he is a man full of patience, and he really tried to cope with my vulnerable behavior in those times. He still does.

 

ALLY

(laugh) Well, all men have to do it. (laugh). So it’s a thing you both decided, that was the final decision; but, of course…

 

VRUNDA

I mean, I also wanted to be a partner who supported her partner. I could have gone abroad, and I could have agreed to live with you, but you would support me. Because if I expect support, I have to give support, and I think that has been very difficult for me.

 

ALLY

Okay. So, was it certain that Yatharth would go to Canada, was it 100%, or there was…

 

VRUNDA

It was 100%.

 

ALLY

Uh-huh, okay. But basically, did you think that it would work with you 100%, did you have a plan B?

 

VRUNDA

No, we didn’t have a plan B.

 

ALLY

All right, so how was it, how was this process: did it go very smoothly, or it didn’t?

 

VRUNDA

It didn’t, in fact. After we got engaged, we faced two dreadful medical emergencies, and that made it really… That was a very difficult phase for us, because, on the one hand, I was running from one hospital to another — in fact, my entire family, including his family, were being occupied with hospitals. And in between, he had to come to Canada, all by himself, because he had to finish some initial formalities.

 

ALLY

Oh, yeah.

 

VRUNDA

So I was really lost — I mean, I was really devastated, because we were, like, two months away from our wedding, and absolutely nothing was going right, and from the day we got engaged to the day we got married, that phase was every bit of a nightmare. I mean, the worst of my nightmares came true in between, and for some days, Yatharth had to be in Canada, and I think that was the phase when it got worse.

 

ALLY

What helped you to go through it, how did you cope with that?

 

VRUNDA

I think, a) I was really looking forward to my wedding — you know how Indian weddings are, they are very royal, and all the intricacies of a wedding, they got me going: what will the food be, how I will dress up; and the support from all the families: b) my in-laws really supported me very much in that process, when I was dealing with this. They were there, they were equally excited, they were also at the hospital with us, and they were also designing our wedding cards…

 

ALLY

(laugh) So cute!

 

VRUNDA

Yeah, so then all things were happening parallely, and… And when we came together for the first time, we were in different time zones.

 

ALLY

How many hours were between you and Yatharth?

 

VRUNDA

Thirteen hours, I think.

 

YATHARTH

It’s like… ten hours.

 

VRUNDA

Okay, ten hours, I exaggerated.

 

ALLY

Ten hours! Oh my God.

 

YATHARTH

Yeah.

 

ALLY

I had seven and six with Yoshiki when he was in Japan, so I can imagine that — because, when it’s 4 PM here, he is already going to sleep.

 

YATHARTH

Yeah, it was definitely difficult, and I would say, you only get a certain time window, and then you also have your daily goals to finish, and I was here for the first time, and I had tasks to do: you know, initial settling, and searching for a job at the same time, and then she also had her job over there. We still set some time aside, and there were some days when we were not able to talk, but I think most of the days we were able to manage at least one hour in the morning and one hour in the evening. Evenings, we were usually able to do longer, because then I could stretch my sleeping time a little, so… But it was, indeed, challenging.

 

ALLY

How long did you have to live like that?

 

YATHARTH

I think it was around… fifteen months?

 

ALLY

Fifteen months — oh, so, it’s about a year and a half, around that…

 

YATHARTH

Almost — yeah, almost that much time.

 

ALLY

Did you get ideas of kind of giving up, like, at some point in time, that you would have to stop? Did you have those?

 

YATHARTH

I think the thought of giving up never came, but we definitely felt a little frustrated at how the situation had evolved in the last few months that we had started our relationship. But we always held onto each other, our motto was: every day we wanted to love each other more than we loved each other yesterday. So, we just had to increase our support, when the situation got worse.

 

“Every day we want to love each other more than we loved each other yesterday”

ALLY

That sounds like a quote. (laugh)

 

VRUNDA

I’m not as composed as he is: he can maintain his calm in the worse situations, but I’m really vulnerable. I was also trying to adjust to his family, they’re two different cultures — when you go from one family to the other, you didn’t know them before, and the person who introduced you to them, he was not there.

 

YATHARTH

When you say “different” in two families, it’s like the way you’re brought up and the way your parents have been dealing with you from the time you were young — and from the time you get married, right, you’ve seen your family behave in a certain way, your family act in a certain way, and you also have integrated those types of behaviors in yourself. And then you move to another family, where in… those, obviously, their behaviors are not going to be the same that you have seen or you have learned, right? This may be for the good or for the bad, but they ought to be different. So, it’s about the adjustment of two different behavioral sets: of the family of the boy, and the boy himself, and the family of the girl, and the girl herself.

 

ALLY

How did you manage that?

 

VRUNDA

I think it was a very tricky question, because once you get married, you have to give a marriage a period of, say, two or three years to get used to everyone in your new house. Because relationships are different; when you are in a relationship, you are by yourself. So you are independent, you are just managing your partner. But once you get married, it’s like you’re marrying everybody.

 

ALLY

(laugh) Well, yeah.

 

VRUNDA

Yeah. Because there are a lot of members involved in that marriage. So it’s like I always say to people: wedding is one thing, and marriage is another — you know, as girls, we are very excited for our weddings, that we’ll buy this dress and we wear this makeup, but that’s just going to last for a day. And marriage is a life-long event; that’s when the difficulty starts to pitch in.

 

ALLY

So, do you believe that marriage helps to go through all these long-distance relationship challenges, like migration?

 

VRUNDA

In my case, I can say that with an 110%, because long-distance is bound to be a difficult task; so, because I knew that I am in the institution of marriage, I had to make it work — I mean, the pressure, the inner constraints… Because everybody’s involved, so you have to convince yourself that you have to make it work, because now it’s official, now he’s your husband — you cannot back out.

 

ALLY

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ALLY

Okay, and you got married, and then this process of migration started, right?

 

VRUNDA

Yes.

ALLY

For this one year and a half, basically, for fifteen months, you just tried to get a visa by any means, right?

 

YATHARTH

Yeah, that’s right.

 

VRUNDA

Yeah… I did everything to get a visa soon, my visitor visa applications, they were all rejected — I did it twice.

 

ALLY

So, for the third time, you’ve managed.

 

VRUNDA

Yes, for the third time, I applied for my permanent residency.

ALLY

Uh-huh. If you had the possibility to turn back time, would you have changed anything? Maybe something that would help you to cope with everything better?

 

VRUNDA

Yeah, I think I was… I was way too reluctant to come to Canada. So, first of all, I would have changed that.

 

ALLY

Uh-huh.

 

YATHARTH

I think… I could have used some advice from someone in a long-distance relationship before going. (laugh)

 

ALLY

Like what? What is it that you know now, that you didn’t know earlier?

 

YATHARTH

Um, I think that it’s important that you keep trusting the whole relationship idea that you started on, and that you have to understand that it is something that takes time, and you have to give it time for it to get stronger, and that you have to keep investing in it to make it stronger. So that is something that you learn over time by the trial and error method — so I think we could have avoided a couple of fights.

 

ALLY

And what kind of investment are you talking about? I think our listeners will be excited to learn.

 

VRUNDA

Having the time to learn the art of patience — you know, there are times when you feel like bursting out, and with a family member as well: you were not familiar with their behavior before, you were not familiar with what kind of situations he or she faced in their lives before, and that is why they are behaving the way they are. And you feel like bursting out — but you cannot! You have to control your emotions, because they are also putting in efforts to know you better, you are also putting in efforts to know them better, you are making some errors in between.

 

And you have to let things work at their own pace and at their own moment. Now that I look back, of course, I find my most vulnerable phase and my mood swings were terrible, but if I had lost my cool in some situations, I wouldn’t have been able to hold the family as much as I’m able to do it now. Then your family will also look up to you. I, by all means, consciously or subconsciously, do and act the way which takes him away from his family, and I know that I wouldn’t be having the version of him that I’m having right now.

 

ALLY

And it’s very important because even in psychology, there is this effect that we can look at our loved ones through our past relationships, right? I really like this advice that we should accept our loved ones the way they are, basically.

 

VRUNDA

Yeah, absolutely. And some people are lucky, they can make it work in one year or less, but sometimes, if things don’t work out, you don’t have to get pissed off, because everybody takes their own time to cope with your behavior as well — you have to keep that in mind, I think.

 

ALLY

Yeah, and everybody has their own path, right, they have their own way. And what advice would you maybe give to the people in the same situation as you have been in, to get through it and make it a bit easier, a bit faster?

 

VRUNDA

I think that we are still learning a lot of new things in a relationship, but we share a mutual diary all together, and there are a lot of old-school practices that we practise; like, in the old days, despite Yatharth being in Canada, he sent me these love letters. They were very well-packaged and very well-written, so I still have those letters. You have to jot down things like why you value your partner, you have to take some old-school route.

YATHARTH

My suggestion to anyone would be that in a relationship, if you are in a good long-distance relationship or any sort of relationship, if both of you are facing any challenges or feeling stressed out, and feel like giving up at times, — and I’m sure everyone has that phase, some have it as a short phase and some have it as a prolonged phase, — but what I have realized is, that each of you is responsible to not only hang on, not only love each other more than yesterday, but also realize the fact that in this journey, each of you is sculpting the opposite person as you go.

 

So there are some flaws in me that Vrunda tries to, knowingly or unknowingly, improve in me, and there are some flaws in her that I am, directly or indirectly, trying to improve in her, and together, all this really is, is moving towards a better “us” than we were previously. And that’s what makes a strong relationship every day.

 

ALLY

So,it sounds like you’re saying that a long-distance relationship and a regular relationship are kind of, really, the same, right? That they are not really that different.

 

YATHARTH

Uh, I would say, in a long-distance relationship, you get much less time to sculpt each other. So, obviously you don’t get to meet, that’s the obvious challenge, and it makes it a bit different than to actually meet and sculpt each other — and when you don’t meet, you do it in another form. You have to learn the art of maintaining your calm and peace, and to send that love across over the phone. So you get reduced times — instead of the sort of 24 hours, you get just two hours every day, or even less than that sometimes. So, the challenge is to determine what the timings and it is a very big, significant factor, based on my experience.

“In this journey, each of you is sculpting the opposite person as you go”

ALLY

So time becomes kind of a resource, right?

 

YATHARTH

That’s right. Yeah.

 

ALLY

Okay, that’s really nice. I totally agree with you on this, and I do hope that I will also succeed, just like you did. (laugh)

 

YATHARTH

You will! You will, for sure.

 

ALLY

Yeah, I guess we need to put in much effort; in the end, I hope that everything will be fine, surely. And now, you’re away from your parents, so now you are in a long-distance relationship with your parents, obviously, right?

 

YATHARTH

Yes.

 

ALLY

So, how do you keep your long-distance relationship with them, in this way?

 

YATHARTH

For me, if there is one thing that I am really, really thankful to social media for, is that WhatsApp came just on time, and video calling came just on time. So that is really helping me being very, very close to my parents on a daily basis, so, regardless of what the day is, and what meetings I may have scheduled today, I do make a point of talking to them at least twice a day. And so does Vrunda, making a point of talking to hers twice a day; if we are doing separate calls, she talks to them at separate times, so we call both sides of the parents at least twice a day. So I call my in-laws and I call my parents, and Vrunda calls my parents and her parents at least twice a day.

 

ALLY

So this is a kind of ritual, right, more of a ritual…

 

YATHARTH

(laugh) Absolutely! It’s actually a daily ritual, and if that ritual is not complete, we feel that the day is not over yet, and we need to finish that ritual.

 

ALLY

All right, and how do they handle it?

 

VRUNDA

My dad was like: “You don’t have to worry about your ticket prices — I will get you tickets.” I’m like: “I’m not worried about ticket prices!” (laugh) Because if I go home right now, I will be very… weak. And I will probably not come back if I go back now.

There is also one medical emergency in our family right now, and despite being at our home, because now there’s CoVid-19, and I am not able to go and visit our parents.

 

ALLY

Of course, with the influence of coronavirus, it makes everybody literally lock in their homes without meeting friends, loved ones, and we even cannot talk about trips here, even if this is a trip to our home. So hard times we are having now…

 

VRUNDA

Yes, it’s a very difficult time, home needs us the most right now, and I really wish that we were there, but we are not able to. There is not much you can do over a phone conversation, especially in such hard times when you have to face hospitals, and they will have to face hospitals soon, you feel like being there physically.

 

ALLY

What do you do to make sure that your family is safe at this time? How do you keep your relationship warm with them, at this hard time with the virus?

 

VRUNDA

So, we try to speak, as Yatharth said, we have our conversations twice a day with them. As we talk, we try to talk positively and try to convince them that we are doing great, because half of the time they are worrying about us

 

ALLY

(laugh) Typical.

 

VRUNDA

Yeah, either by speaking or by not speaking, or by making great food as well, I’m showing a message that we are doing great.

 

ALLY

Yeah, I understand. Sometimes just saying that all is good and we are safe, it helps, right, to kill all this panic, this mental anguish that you have.

 

VRUNDA

Yeah, uh-huh. And we are also currently going through a tough phase, because I am hunting for a job for myself. We cannot tell my father every day that I am not getting a job and am really depressed — he should be happy when he talks to me.

ALLY

 

I do wish you luck with that…

 

VRUNDA

Thank you!

 

ALLY

And I’m also sure that the hard times will pass one day, right — it cannot be bad all the time. I also have to struggle with basically the same things, so I totally feel you. (laugh)

And I’m really happy for you, because you have each other.

 

VRUNDA

Yes. And I think that, just to conclude, I will also say that if you have this practice of writing in your diary, like, in a way if you are talking to your husband, when our relationship was not going that well, I used to write in my diary in a way as if it was going well: like, “We are doing great,” in the present tense — and one day we will be doing this, and another day we will be doing that, maybe go to the Bahamas, for example, and have this… So, that also helps.

 

ALLY

It’s like positive thinking, right: you’re trying to convince yourself that everything is fine.

 

VRUNDA

Yeah. But you have to write your positive thinking. That’s the whole point: you cannot just stay positive, you have to write it down, so that it’s like a practice.

 

ALLY

That is interesting, I will give it a try! (laugh)

 

VRUNDA

If you do, you will thank me for it! Just write as if you believed that you have received it.

 

ALLY

So nice! Okay! Thank you for coming! Yeah, thank you so much for coming and sharing your good vibes with the entire world, as it’s really important right now. And the world is not stopping forever — we will come through, and…

 

YATHARTH

It’s just a phase, it is just a phase.

 

ALLY

Yeah, and imagine how in, like, twenty or thirty years, we will say to our grandchildren: I survived the coronavirus! And migration, and all this other stuff, and everything was fine. Yeah, so thank you so much.

 

VRUNDA

Thank you, Ally!

 

ALLY

You have a good one, and we will be waiting for you on our blog, with a new episode, in a month’s time. Bye-bye!

 

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Thanks for listening to “Long Distance Short” — GiftBasketsOverseas.com’s podcast with real people in real long-distance relationships. Make sure to subscribe, and keep tuning in for a new episode every month. If you have any questions or ideas for a future podcast, make sure to drop us a line at [email protected] — that’s [email protected].

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