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Our Long Distance Relationship Success Story

leo and kyomi reunited after a long distance relationship

In December 2019, I met the girl who would change my life forever.
But I didn’t know it yet.

She doesn’t speak my native language and the Atlantic Ocean separates our two countries.
A few months after our first internet chat, Covid-19 imposed the closure of the borders and the impossibility of meeting.

Not a week went by without me hearing one of these phrases:

  • « You should meet someone who lives near you »
  • « It is impossible to love from a distance. Love is a physical thing. »
  • « Come down to earth: you are dreaming and hoping for an impossible love »

And yet.

On August 31, 2022, we got the keys to our first apartment.

a long distance couple broke the distance and live together

Is it luck? Not really.
Did our friends, our families, the whole world doubt our relationship? Certainly.
Did we have to make sacrifices to make our love real? Of course we did.

I’ll tell you all about it. Here is the love story of a Peruvian woman and a French man who survived the distance.

the long distance relationship short story between a Peruvian and a French

A 20 year old Peruvian girl wanted to learn French. In December 2020, she decided to download a language exchange application, Tandem.

On the other side of the world, a French boy is about to finish his studies and dreams of traveling in Latin America.
And on the advice of one of his friends, he downloads the same application. « It’s great to talk to natives and discover places where tourists don’t go! »

That’s how I first chatted with Kyomi (yes, she has Japanese origin).

I could make you dream by telling you that I sent her a romantic message in French, that her profile was different from the others without knowing why.

Unfortunately, the scene worthy of a love movie will come only at our first separation.
I really think that Netflix could contact me to make a documentary about it! It was really unreal.

I just sent a like. Then she sent me the first message.

We talked until 4am. The next day, I got yelled at by my boss for being late (of course).

Did it stop me from doing it again? Not at all!
We spent weeks glued to our phones talking day and night.

You might be wondering, « but if Kyomi is Peruvian and you are French, how did you manage to talk? »

image that explains that we have invented our own language to communicate in our distance relationship

Luckily for us, we both speak English. We are far from being bilingual, but our level was high enough to understand each other.

At the end of December, we made our first video call. I was more stressed that day than during my final exams! My hands were sweaty, I had prepared everything in advance. And true story: I had even put on perfume!
And this call only reinforced the feelings we already had.

We had only one thing to look forward to now: the next step, the first meeting!

So I took my courage in 2 hands. I was on vacation from March 07 to 21, 2020. So I bought a round trip plane ticket to go and see her.

I didn’t tell many people about it: I was afraid of the judgment of others.
The others thought I was crazy (and in fact, they were right).
Spending 660€ to meet a girl you’ve never seen on the other side of the world, it seems like a scam.

But you know what? I did it! I took a lot of precautions before I left.
I was 1000000% convinced that not only was it not a scam, but also that I would not be disappointed to meet, see, feel, touch Kyomi for real.

On March 07 at 9:34 pm, we met for the first time at the airport in Lima.

It was incredible: everything was as I had imagined! I was living a waking dream.
We made our relationship official very quickly.

From now on, March 08 is not the international day of the woman but the one of our anniversary of couple!

LDR couple Léo and Kyomi

What I didn’t know was that this week that was going to be incredible was going to be one of the worst of my life.

When the dream turns into a nightmare

Did you pay attention to the date of our first meeting?

It was March 07, 2020.

No, you still don’t understand? Let me refresh your mind:

a newspapper say Peru will close borders

One week after my arrival, it was the end of the trip.

I had to be repatriated urgently after one week, on March 14. Everything went very fast.
I experienced a real emotional shock.

Imagine: you travel, you discover magnificent landscapes, you walk through immense and impenetrable lands. All this with your partner, whom you see for the first time in your life.

And suddenly, everything stops. It’s pitch black.

It was less than 6 hours from the time we learned that Peru was closing its air borders with Europe to the time my plane took off from Latin America.

We ran like crazy to the airport, our goodbyes lasted only a few seconds because the plane was only waiting for me: I was the last passenger to enter.

A real movie scene…

We didn’t know it at the time, but this is the last picture we took of the year 2020. Can you see the difference in mood between her and me?

leo and kyomi at airport starting a long distance relationship

Today we laugh about it, but look at my face! I was very worried.

The good news is that this photo started a tradition in our couple: always take THE last photo before the goodbyes (you’ll find all of them in this article!)

The test of distance

This week gave way to 10 long and painful months during which it was impossible to project oneself.

10 months of waiting for the borders to reopen.
10 months of really confronting the distance: finding ideas for activities and gifts, learning Spanish and French, setting up a plan to see each other again, breaking the routine every day so as not to lose hope (this is how I created my list of 26 challenges).

The hardest part was that we didn’t know when it would be possible to travel again.

Running a marathon is possible because you know that after 42 kilometers, there is the finish line. This is what motivates and pushes athletes to surpass themselves and succeed. Because we know where the finish line is
But running without knowing when to stop is much more complicated.

And that’s exactly the situation we were in.

Did we give up? Not at any time. We ran that ******* marathon, but it wasn’t a foregone conclusion.

That’s when we really understood what a long-distance relationship really was and why it was so difficult to cope with.

So we innovated:
We found ways to send gifts without paying exorbitant customs fees.
We tried dozens of different activities, even if it meant stepping out of our comfort zone and trying some really lame ones.
We organized virtual dates, improved our French and Spanish, cooked typical Peruvian and French dishes.

But what made all the difference was when we understood one important thing.
Not doing so means the end of your long distance relationship in the long run.

We made our long-distance relationship a priority.

I prioritized spending evenings on the phone over seeing my friends in the evening.
I scheduled my days around Kyomi’s schedule and the time difference.
My sleep pattern changed dramatically too! I would go to bed later and wake up later on the weekends.

We always had a plan to meet again, always had a date in mind (even if it was approximate) for our next reunion.
I can say it loud and clear: this was all we lived for. Nothing else mattered.

Even if we should not privilege the virtual to the real, it is the best way to blossom in a long distance relationship. And love helps a lot.
That’s how you can see the sun’s rays between the clouds.

The light at the end of the tunnel

After 2 cancelled flights and 2 postponed flights (the last one only a few hours before boarding, I was already at the airport!), we finally met again on January 11th, 2021, once again in Lima, Peru.

That’s it: my dream to travel after my studies was finally going to be realized.

I had to stay 3 months in Peru. In the end, I stayed there all the year 2021.

This country is absolutely incredible! The gastronomy, the historical monuments, the diversity of the landscapes…
There are so many extraordinary things to discover.

The year 2021 allowed us to get to know each other in depth.

And when you’ve learned to live thousands of miles away with 7 hours of time difference from the person you love, life suddenly seems easier.

long distance couple together
story of a long distance couple

That’s why I say loud and clear that long-distance relationships are better than traditional ones.

Because it’s a true test of loyalty, passionate love and perseverance.

Survive months at a distance (even years for some couples); and living together will become a breeze.

We are now in December 2021.
I’m coming back to France alone, but not for long! It’s Kyomi’s turn to discover my country, my family, the French wines and cheeses, the Eiffel Tower…

She arrived in February 2022, for 3 months. She wrote an article about her impressions and her trip on My Sweet LDR.

« The story is beautiful Leo, nobody believed in you and yet you did it. But to keep this rhythm of going back and forth to see each other only a few months in the year, it’s not sustainable in the long term. »

I completely agree with this sentence.
That’s why we decided to move up a gear.

The day we broke the distance

The main obstacle to achieve this goal is to be able to stay legally in a foreign country.

The tourist VISAs do not exceed 3 months for France and 6 months for Peru (I had to pay a fine when I stayed 11 months in 2021!)

In short, impossible to project ourselves and to consider any beginning of stability.
We thought of several solutions:

  • The student VISA:
    We were too late for the procedures. We would have had to wait another year

  • The foreign worker VISA:
    Extremely complicated to obtain. French recruiters have to fill out tons of paperwork even for a simple job in the restaurant business.
    And if something goes wrong, it’s an instant return home

  • The Au Pair VISA:
    A good solution but it would have prevented us from living together. This is a shame when our number one goal is to break the distance!

    No, everything was restrictive.
    Fortunately, we had an extraordinary chance.

    A few weeks after Kyomi’s return to her native country, France and Peru created a WHT VISA:
    That is to say the possibility for a young person of less than 30 years to live and reside legally during 1 year in France or in Peru!
    We seized the opportunity without asking ourselves any questions: it was perfect for us!

    On July 04, her VISA was accepted. Kyomi was going to come back to France on August 11th 2022 for 1 year.
    I have never cried with happiness in my life. I made an exception that day.

    On September 01, we moved into our first apartment together.

    Today, Kyomi works in a restaurant and I work in a hotel. We will certainly change jobs during the year 2023, but at the moment it is a situation that suits us.
    We are not rolling in money, but we are independent and above all, happy.

And now ?

The numbers are pretty crazy:

  • Our first meeting took place 3 months after our first chat on an app
  • We broke the distance in only 2 years, 5 months and 3 days.
  • During these 2.5 years, we spent more time together physically than separated by distance
  • We spent our birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day together in 2022.

    Yes we can say it: WE ******* DID IT!

    Our next deadline is August 2023, when Kyomi’s VISA ends.
    And we have already found the solution to never have VISA problems again.

    To be continued…

The creation of My Sweet LDR

Our blog is relatively recent: I published the first article on April 02, 2021.
It will soon celebrate its second anniversary!

What started as a hobby quickly turned into a serious and sustainable project when I understood the impact my words could have on long-distance couples.

Every week, I receive at least one message of thanks.

Couples from the United States, Colombia, Poland, Italy, Philippines, India, Australia, France, Canada… and many more who tell me how grateful they are to have found this blog.

This is what motivated me to write more than 70 articles in 2 years.

What was a simple hobby has now turned into a small online business. I’m far from making a living with it, but it allows me to pay a plane ticket in a few months.

And for that alone, I can only thank you.

Many of you buy a Long Distance Map or a Virtual Date Box every month.

It is the satisfaction of knowing that I am helping you deal with your problems that motivates me to get up every morning, press the ON button on my computer and start writing.

That I inspire you to go above and beyond and give your best to make your long distance relationship work, it sends shivers down my spine.

I feel like I’m being helpful, and helping to legitimize that YES, love has no geographical boundaries.

So thank you!

There are 30,000 of you reading My Sweet LDR every month. That’s insane!
Thanks to you, 2023 will be another wonderful year for my blog, I’m sure.

a long distance couple

PS: If you want to discover the list of 26 challenges to do that saved us during Covid-19, go to the homepage!

And if you want to offer a nice gift to your partner (and support my work at the same time), I can create a custom-made Long Distance Map that traces the origins of your couple.