Monday, 21 March 2016

Update: Dealing with a boyfriend in the Korean army

So, it has been 1 year and 2 months since K enlisted. Much has progressed since that first few phone calls.

This will be a rambling post about some thoughts since then.

1st things 1st - the calls

The phone calls are no longer limited to that timed few minutes that catches you by surprise.

K can call me almost every day from the pay phones. He usually calls me in the evening before/after his meals and we can chat for any time ranging from 15 to 40 minutes.

Of course there are exceptions, like the special trainings or when North Korea acts up again. That is the worst thing ever. Because they are mobilized so suddenly, they won't even have time to update you about the situation or even tell you when they can call you again. The longest I've had to wait is ~1 week, when North Korea bombed the South and they had to station themselves in the mountains to prepare for the worst.

Also, because it's a pay phone, it means you have to constantly have enough phone cards so majority of his measly pay is spent on it.

It's also a good thing that I got a korean Skype number so when he calls me, he is being charged local rates.

I learnt about this trick through one of the China forums. Basically, you source on Taobao for korea Skype number subscriptions and it cost about SGD50 for a one year subscription. It's more costly doing it yourself for some reason. I think the Taobao agents have some dealer discount or something.

Aside from the cheaper rates, he can also leave you voice messages if he can't reach you. Useful since you won't be able to call back to reach him.

2nd - the fights

One thing I realised is that LDRs are really a lottttt of work. I absolutely hate it. But what can I do? 

There were times when I really thought that was it. It's the end of our relationship but miraculously we've pulled through so far. 

The loneliness and absence is something you never get used to. It's so frustrating that when you encounter something upsetting, he is not there to hear you rant, give you advice or even just to offer consolation. When you're happy, you can't share it with him either until he eventually calls you, but by then the elation may already be well over and you don't feel like recounting it anymore. 

3rd - the face time

Let's face it, I have to work and feed myself, so it's not like I can just take time off as and when I want to. 

And for the army boys, they have a rough approximate of about 30 days leave for the 21 months that they are enlisted. Spread it out and you have about 15 days off per year.

That means we had to plan our time very very carefully. On his side, he has to go through a lot of red tape to get approval if he's going overseas. On my side too I have to give advance notice. 

It takes a lot of ding-dong back and forth to iron out the dates as well as how many days you want to spend (because it's not like you want to / can do all 15 days at one go right).

On top of that, air tickets to Korea from Singapore are not cheap. I've paid SGD800 to SGD1200 before depending on the time of the year. And the ride is a whopping 6.5 hours so that's no fun either. Okay I'm going to skip this, I feel sian just thinking about it. 

The last words, for now

There is still a long way to go. I foresee a lot more bumps along the way but let's hope there is sunshine at the end of the road.

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