Mesi and Brad are my very special friends. I met them both a few years ago in Nepal. It was November 2012. The month of sunny hot days and cold nights when you dress like an onion and peel layers through the day until the beautiful sunset. Every morning we were woken up to the sound of bell. Peaceful sunrises with hot cup of tea overlooking Kathmandu. Bell rings again – time for morning meditation. It was Kopan monastery were we learned Buddhism and meditation techniques together with another 270 people from all around the world.
One day we had a conversation about the opportunity to work and live in Bali. Two years later I finally made decision and moved to Bali (FYI – back in London now). A few months after this lovely couple came to live here too. I was over the moon when this happened. We had such an amazing time in Nepal and unforgettable memories in Bali.
Mesi is Hungarian, Brad Chinese Australian, their love started in Peru 5 years ago. They both volunteered at the same organisation. Brad was coordinating at english school in an impoverished region and Mesi was assisting in an orphanage. First they become friends and felt super comfortable with each other from day one. They spent a month and a half in the place they met and decided to be around each other for another two months during their travels through Peru and Columbia.
How long were you in long distance relationship?
Too long. I don’t really know exactly because there was a lot in-betweens. It started with me in Budapest, Brad in Sydney. For a year. Then both in Sydney for a couple of months. Didn’t work. We just weren’t ready for commitment. Then me in India, him in Sydney for 5 months. Kind of worked, but still apart. Another Sydney round. When are we gonna learn?! Then me in India, him in India. 24 hrs bus ride away from each other. The urge to discover our individual paths was still more prevalent then building anything together, but the same country at least!!! After 6 months we made Budapest our home base. It was cozy. It was new for us and we made the best of it. The distance wasn’t long anymore, it was literally non existent in the studio apartment we shared in the first few months. We decided to stay in Hungary because that was the only place at the time where we could both do what we love. For him it’s economic development, for me it’s Yoga. Plus he alway romanticised Europe, after spending a year in Hungary he still does 🙂
When and how did he propose?
There was no diamond serenade or fireworks We just went for a bike ride in a nearby park when we started living together in Budapest (the first time properly). This was 3 years after we met. We sat on a bench and he just asked. It was quite a natural happening. I said, OK, let’s see how this year unfolds, and then yeah, sure. Me the romantic…
How did you manage to stay together while being apart? What were the challenges?
Since we met, we had this sense that we belong together, but the time spent apart was continuously widening the gap between us. Then we met up again and felt connected and then grew apart again. We were pushing it a few times to the edge. I guess the hardest thing was that we lived 2 different lives. We shared not much more but the stories of our days and what was happening with us and memories of times spent together. When you stop creating experiences together, the fire that lights up the space in-between starts to weaken, when you cannot hug someone you really want to, over time it can turn into a void . Since we met there was always a deep sense of communion present like we’re family. In a good way. We both come from broken families, that might propel us towards wanting to belonging to someone. I’m not sure, but since deciding to finally stay in the same place 2 years ago was an amazing decision. Now we are as tight as 2 can be.
What would be your advice for long distance couples?
Hahaha. I’m not sure I’m an authority in the subject… I think it’s so individual, I can only share what helped us getting our s*it together. Giving up one’s “life” (which in my case wasn’t really going anywhere anyway so not like it was a huge sacrifice..) might seem like a tempting solution for some, but when it happened in our situation, when I made the move to Sydney our bond weren’t ripe to take all that weight that came with full commitment. So we both had to take time to discover what we really want from life. And how we’re gonna get there. And if you end up wanting the same and agree on the how, that’s not a bad start. We started figuring out stuff in a Buddhist monastery in Nepal. It was a month long retreat where we studied the teachings of the Buddha, learned meditation techniques and stayed away from the outside word and touching each other for the whole time. It has totally rocked our world, like our common path together was blessed through that process. And our brains transformed. That was 6 months before we moved together permanently in Budapest. So my advice would be instead of going on holidays together (what we did for a while) where you most likely are going to stay in your comfort zone, wear your best dresses, eat well, drink even better and most likely never really get to know each other’s deeper aspects, I recommend something more profound where there is a space to cut through the layers of superficiality and you have the opportunity to shift the bond to a deeper level to see if it’s the idea of the other/relationship that you so want or you actually appreciate who the other is and feel that not continuing together is not even an option anymore.
Brad and Mesi are getting married in August, at the beautiful location in Bali. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to make it to celebrate their union with them. However, I am sure we will meet again. Here is their “engagement” session I was fortunate to photograph in their beautiful vila with two adorable ginger cats they have adopted. Enjoy 🙂