#2 - Mike & I
Sally DeFina - 21
(Zanzibar - TANZANIA) - I met Mike exactly
one week after I had informed Jeff of my final decision to join
him on the Junglerunner trip, late February. We met in The Windsor
Castle, a pub attached to the London Business School where Jeff
and I were on exchange for the Winter quarter of our MBA program.
Mike was an Australian from Perth who had spent the past five
years working in London and was about to return to Australia
permanently. At first, it was just a fun fling for the both
of us – after all, we were both on the verge of colossal life
changes. We both soon realized, however, that there was something
special there. We decided to spend as much time together as
possible before oceans and continents separated us - so much
distance that we would need over two days travel time in order
to see each other again.
During the next couple of months, Mike
came to Morocco with me, and to Chicago (where I was completing
my MBA program) three times. I went to London, Italy, and Tampa
to visit him over the same couple of months. All in all, we
spent literally half of two months side by side 24 hours a day.
We complained to each other occasionally about how ironic life
truly is – right when you meet someone truly special, life says
“psych!”. “Right,” I said after one of our bitching sessions,
“just don’t go to Australia”. “Right,” he replied, “just cancel
the Junglerunner trip”. “No.” was my response. “Well – then
no.” was his reply. And that was that.
Then he left for Sydney, and I left for
Africa to begin the Junglerunner trip. On the plane to Johannesburg
I found myself thinking over and over, “What am I doing? What
am I doing?”. Now I have had many long distance relationships
before, one as close as San Francisco-Chicago, one as far away
as Rome-Dallas, and they have always worked very well for me.
This has generally been because, although living a great distance
apart, I always managed to see my significant other at least
once every month and a half while in these situations. But never
have I been separated by such a huge distance, nor been in such
circumstances, that would make this visiting frequency virtually
impossible. What to do?
I tried to be mature about the situation.
I told Mike that we should put the relationship on hold for
a year until I had finished the trip, then see where we ended
up and if we felt like it, continue where we left off. But considering
that I would most likely end up in the USA after Junglerunner,
and he most certainly would be in Australia, re-starting the
relationship up after a year was highly unlikely. “Lets just
try and stay together for the year and see if it works. If we
start seeing other people, we’ll just tell each other”, Mike
softly responded. I agreed, but silently resigned myself to
the fact that the relationship wouldn’t last long. Not because
I didn’t feel strongly about him mind you, but because I didn’t
think it fair for Mike to be in a new city and not date women.
After all, an eligible bachelor in a new locale needs friends,
sometimes women friends, to explore new restaurants and bars
and generally get orientated.
And then Mike showed up in Johannesburg,
one and a half months after I last saw him. He had decided to
join Junglerunner for three weeks before he had to start working.
As I write this from the back of the Land Rover, Mike is having
a ball driving through the hills of Tanzania at top speed with
his Cure CD blaring. Life is funny, isn’t it?
Who knows where this relationship will
go? At the moment, I am on top of the world and thinking that
this relationship actually may have a chance, despite the huge
obstacles. Of course, if anything happens to change that, I’ll
let you know…