“T and I met serendipitously through a mutual friend in March 2019, when I was studying fashion management in London. Our relationship was long- distance from the start, and the time difference and distance were big struggles. To overcome this, we would fly whenever we could to see each other in person.

Then, the Covid-19 pandemic happened. I had booked a flight to France in April 2020, but borders closed and all flights were cancelled. I thought everything would be fine by July… but when things dragged on with no end in sight, I became quite distraught.

September was when I felt really depressed as work got very busy, and I wasn’t sure when T and I would meet again. To cope, I joined a Facebook group called “Love Is Not Tourism”. It’s a global movement for binational couples and families that advocates that travelling for love should be considered just as essential as travelling for business.

Love conquers all: Cheryl Choo 26 & T. 25

Throughout the year, we could only see each other through a screen, so I’m very thankful for video calls as well as Telegram’s video and voice chat functions. It was important to make sure that we didn’t bottle up any feelings. Whenever I was unhappy, I would just say what I feel, and we would talk through things there and then, making sure both parties were okay with the conclusions and compromises before hanging up.

Our game plan was to meet in January 2021 as T had applied for a student visa to take his Masters degree here. Getting the pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test was quite a challenge as we were worried he wouldn’t get the results in time for the flight. But on Dec 27, T finally arrived in Singapore from Paris. Although I knew we couldn’t hug, I still went to the airport hoping to catch a glimpse of him, and it was such a relief seeing him escorted into the bus for his Stay-Home Notice stay. By the time he got released, it had been exactly one year since we’d seen each other in the flesh.

Right now, our main goal is to simply be in the same place together for the long-term. When you spend so much time apart, you learn to be truly present and cherish the time when you are together. You try your best to work towards something better as a couple.”

This article first appeared in the February 2021 issue of Her World.