We give you: IISMA Editorial’s first romantic story
The premise of this story is simple and cliche: girl meet boy, boy ignore girl, girl bake boy a pie, boy fall in love (with her pie), and now girl and boy is in a 7000 miles long distance relationship for just a little over a year.
However, this story isn’t just about girl and boy, but about a principle of life, which is carpe diem, seize the day, seize the moment, or, YOLO.
As a self-proclaimed Independent Woman™ with first daughter-gifted kid-burn out syndrome, I applied for the IISMA program with the same intention as everybody else, which is to gain experience that can further my self development and academic career by studying abroad. I had it all planned, make new friends, join new clubs, and build rapport with lecturers that can help me get ahead in the Criminology Academia world. I was prepared to throw myself into my studies while exploring the country with other IISMA awardees to the University of Leicester. I did not take into account falling in love with the city, and with a British boy, and suddenly, Taylor Swift’s Lover album makes a lot more sense.
It all started with me cooking in the kitchen one fine afternoon. At this point, it has only been the first week of my stay at the House, when I had yet to meet other flatmates other than my own roommate and the two girls from the next room. I left the kitchen to get something from my room, and on the walk back tried to greet a guy in the hallways who just walked past. This guy, with a Cruella-style split-dyed hair then walked into the kitchen, filled a glass of water, downed it, and left, without saying a word. I was bamboozled, to say the least. Then, I made it my mission to get him to be my friend.
Winter in Shirley
My first snow ever. We had a snowball fight then I made miso soup for everyone.
They say the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, and I can attest to that, especially if he has a sweet tooth. So, here’s a few tips to get an introverted white boy to fall in love with you, a step-by-step guide by me:
- Bake him and his friends a blueberry pie when they decided to use your House’s kitchen. Do this because butter and blueberries are cheap there so you can use copious amount without feeling wasteful, and also you have a build-in oven in the House.
- Yell at him for eating ice cream for breakfast the next morning. Bonus points if you make fun of his choice of flavor, cookie dough, because he is a Grown Man.
- Bake brownies for your upstairs neighbors. Have him crash it so he can steal some. Do not let him have some unless he helps. Task him to chop some chocolate bars, then throw flour at him.
- Have him accompany you look for your friend who got lost after a night out at the reception, which is right accross from your House. Have him lend you his hoodie because you got out without a hijab on.
- Keep the hoodie, which happens to be his favorite. Do not give it back to him unless he got you a new one. Tell him it’s because the hoodies smell like him, which you really like. From this point on, you will get close enough to be his friend, whom he flirts with, and just one movie night away from being his girlfriend.
There is this unspoken “taboo” in British univeristy culture in which dating your own flatmate is frowned upon, because generally it tends to go south and make it awkward for the rest of the people you live with. This made me apprehensive at first, but then again, I was leaving in two months, and, as the kids say, You Only Live Once (YOLO).
Our first proper date was a sushi date in Nottingham.
YOLO has been my principle for life. I applied to a prestigious state university, I signed up for IISMA, I celebrated Halloween with my friends until 5 a.m., I volunteered at a charity shop and an art gallery, I went to Edinburgh on my own, and I pursued a relationship I knew would end sooner than later, because, well, YOLO. When you have nothing to lose, you have no problem of risking it all. After all, I would never have this opportunity again, would never have this much money again, would never see this guy again.
But that’s not entirely true, as the days progressed.
There is always something to lose, and in this case, my heart. I realized one day that this isn’t just a fling, a temporary thing. This isn’t like British autumn rain that will drizzle for ten minutes and make way for the sun the next ten. This boy, like everyone else in Leicester, has my heart, and I willingly gave it to him. He was sunlight, a British spring I’ll never get to experience, a blanket of warmth in the middle of winter. There is no greater joy than being with him, and I don’t want to let him go.
Even my paints can’t do his eyes justice.
I remember telling him, you will be my greatest love and greatest heartbreak. And he said, so will you.
For some, the knowledge of incredibly high statistical occurrence of heartbreak in a long distance relationship is enough to make turn them away from this relationship entirely. Not me, though, not us.
I would rather spend two months in love with him than none at all. I would rather have late night video calls than nothing at all. I would take the sadness of missing him then being able to call him for it than missing him while not being able to do anything at all. I would then relish in this happiness until it’s taken away, and even then I would go to the end of the earth to get it back, than pass it up completely.
The Old Indira would’ve frowned at this article, such a hopeless romantic in a world where kindness aren’t rewarded and happiness can only be achieved when you’re retired and old. I know it seems like there are a lot at stake, a lot to achieve and to conquer as we fight for our place in this world. Maybe there is, or maybe I’m speaking from such a privileged stand point. If IISMA had taught me anything, it is to breathe, look around, and take your time to taste the happiness before autumn turns into winter and you’re back to your not-walkable city; before you have to make a choice, between fighting for happiness, or leave to wonder what could’ve been if you just seize the moment.
Created by : Indira Sukmariana
Indira is a cynic-turned-hopeless romantic who is currently studying Criminology in the University of Indonesia. She believes in multitudes: that, yes, you can be an ambitious Student Association President and also someone who will bake you pies and keep a bouquet of fresh flowers in the communal living room.