If you’ve clicked on this link you probably know the frustrations of an unstable Internet connection and the sad hilarity of a frozen videocall.
Being in a Long Distance Relationship (LDR) is not easy. And this pandemic has definitely not helped anyone, anywhere since for the most part of the world, international travel is still pretty much on hold or limited. But love conquers all (*cringe) and we make do.
So here’s a list of fun things you can do to & explore with your significant other while we hang in there for the borders to reopen.
- Put on your Chef’s hat
The virtual dinner date is a tried an tested staple in any LDR kit. Good food and good company, What’s not to love, except that the only difference is that one of you is behind a screen. This time, why not try having a kitchen date instead? Pick yourselves a theme and make a meal in which the both of you can prep and prepare for together. It can be anything from:
- a simple pasta dish
- perfecting the perfect steak
- a particular cuisine
- attempting a dish from your favourite restaurant
Feel free to go whacky even and come up with adventurous fusion themes. We did an Indalian night once (Italian + Indian) and it gave rise to Frankenstein-ish meals of tandoori pizzas and smoked duck masala pasta.
Not a good cook? Well, go for something totally fool-proof: INSTANT RAMEN !! Have fun pimping up your favourite instant ramen bowl with your favourite condiments (fishballs, sausages, tamago eggs, seaweed, etc!) and have yourselves a slurping good time together.
Just make sure your phone is a good distance away from those pots and never leave the stove unattended to avoid any kitchen mishaps !
2. Jazz up your Show times
Sit back and enjoy watching something together. There are always the movies, a classic rom-com or a newly release blockbuster . But don’t just stop there. There are loads of other noteworthy genres of performances. Why not try something different, something you would never think of normally watching. After all, the best memories are made discovering new things for the first time & sharing that experience with someone special.
Here are some of our favorite ideas:
- Borneo Jazz festival This was a recorded live stream of the 2021 festival held online. We skipped through the interviews but had so much fun together with the musicians on stage
- Classical Orchestras and Plays. We really missed going for live theater plays and although it may not be the same, I still think watching musicians live brings a whole new level of appreciation of the performance. Check out Joshua Bell performing Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto
- Stand up comedy shows
- Local production house performances. You could follow production houses and look out for free screenings of their plays. Like this musical adaptation of the most beloved Sepet, by Yasmin Ahmad.
- Indie Netflix series. Currently re-watching: The End of the F*ckin World
Best part? You get to enjoy it in your PJs and still have popcorn !
3. Fun & Games , & A Little Competition
Ah, nothing like igniting the competitive spirit to keep a relationship alive. If you’re both not already seasoned gamers and going on fantasy missions together, simple multiplayer game apps like Plato and Houseparty are a good place for some competitive fun. Think party games like mini golf, bowling, card games, etc. There are also games such as Draw Something where you can try to guess what the other people are drawing. If you both are social people, invite some friends to join in the fun and have a group date. Here’s a good compilation of multiplayer game apps.
Or if you prefer old-school, do the same crossword puzzles or sudoku together! & remember, no keeping score after the game 😛
4. Every day’s a Celebration
It is always a little sad when you don’t get to spend the holidays with a loved one. But look on the bright side, the holidays are a great excuse to get caught up in the festivities ! It’s your chance to be super cliched and nobody could care less. I’m a big fan of Christmas and love everything to do with the season. So we came up with an Christmas Advent calendar (which is a sort of countdown to Christmas) filling the different days with all sorts of Christmas-y things. It was so much fun, especially on the days that involved food or presents.
Of course , you don’t need a big occasion, other smaller ones to celebrate together could also include, Winter Solstice (tong yuen night !), UNESCO Heritage days (find out about a heritage state & eat their food!) and many more!
Or just Google : “ What do people celebrate today?” & you’re bound to find something interesting! For eg, July 21 is National HotDog day , National Junk Food day and National Legal Drinking Age day. Woots! And we’re definitely setting reminders for International Lemon Meringue Pie Day and International Bad Poetry day. Check out this site for more weird festivals!
5. Artsy Jam
You may find it surprisingly fun learning how to make something crafty together. And since we can’t go for actual classes, there are loads of simple artsy projects that make for great date night ideas. Japanese origami was one of our favourite hobbies for awhile. We made cranes, butterflies, Christmas trees and even dinosaurs! You could also start art projects such as numbered paintings or calligraphy or write haikus. Or make a video together.
The finished projects could act as a memento of this LDR phase of your relationship. Awww…
6. Get active
Home workouts can get pretty boring and demotivating especially if you’re doing it alone. Schedule a sweat session together and get your workouts in! Not only does it keep you motivated doing it with your partner, it keeps you accountable as well. Plus point? You’ll both have abs to show for the next time you meet. You don’t have to do the same routines but if you do, some fun workouts could include kickboxing, dance workouts and HIIT.
7. Me Time, Together
Bliss is basically a self care sess after a long week at work. Plan for one with your partner to relax and unwind together. Here’s a guide with the checklist:
- Facial masks after a hot bath
- Favourite soothing playlist as background music
- Warm beverage
- Scented candle
Nothing like doing nothing with your partner. Sometimes if we’re too tired to talk after a day at work, we just read books together. It sounds odd and clingy but it kind of feels nice having the companionship while doing your own thing. And sometimes, that is all we need. To just spend time together, doing our own thing.
8. Unboxing Dates
This would require a little bit of planning but it is still such a fun activity. Curate a care package to be sent over to your partner and have them unbox it together with you. It will brighten up their day and the look on their faces will be something worthwhile. You can specially curate it yourself or have it sent through gift shops available in their country.
It is quite a fun activity for the sender and receiver. Here is a to-do list if you’re planning to DIY:
- Set a budget, take into account currency exchange rate
- Get your logistics sorted: Set a date, review couriers, delivery charges and prohibited items
- Fill your care parcel. This is the fun part. You can include stuff that reminds him of you and your relationship such as momentos from the dates you went on together, pictures, their favourite snacks (if food is allowed), or just random things that reminded you of them and you think they would find useful (for eg, he gets super dried lips , so I included chapstick) etc. It doesn’t have to be fancy or impressive, just meaningful to the both of you.
- Write a note. Not necessary but highly recommended.
- Pack and Seal the box securely. There are options to have the parcel dropped off or pick up depending on your courier. Choose one that is convenient for you
- Wait to see the delight on their faces.
Honestly, being the more boring one in the relationship, I would never have forseen myself doing these sort of borderline cheesy activities. But I guess LDR, like all relationships, require love and care in order to grow. If anything, it requires a bit more attention and nurturing than I had expected. The point is to be intentional. It is not so much the activities but rather the spending of time together.
I guess if you asked me, I don’t prefer LDR and would appreciate if we could be in the same country at the same time eventually but, I don’t regret the lessons I am learning from this phase.
Here’s to meeting up again with our loved ones in a safer world soon!