At one point I was in a long-distance relationship with my boyfriend. For over a year and a half I created a new life here in Hong Kong while JB continued his in San Francisco where I left for an amazing job opportunity. Whenever I mentioned that I was in long-distance relationship, people would say, "Ah, that must be really difficult - most couple I know eventually broke up."
Thanks for the vote of confidence.
I was determined to make this relationship work and in an age where we have email, Skype, Whatsapp, FaceTime (need I go on) I felt there was no excuse why a long distance relationship could not work. Don't get me wrong - there were many moments of weakness but it was not like I had to a mail a letter that would take months to be sent overseas, agonizing the day I would receive one in exchange and fearing my own letter would be lost. Anyways, from this distance was born something called "The Countdown." We would see each other three to four times a year, each time marked with the commencement of a roughly weeklong themed-email exchange to "countdown" the days until we would see each other.
For our first countdown we exchanged pictures we found online that included the number of days left. Simple enough.
For another we shared pictures of things quintessentially Hong Kong from thirteen black sesame dumplings to eight bags of goldfishes that you can see at the Mong Kok Fish Market. Again, the number of things in the photo had to correspond to the number of days left.
We tried to get a bit more creative and did a music-themed countdown, sharing a song that containing the number of days left. It was a great way to discover new music and to listen to a few classic oldies. How can you not love Craig David's 7 days?
Day 11: Bears - Eleven a.m.
Day 10: The Beautiful Girls - 10:10
Day 9: Sonny Boy Williamson - Nine Below Zero
Day 8: Rufus Wainwright - Dinner at Eight
Day 7: Norah Jones - Seven Years
Day 6: Of Monsters & Men - Six Weeks
Day 5: Asura - Take 5 (ft. Dave Brubeck Quartet)
Day 4: Mary Chapin Carpenter - 4 Tiananmen June 1989
Day 3: Elliott Smith - No Name #3
Day 2: Spice Girls - 2 Become 1
Day 1: Amerie - 1 Thing
Day 11: U2 - 11 O'Clock Tick Tock
Day 10: The Black Keys - Ten Cent Pistol
Day 9: The Temptations - Cloud Nine
Day 8: R.E.M. - Driver 8
Day 7: Craig David - 7 Days
Day 6: The Wallflower - 6th Ave Heartache
Day 5: Luniz - I got 5 on it
Day 4: David Cook - 4 Letter Word
Day 3: Matchbox Twenty - 3am
Day 2: Will Smith - Just the two of us
Day 1: Ne Yo - One in a million
And my personal favorite - a photo a day of the cutest puppies one can find. I desperately want to get a puppy so this was the closest to the real thing without assuming all the responsibilities that come with having an animal. There was a whole lot of "Awwwww!" and “So cute!” going on for this edition.
Now that JB and I are together in Hong Kong there are not that many opportunities to do these countdowns. When I found out that he would be going to Barcelona for a week I jumped at the chance to revive this tradition. I happened to be browsing on an interesting site called Forty Days of Dating and was immediately struck by this visual. "Connect-the-dots" is something I am pretty sure everyone has done once in her/his life - to me it is extremely nostalgic and beautiful in that as you connect each dot you are in essence becoming the artist.
Inspired by this, I created seven connect-the-dot cards for JB to take on his seven-day trip, each with something iconic to Barcelona or Spain. And to ensure that he was not just drinking and partying and did in fact do some sightseeing and cultural activities, he was also asked to identify each image.