This is when it starts getting cheesy – On how I found happiness

Posted on August 29, 2010


For this edition of the blogsherpa bloggers carnival, hosted by Sash @ barefoot ink entitled ‘love on the road’ (which will be up soon), I ended up unearthing a text I wrote over one year ago, and which perfectly encapsulates how this topic relates to my life. To understand this text better, you need to know that I once had a long-term and (for about 70% of the time) long-distance relationship with a Korean. Because I thought the relationship was shaky, I travelled to his country for one month to see whether it could be fixed and whether it was worth it, only to return back home and decide that it was not. But love still had plenty of surprises left in store for me, and soon after I fell in love with Ferenc, my present Hungarian partner, and moved to his home country Switzerland, where I still am today. So here it goes…


 It seems almost ridiculous to me how we fight so much for things for which we are doomed to fail from the start and then, when something natural, effortless and perfect comes along we get the feeling that it’s too good to be true and are suspicious. This being one of the most paradoxical aspects of our lives, it teaches us never to let our guard down, and to walk this earth with both eyes and mind wide open. Most importantly, it has taught me to have a little bit of faith in whatever it is that governs our existence. Understanding when to keep clashing swords and when to let them clatter onto the ground will always be impossible and will only be known in the irony of retrospective.

While I can feel that my story is being written somewhere in the pages of an invisible book, the genre keeps changing constantly and throwing me off balance. The last chapter I wrote had all the flavour of the contemporary postmodern fiction I love so much, with its anti-heroine’s inevitable failure and the consequent lack of closure open to many interpretations. It is therefore not surprising that when the subsequent chapter opened with the words ‘once upon a time’ and featured a man with the name of an 18th century Swiss count, I would be slightly confused. This does not, of course, stop me from walking forwards (in high heels to compensate for the height difference) and, for the millionth time, wondering what my purpose is and how and where it will be written.

Throughout my month in Korea, I regularly updated my blog, posting amusing anecdotes and pictures for my small group of followers around the world. But nothing of the inner turmoil I was experiencing transpired, none of the doubts about my present and future relationship with my partner. That was something completely private, something which I did not, indeed, could not explain to anyone, not even to myself. In that area of my life no dictionary or translator could help decipher the labyrinth of his mind, there was no map detailed enough to allow me to navigate it without getting completely lost, nor a prepaid card which would allow me access to his thoughts. Because how could I explain to anyone that, while being a mere hour by bus away from each other, we were more distant than ever? How could I write about the endless number of broken promises and the tide of disappointments which did not ebb? I can count on my fingers the number of times we met during that month, and there were very few moments when he was the man I remembered, and not the one oppressed by responsibilities and expectations about his future. That mental distance was frightening to feel, more frightening than anything else in the world. It would haunt me for a long time and it rang one million alarm bells which screamed that despite the fight I was putting up, our relationship was past saving, and indeed, might never have made any sense at all.

I did not write about the moment I told him I didn’t want to see him again, when after the umpteenth cancellation and postponement I couldn’t take it anymore. Nor did I write about the following few days spent hidden in my room with not even enough energy to go out and buy dinner. When my anger subsided, I was the one to contact him again and tell him I could not imagine my life without him. Somehow we made up, but it was not the same and it would never be the same because, at least from my point of view, too much had been lost and broken. My will to hold on to him could only be explained as being irrational and almost idiotic. My love for him was a love which was beyond my understanding. I knew that in one million ways I could live without him, but in one million ways but one, I just didn’t want to. He had inscribed himself nowhere in my life except in my deepest dreams and desires. Photographs could be cut into shreds and burnt, emails and phone numbers deleted, gifts given away, but the footprints left in the sands of time would take much longer to be blown away, and I guess I was far too stubborn to give them up yet. Despite the apparent stupidity of my decision, I would never regret it, despite what would happen next, because that month in Korea had been the stuff of magic. It had opened my eyes to the endless possibilities in front of me and taught me never to be afraid of taking risks, no matter what the end result would be.

When I went back to my country I found I was even more reluctant to trust him than before, but again, for some strange reason, I decided to give it another try. A couple of months passed. The cancellations and the postponements continued. Words dwindled and silences lengthened as we looked at each other over two webcams six thousand miles apart. And then he wanted to be left alone because his life was too much for him, and he expected me to be there when he decided to come back. The alarm bells rang even more loudly, and the harsh reality hit home. I realised that chapter of my life was reaching its end, and through rivers of tears I prepared to write the closing paragraph. But before I could do that something impossible happened, completely out of the blue. Before I could write that final full stop, a new character walked into my story. He was not completely unknown but, circumstances or, i liked to call it serendipity, made things happen in such a way as to make me see him under a completely different light.

How did it happen? I have no idea. A new chapter started pushing itself on the one which had not even been properly closed yet, and it had the makings of a crazy story. It was a story involving sand paper, pole dancing, facebook chats, a broken toe, Canada and chocolate among other things. Most surprisingly, it felt as if destiny was reading my mind and then supplying him with a script with perfect answers to all of my questions. It took me a while to relax, to understand that this was really what I wanted and needed and to abandon myself completely to the ecstasy of this new experience. I guess I had got used to the idea that happiness was something one had to fight for constantly and was not really the sort of thing you just found waiting for you around the corner. When this seemed to be happening, I was certainly baffled but also pleasantly surprised.

Another chapter, another story, a completely different genre and god only knows which setting. Life was once again flaunting its unpredictability in my face, and this time, rather than crying, I was laughing my head off and enjoying the challenge thoroughly. And my modern-day prince was there next to me, ready to embrace all my madness and peculiarities, and it seemed, with no intention of leaving.

-Text and Photography by Denise Pulis @