Heidi Zheng
February 9, 2015

My neighbor, also a full-year visiting student, is a gyminatrix who starts working out at 11 pm on a regular basis. Her boyfriend back home, well-versed in player stats of just any team in any sport, aspires to go straight into sports management after graduation. Together, these two take on FaceTime with such an athletic vigor and discipline, that I often find myself waking up to their animated chitchat in the wee hours, confounded as I would be at a real rugby game - they speak a language I do not understand. No, not love; I’m not that bitter. Just sleep-deprived. (A crucial segue: melatonin supplements are illegal in this country. The English alternative, 5-htp, has yet to work wonders with my xenophobic thyroid. But I digress.)

Really, though, I’m not. It’s quite heartwarming, actually, to see them continue going strong. And eleven weeks in, I’ve seen it all. I have a friend who had been long-distancing with his high school sweetheart for the past two years, only to briefly reunite on a foreign land when both of them were studying abroad, albeit separated by a two-hour bus ride. Their steadfastness moves me to no end. Another friend of mine from last term, on the other hand, went home to a burgeoning relationship that had been forever circled around, but was finally precipitated by her absence on campus. Watching their messages grow longer and more frequent was the sweetest. Also a bit creepy, but hey, permission was given.

For the two mentioned above, Oxford was just an interlude; to others, the return marks the real departure. Back in Fresher’s Week, a girl told me about her crush on this guy, with whom by the end of Michaelmas she was touring the city for, je ne sais pas, couples? Now that the girl is back to the States, they have embarked on their leg of the transatlantic journey. Best of wishes, guys! The same goes out to Charles, who has just finished his semester Ireland, and Daniella, still deep in the trenches here with me. I find them inspiring in too many ways to count.

You see, there are so many configurations of long-distance relationship, but mostly just variations of the same motif. Sometimes the tuning goes haywire, sometimes the lyrics escape, but most of us do manage to hum along just fine. What about yours truly, then? Well, I’m doing Walter Benjamin for my Modern Architecture tutorial this week, and Evelyn Waugh for Post-Reformation English Literature, so suffices to say that it’s the best ménage a trois in which I could ever partake. I'm kidding! (Hi there, ma.) Let’s just say the distance I have to mitigate is roughly five seconds, about the time Eduroam, the pan-university wifi that you’ll learn and unlearn to bemoan, takes to load a mugshot-blurry image of your loved ones. But keep calm and Skype on <3

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Heidi Zheng

<p>I am a Religious Studies major and Literary Translation Certificate candidate at University of Rochester, an aspiring academic of continental philosophy and/or intellectual history, a part-time writer and a life-long reader, a connoisseur of all things dairy, a glutton for podcasts, a procrastinator of uploading photos to Facebook, and, for this school year, a visiting student at St. Catz, Oxford.</p>

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