This post is dedicated to all the hopeless romantics of International Student House Fall semester. Those who are interested in that special someone and are feeling the pangs of that attraction – the happy and the unhappy kinds. It is also dedicated to opposite end of the spectrum; hardcore cynics.
It is that time of the year…
Chillier weather outside, lots of work inside, intermittent chat breaks in the dining hall. More people are spending time together. You see the same people day and night. You dine with them, you have breakfast with them. You see them at their best and worst. It’s only natural that the “forces of nature” come into play. You know what I am talking about – the forces that show you there is a special someone for you in the house.
I would guess, 75% of the residents in our house have had a crush on another resident in the duration of their stay. Some of these crushes led to long term relationships, for some it was just a trend of the season, but for the remaining, it was a hopeless infatuation.
Til yesterday, that person was just one among the many dear “inmates”. But suddenly, you realize something has changed inside you. You wish to see that person more often. This is how it begins. You feel your heart weighs a ton when he/she walks in. Your tongue freezes and you are your awkward self when you are talking to that person. You drop things. You stutter when you talk. You feel sick (in a good way). You palpitate. You can hear your heart beat like the bass at the discotheque.
You feel alive and it seems like every cell in your body is smiling…You are walking on clouds…You try to reason it…Why are you attracted to this person? What makes him/her unique from the remaining crowd? Is it the Italian accent? Or the crisp English manners? Or the conventional belief systems they have? Or the similarities that connect you? Or the fact that she is distinguishably different from the rest of the crowd in the house (at-least to you)? Or his lonely and awkward disposition? Or her Jacky Kennedy like elegant looks? Or her German demeanor? The way that person cracks you up? Or is it a friendship slowly blossoming into romance without one of you realizing it?
Suddenly, you start seeing that person everywhere (or you think you are). Sometimes, you wish for your crush to walk by so badly when he/she does walks in, it feels like it’s magic (especially when you put in that extra effort to look good and it would be a waste if they didn’t see). This happens several times and you feel like you have supernatural powers to make them appear out of nowhere. You forgot the fact that it’s a small house with just one coffee machine (its just odds, nothing magical). It feels like you won a lottery of some kind.
You steal glances. Sometimes that lingering eye contact (that you may have imagined) makes you feel like time froze over…Your day is made from that one glance…
All in all it is an amazing feeling!!!
Love is love no matter where you are and which culture you come from…ISH is a perfect setting to witness that…
But I think, unless you practice caution, this is a very risky state to be in…It gets to be the exact opposite of Euphoria!!
The next thing you know, your friends are trying to block you from entering the dining hall as if it is some crime scene (they know it better; you wont be able to take this sight). But, despite the warnings, you still walk in and see it. There it is – your crush is interested in someone else. You haven’t seen her/him so lit up when talking to anybody else in the house. It is almost like your crush swallowed a hanger before sitting down with the other person – can’t stop smiling. And all you want to do is disappear from the face of the planet. This happens again and again and you suffer a slow death from inside. Your beautiful dream just turned into a nightmare. If you are lucky, your romance will also end after witnessing your crush with someone else and you might just snap out of your “crush-hood”.
Remember that statistic I mentioned earlier about 75% of residents having a crush on other residents. Well, 80% of those don’t end up in a relationship or anywhere.
But then, that is the good thing about ISH. As much as it is easy to fall for that someone, it is also easy to move on to the next person. As the famous saying goes, “there is other fish in the pond”. Do I hear a French accent from the new resident? It is music to the ears and a sight to sore eyes. Added bonus – This one can actually maintain a witty and engaging conversation too. It is probably a sign from the universe to move on.
On a serious note, you would be very selfish if you are frustrated and angry to see the person you claim to love so much so happy and lit up with someone else. Remember, the true sense of love is not about you, it’s more about making the other person happy. If you are not happy to see your crush’s happiness, it’s a litmus test to tell that you never loved that person in the first place. You were looking for validation for yourself in him/her. You were just measuring yourself against that person to make yourself feel good.
Feel happy for him/her and move on to better goals in life. It’s just not meant to be and the right person is yet to come. Measure you against yourself. Set some difficult goals and try to achieve it – trust me it will feel a lot better than measuring yourself against someone else.
What gives me the right to talk about all this stuff? I agree, I am no expert…But, I am married for 12 years which gives me a slight (stress on the word “slight”) authoritative edge to talk about love and relationships. Who can figure it out completely anyways? And it is/was so different from how I experienced it, but I don’t need to experience it firsthand to know about it.
Years later when we think about our awesome stay in ISH, an unrequited love story, if it happened, would only add more flavor to our memories.
So let’s take the euphoria from the experience and leave the pain behind. Let us keep the romance in the air and not let it get under our skin. Let us make the most of this beautiful fall semester with productive enthusiasm and aspirations for our better future.