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This is Ivica

by Guest

…continued from the March 21st 2013 entry, "This is Karina".

Sometimes we are all witnesses of how life can be weird and magical…

On one fine spring day in 2010, my brother Sladjan came in my room asking me go outside and help him with his English. It seemed that he had invited two foreigners to be our guests, a typical gesture from my older bro. He was the kind of guy who really loved life, loved people. He was always helping others and liked to give good and useful advice!

After a few minutes, I came out and met Tara and Tyler. We spent about half an hour having juice, cookies and a nice conversation about their journey and adventures. I'll never forget that wonderful day. At the end of Tara and Tyler's visit, they gave me a postcard with their contact information. Shortly after, I sent them a friend request on Facebook…

…a couple of days later, a beautiful woman sent me a friend request as well! It was Tara's best friend Karina. We chatted a few times but it was nothing serious because I was in a relationship and am a loyal guy. But occasionally I would comment on some of her very nice photos. After a few weeks she started to date someone and I even commented that they were a “cute couple”!

Fast forward two and a half years…

At the end of October last year, I was single and said, “Hi, Karina. How are you?” on Facebook. Our conversations started out being very nice and after couple of days she suggested we Skype. I agreed, and we began something new and totally strange for us: a Long Distance Relationship! I have to say that before Karina, I didn't believe that long distance relationships could work, but now I was starting to believe. Our braveness was rewarded as we opened our hearts to one another.

Our Skype sessions were filled with stories, jokes, lists of things we appreciated about each other, sometimes with fears and tears. We Skyped almost every day and we were so good at it. A lot of questions were asked during our 5 months of cyber time, serious and silly ones like: Are you a cuddler? Are you dating other people? Do you like garlic? Would you show me your underwear? and many more…

Kari wrote me some beautiful poems and sang amazing songs just for me. I would send her music videos, text inspirational quotes and even wrote and recorded several lists of things I liked about her so that she could listen to them on days she missed me. We even watched our favorite movies together while being so far away from each other!

Through Skype, the Kari and Ivica Team overcame our fears, language barriers, insecurities, and dramas. We were solid, brave and loyal, and determined! Kari really wanted me to be happy and I felt the same, even though we were so far away from each other.

(We also stayed in touch by sending lots of letters, postcards and packages to each other. She sent to me her favorite Eagles of Death Metal T-shirt and I sent to her my "Be dissident" shirt, the one from the original picture of myself that caught her eye.)

Serbian Father and Son

In January, Karina went to Chile, and I went to Austria for holiday. We both enjoyed our traveling adventures and spending the winter holidays with our beloved families, but somehow we thoroughly felt the absence of the other even more. It was a hard time that only continued to get harder. Suddenly on 22nd of January my brother Sladjan passed away very suddenly, a terrible loss for my family and me. Kari was there in spirit and gave me so much needed support. She truly wanted to be with me at that hard and painful time.

Before her Chilean holiday, Kari booked the flight to come and see me. Someone might say that was crazy but I say that was a glimmer of hope for us. We felt so much from so far away that we really wanted to see what we would be like in person. Day by day, week by week, time passed, until eventually the 22nd of March came, and I went to the airport to meet Kari!

After so many hours spent together on Skype, finally she was there in front of me. She was much prettier and smaller than I expected—Skype can be deceiving! I`ll never forget the moment when I saw and hugged her for the first time. Beautiful, soft and lovable Karina! We felt so many good emotions in that moment, as we laughed, kissed, and held each other sweetly, just like in a movie. When we finally let go of one another, our Macedonian taxi driver, Goran (the only witness to our meeting), shouted:

Ivica & Karina
Hey Romeo and Juliet! Over here!

We then spent four wonderful days in Skopje, Macedonia and four days in my hometown of Vranje, Serbia. We visited some nice museums that were so financially starved they couldn't afford to light all of the exhibits, and so we wandered around the dim halls staring at history and holding each other close. We visited the Matka canyon with its breathtakingly craggy hills, beautiful green waters, and the 14th century Orthodox church of St Andrews. We had long walks that would occasionally include a piggy back ride, a slow dance, or an imaginary ice skating rink below our feet. There were many good dinners and lovely nights.

Karina Lighting Candles in Church Karina & Ivica

Of course, we had some troubles, but life without them is so boring! For example, on our way to dinner one night, Karina lost her wallet with her passport, credit cards, and cash! After an exciting two hours running back and forth on the street, visiting the police station and talking to the US Embassy about getting an emergency passport, the wallet was returned by our wonderful new Romanian and Macedonian friends, Gabriel and Sasko. Thanks, guys!

Karina & Good Samaritans

Finally I've found the woman I really care about, who cares about me, too. Kari is a priceless gift from my brother Sladjan and my friends Tara and Tyler. I'm so grateful to them! Kari and I want to move on to the next step and we are hopeful, fearless and brave enough to do just that. We are so proud to have such a strong and deep relationship!

Karina & Ivica