How the love of my life and I struggle to keep our love strong

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Far Away

Hello, friends!

As I mentioned in my previous post, my girlfriend is away and we won't be able to chat for a while. When I chat with her I always tell her that I love her and I give her e-kisses and e-hugs. I always feel that typing those things is not enough, that typing those words is nothing like actually kissing her and hugging her and looking into her eyes while I tell her that I love her.

Sometimes an impulsive 2:00 AM cross-country trip is the only solution.
(In our case it would be cross-world.)
XKCD is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 2.5 License

At this point, I'd be happy just being able to chat with her and read about how her day went; telling her that I love her and sending her an e-kiss would be simply amazing.
This is a reminder to my future self to learn to appreciate the small things and not take them for granted.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Hello, friends!

My girlfriend is going on a trip for some days and I won't be able to chat with her. I'm kind of sad and I didn't feel like posting, but I'm just leaving this little update here so you know what's going on.
Hopefully, I'll be in the mood for a longer post tomorrow.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Going to Church

Hello, friends!

As part of my trying to understand my girlfriend's religion a bit better, I went to church with her. It was kind of a weird experience.

My family is Catholic, so I have a Catholic background. I used to go to Catholic church when I was a kid (they are extremely pretty) and I was baptized as a baby. I was kind of expecting to see something similar when I went to church with my girlfriend. What I saw, though, was completely different.

Catholic churches, for those of you that never went to one, have wooden benches and they all point towards the altar and they have kind of like a step that you kneel on when you pray. There are saints, icons, and a big cross on top of the altar and Jesus is on the cross.

The protestant church I went to had many tables and people sat around them. There was breakfast before the service and a band was playing some music. The have projectors and a stage. Jesus is not on the cross (He resurrected) and there are no saints or icons of any kind. More than half of the service was the band playing and the projectors showing the lyrics so people could sing. The people singing had their hands in the air (I had never seen that before and I was quite surprised). I felt completely out of place.

Even though I felt that I didn't belong to that Church, I see that they have a great sense of community and I find that very important. I promised my girlfriend that I'd attend service with her every Sunday, even though I don't believe what she believes. I mean, I love her and I want to spend time with her and this is very important for her so I want to be part of it even if I'm not Christian myself.

I want to know if you'd be willing to attend a church / temple / mosque of a different faith than yours on a regular basis. If you have already done it, did you feel as awkward as I did? I'm really looking forward to your comments, particularly ThatBastardFromBellingham's since it seems that we have a lot of things in common, haha.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Children and religion

Hello, friends!

I'm going back to religion in this blog post.

Although I respect my girlfriend's religion and I want to learn more about it, it kind of scared me at first how I would feel about what would happen if we have kids. I don't want them to feel pressured into any religion (or lack of it).

I have talked about this with my girlfriend and she has told me that she wants to be able to teach our kids about Jesus Christ. I have no objections there, as long as our kids can hear what I believe in (or not believe in) and why. And they should have the option to believe whatever it is they want.

If you're not religious, would you be okay with having religious kids? If you're religious, what would you think if your kids decided they don't believe in the same things that you believe?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

On virginity

Hello, friends!

Related to the last post, where I talked about my girlfriend's religion, I want to mention something else that is very important for a couple.

My girlfriend and I have been together for 3 years now and we plan to be together for the rest of our lives. The idea is to get married in about 4 years. Unfortunately for us (yes, for her too), she wants to remain a virgin until we're married because that's what the Bible mandates (or she thinks that the Bible mandates).

The Bible verse used to support that idea is Hebrews 13:4 which says: "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.". I think that verse is very ambiguous, but to her it's clear that we are not to engage in sexual activities until we marry.

I said unfortunately for her too because she obviously would like to have sex with me and the only thing stopping her is the Bible. I respect this, even though it's very frustrating for both of us, and I don't push her to do anything (that wouldn't be a nice thing to do).

Dear followers, have you ever been in a situation like this? Would you accept it if you were in my position or no sex is a deal-breaker for you? Let me know in the comments!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

About religion

Hello, friends!

Today I want to talk about a delicate issue. As I mentioned before, my girlfriend is Christian and I'm not. I used to be an evangelical atheist but that has changed over time and now I'm agnostic. I really don't understand why she believes what she believes, but I respect it so it's not a problem for me. On the other hand, she thinks that believers and unbelievers shouldn't marry. She bases that belief on 2 Corinthians 6:14 which says: "Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?". She believes that the Bible should be taken literally and she thinks that that verse talks against interfaith marriages. But, even though she thinks she's going against what the Bible says, she loves me and she wants to marry me some day. Her family and friends are not that understanding, but we haven't had much trouble on that front.
Unfortunately, my girlfriend also thinks that unless I embrace Jesus as my lord and savior I'll go to hell. The idea of not sharing heaven with me makes her sad, but there isn't really much I can do about it. I quoted 1 Corinthians 7:14 to her, which says: "For the unbelieving husband has been sanctified through his wife, and the unbelieving wife has been sanctified through her believing husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy". She considers that that verse talks about couples that married as unbelievers and then either the husband or the wife embraced Jesus.

I'll be talking a lot more about religion in the following posts, but I'd like to know if you ever dated somebody of a different religion (or religious, if you're agnostic / atheist / humanist / naturalist). If you did, did it work out? Would you date somebody that has a different faith from yours? Let me know your answers in the comments!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Age gap

Hello, friends!

Today I feel like talking about the age difference between my love and I. We don't find it to be a problem for us, but sometimes it does feel weird. Also, some other people find it objectionable (like our families).

My family thinks that our relationship might not be serious because she's so much younger than I am. I don't understand how they can think we aren't serious while we work so hard to keep the relationship working even though all the differences we may have.
My friends think I'm robbing the cradle (she's not underage, though. As I mentioned in my first post, she's 18).

Her family things that dating an older guy might not be a good idea and that she should find somebody her age. They think I might make her do things that she might not want or might not be ready to do.

For her and I the age gap is not a problem, but it is a curiosity: when I graduated from college she was just starting high school; I was in elementary school before she was born. Things like kind of surprise us a bit, but we love each other very much so they don't bother us.

Have you ever been in a relationship with an age gap (say, more than 5 years)? Did it make you feel weird? What did your families and friends think about it? Did it work for you or was it the reason why maybe the relationship ended? Please, let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

On language

Hello, friends!

After that short hiatus with the tutorial, I'm back on topic.

Today I want to talk about the language difference I have with my girlfriend. Whenever we talk to each other it's in English, since she doesn't speak a word of Spanish. She says she wants to learn, but she hasn't started to study yet. Whenever she visits I have to be with her to do anything because she wouldn't be able to get around without an interpreter. I don't mind doing that, but when I'm working I'm not available.
When I visit I don't have a problem because I can speak English (obviously). But I wonder how it would feel to be in a country where you don't understand a word of what's being spoken. I'd feel so lost!

Language is not really a problem for us (or at least I don't think so). Perhaps she feels uncomfortable not being able to communicate when she's here, but it hasn't really been a problem per se.

So, what I'd like to know, loyal followers, is if you've ever been in a country where you didn't speak the language and if that was ever a problem or you managed to get around. How did it make you feel not being able to communicate with other people?
Also, if you learned another language as an adult, how long did it take you? Did you learn it in college or university? high school? private institute? I look forward to your comments!

Streaming with VLC

Hello, friends!

Since I got a comment asking how to stream with VLC, I'm taking a break from the relationship posts to write a tutorial on how to do that.

First step, install VLC if it's not installed. Second, open VLC.

This is what VLC looks like when you open it.
 Then you click on Media menu and you pick Streaming.

This is the streaming dialog.
Once the streaming dialog opens up, you have to click on the Capture Device tab. There, you have to complete the Video device name option with your webcam. I don't know how this is on Windows, but on GNU/Linux I put the default webcam device which is /dev/video0. You can always stream a file if you want.
Pick your webcam to stream.
 Then you click on the Stream button a the bottom. That opens up a few options for you to configure. The source is already done for you and the type in GNU/Linux would be v4l or v4l2. So we go to the Destinations option instead.

I leave this as is.
In the destinations, I click on "Display locally" so I can see myself while streaming and then I pick HTTP in the combo selector. Then I click Add.
Where do you want to stream to?
Here I pick the port and the path. You could call the path /stream.mkv or /stream.asf depending on the type of container you pick (more of that on the next step). The port should be a port that you can open on your router (8080 is the default).
Pick a port and a Path.
 Once that's done, you have to pick the Transcoding options. There are some profiles already prepared, but you can create your own.

If you decide to create your own you have to name your profile and pick a container (VLC calls it "Encapsulation"). I use an mkv container but do check what works for you.
Pick your container.
For codec I pick V8, but again, pick what you like the most. You can also pick the size of the streaming and the FPS. Depending on your bandwidth you want the size and the FPS to be higher or lower. Just play with the settings and see what works for you and the person receiving the streaming.
Pick your codec.
Then you can save your new Profile for streaming if you decided to create one. After that's done, click on the Stream button once again and your camera should turn on and you should be able to see what your camera is showing. To let the other person see your streaming you provide them with a URL like this: http://YourIP:ThePort/StreamPath.container. For example: ( is localhost, obviously). To find out your IP use ipconfig in a Windows terminal or ifconfig in a GNU/Linux or OSX terminal.

That's it. Let me know if you try it and it doesn't work for you or if you have any doubts or suggestions. If you try it and it works for you, I'd also like to hear it!

PS: There's a poll on the right of this blog. Vote on it if you haven't yet!

Sunday, July 17, 2011


Hello friends!

Thanks for all the comments in the previous post. For those of you that mentioned Uberman, I don't think that would work for a very long time. Besides, I have work and I can't stop every so and so minutes to take a nap and skipping naps is bad for that kind of program.

Now, for today's post I was thinking about how decisions affect a couple and how those decisions are even more important when distance is part of the equation.
I have a job that's not paying me as much as it should right now. I'm sure that I could get a better paying job if I looked for one. The problem is that if I switched jobs now I wouldn't get vacations this year. No vacations means no time to visit my girlfriend. More money means it's easier to buy a plane ticket. So, it's not an easy decision.
Another decision she has to take now is where she'll go to college. Going to college in the US means that, depending on what kind of courses of studies she goes for, she'll be staying in the US for 2 to 6 years. She could technically transfer her credits to a university over here, but that's always very complicated. She could study here, but she doesn't speak the language yet, so she wouldn't be able to start right away. Also, over here we have free university (free public university, that is), whereas in the US it is very expensive (even getting a scholarship you always have to pay something).
Ideally, I'd want her to move over here, but that's practically impossible at the moment. I would move over there, but I wouldn't be legally able to work. So for the time being we have to remain separated.

I'd like to read from you now. What's the toughest decision you had to take in a relationship?

I'm waiting for my girlfriend to get online now. I'm staying awake tonight!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Time difference

Hello, friends!

I'm very grateful for the suggestions for presents. All your ideas are very helpful and very important to me and I value them a lot.

I'm kind of sad, frustrated and angry right now because my girlfriend got online while I was taking a nap, so I didn't get to chat with her. Time difference is another problem we have to face. She gets online at night using her mother's phone (I think she has one of the AT And T cell phones that do tethering or something like that, I'm not sure... I don't want to lie, but I think it has Android in it) and her mom comes late from work. Unfortunately, that means that to chat with her sometimes I have to stay up till very late and then be a zombie at work in the morning. I try to take naps to compensate, but sometimes she gets online during one of my naps, like it happened today.

She doesn't have a normal internet connection or a landline phone. She can't get good service where she lives. Perhaps she could get a cheap mobile phone (ie.: not one of the AT and T phones like her mom has, but maybe one of the att prepaid ones I guess) so she could have a number I could call to at any time. I'm sure I could get a decent international calling plan to talk with her 30 minutes a night when she can't get online.

Anyway, her mom might have the day off tomorrow, which means I'll be able to chat with her during the day and for a longer time. Wish me luck, everyone!

Since I know she won't be getting online now, I'm going to sleep. Good night!


One problem we always have, my girlfriend and I, whenever there's a celebration –anniversary, birthdays, Christmas or whatever– is getting presents for each other.

Shipping something is kind of expensive and we both agreed that it's not worth all the trouble, so we avoid that. Usually we do things for the other that can be shown or sent online. One time I wrote a poem for her. Another time she sent me a gazillion pictures. We have also exchanged videos, voice recordings of short stories we like and online postcards.

The option is getting an actual physical present and saving it till we get to see each other in person, but then we don't get the presents on the supposed dates, so it doesn't feel the same way.

For those of you that have or had long distance relationships, how did you manage this? Did you pay attention to the act of exchanging presents at all? Did you like the presents you got or would you have rather waited for a physical present?

I enjoy the presents my girlfriend gave me, but sometimes it's frustrating seeing a book or a movie I know she'd like and having to wait so long to give them to her.


Hello, friends!

I want to thank you all for the recommendations for the webcam applications. I'll try some of those options to see how they go.

Now, here's a question for all of you: if you were in a relationship and your boyfriend/girlfriend had to go on a trip for 6 months, do you think you'd be able to remain faithful?

My girlfriend and I see each other sporadically, so we have to trust each other in that regard. It is not difficult for me to be faithful because I love her and there's no other girl that I would like to be with. Luckily, this one aspect that a lot of people would struggle with is not a problem for us.

If you have been in this situation, how did it work for you? If you haven't been, what do you think you'd do?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

When bad software is an advantage

Hello, friends!

My girlfriend and I one day decided we wanted to see each other besides just chatting. Unfortunately, taking a plane every weekend is kind of outside our budget, go figure...
We both use free software, so after trying different clients we settled for amsn to cam. Why go for a proprietary network? Simple: both my girlfriend and I have horrible connections; the cam implementation in the Windows Live Messenger network is just horrible, it goes frame-by-frame. Luckily, this was an advantage for us, because we wouldn't be transmitting or receiving as much data and it wouldn't make our connections choke. Seeing each other frame-by-frame was better than not seeing each other.

Jabber/XMPP works like a charm, really smooth and everything... on a normal connection. For us it gets all pixelized fast.

Unfortunately, Microsoft changed the protocol for their cam exchange in Windows Live Messenger, so we have to wait until the new version of amsn comes out.

In the meantime, I'm using VLC to stream to her. At least she can see me!

Do you guys have any suggestion on what to try? Only free software, please (ie, not Skype because it's proprietary). I was going to try SIP with Ekiga / Qutecom, anybody has a good / bad experience with that?

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


Hello, friends.
Yesterday I was chatting with my girlfriend about the time we met. We were reading all emails and stuff like that. I thought it was very funny that when we started to get to know each other she always thought I had a girlfriend. She said she was very interested in me, but for some reason she was definitely sure that I was taken.
For instance, she asked me what I had planned for Valentine's day, trying to find out if I had a date, but Valentine's day is not really celebrated outside the US (at least not where I live), so she never got an answer. Confusions like this made it so that it took longer for her and I to get together.
I mean, I really liked her, but I had no signal that she was interested in me. I didn't want to tell her I liked her, because of the distance, the age difference, etc, but if I had had a clue that she liked me then I would've told her earlier. She gave me no signals because she thought I wouldn't be interested in her (why would I if I already had my woman?).
What I don't understand is why she never asked me straight away if I did have a girlfriend. She said she was trying to be conspicuous, haha.

Anyway, eventually I mentioned I didn't have a girlfriend and she told me that when she found out she was very happy that she may still have a chance with me. I really love her, so I'm happy that she was happy, haha.

That's all for now. I'll try to update every day. It will get to the point where I post regarding the problems of age difference, different spiritual views and long distance, but I feel you should get to know about us a little bit before I get into that.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011


Since this is the first entry here, I should say a bit about my motivations to write this blog.

My name is Charles and I'm 27 years old. I live outside of the US. I have a good job, I have a lot of friends and I'm not religious. I fell in love with Anne, whom I met online. She's 18, lives in the US and is a Christian.

I got to know her because we frequented the same Second Life places. In spite of the long distance, our different cultures, different languages (English is not my mother language), different spiritual beliefs and age difference, we think we're made for each other and we think our relationship is only getting stronger. This blog will be a way to show the world how we manage to do that and how love conquers all.