Separated by 8000km: a Hong Kong-Swedish love story

By Gwendolyn Han,

Sacrifice is part and parcel of a relationship. You sacrifice your money to buy the perfect birthday gift; your own food cravings to satisfy your partner’s appetite; your time to cook a delicious, surprise meal.

But would you move 8000km to a foreign country for love?

This is what The Third Sister (三家姐) – a flight attendant-turned-celebrity blogger – did when she packed her bags and bade adieu to her native Hong Kong, moving 8000km to Northern Europe to be with her significant other, who’s now her fiancé.

Sharing her love story with trivago, The Third Sister talks about the ups and downs of long-distance relationships, exposure to new cultures and advice on Room5g out other good-looking people on the street.

Could you introduce your partner and how long you’ve been together?

Cheng Tsai and I were dating for a few years and now we’re engaged and living in Stockholm, Sweden.

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Cheng Tsai…? Isn’t he Swedish?

This is my nickname for him! Because he’s a doctor, I nicknamed him after the doctor in a TVB drama called Healing Hands (妙手仁心) – it’s really popular in Hong Kong.

We often hear that when couples travel together, their relationship improves and develops further. What do you think?

Absolutely. You should try to travel while you’re dating so you can create memories together. The more experiences you have, the better a relationship you can build, and this is something really precious when you’re in a long-distance relationship.

In the worst case scenario, even if your boyfriend leaves you for another girl, he’ll still remember you every time he visits romantic places with his new girlfriend! But honestly speaking, because it’s so difficult to find apartments in Hong Kong, or rent a flat, travelling gives you the space to enjoy some privacy and have fun at the same time.

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When you travel with Cheng Tsai and encounter disagreements, how do you deal with it?

I usually don’t plan anything before we travel. This means he plans everything and for sure there’ll be something that I don’t enjoy, but I have to tolerate this since I don’t prepare at all for the trip! But luckily most of the things he plans are ok so it’s not too bad.

Where is the most romantic place you’ve been to with Cheng Tsai?

Cheng Tsai proposed to me in Paris and that was really romantic. But if I had to pick one, it would be the times when we spent together in Hong Kong. I remember bringing him to visit many places, such as the place I grew up in, and the time when we went to my grandma’s and cooked together for her. This is very meaningful for me and sometimes I even tear up just thinking about these memories.

When travelling with your partner, what are some of the things you have to watch out for? For example, things you have to bring, things you shouldn’t say…?

You have to be careful about your valuables like your purse and passport, because it creates a lot of stress and pressure between you two if you lose them.

More importantly, if you happen to see good-looking girls or guys, don’t be so explicit if you check them out! Keep calm because you have to be mindful of your partner’s feelings – it’s the person beside you who’s the most important.

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Any places you want to visit in the future?

Yes, many! Most of them are in Asia as Cheng Tsai hasn’t been to many before. However, I have to tell him that not all the girls in Asia are as pretty as me! (laughs)

For this Valentine’s Day, what would you like to share with Cheng Tsai?

Ok, I’ll keep it simple. Just marry me already.

Any tips for couples in a long-distance relationship? What methods can be used to overcome feelings of loneliness and yearning?

There is one thing I must say: long-distance will be painful. The lack of physical contact can make you really miserable. The time difference also makes things worse because you’re always trying to catch each other just to talk.

The best way to overcome this is to move in together at some point. For me, I moved to Sweden to be with him. If that’s not possible, you should set a common target to live together at some point and not simply continue aimlessly.

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Being an inter-racial couple, what has changed living with someone from another culture?

After I arrived in Sweden I’ve been drinking a lot, so now I can hold my liquor really well! Cheng Tsai has also learnt from me to swear in Cantonese. The last time he came to Hong Kong to meet my family, he spoke Cantonese but later realised they were all just swear words! So he just sticks to English after this.

Any last words of advice?

In a cross-culture relationship, whether you like or dislike your partner’s culture, you have to respect it. Because at the end of the day, shouldn’t you be able to compromise for someone you love?