River Online meets KU students who have begun long distance relationships whilst at university.

By Francesca Griffin

Love goes the distance at Kingston University this Valentine’s Day

By Francesca Griffin

Most of us have an idea of how we think our lives will pan out, but throwing love into the mix often calls for personal and career-based sacrifices that we hadn’t planned. But would you alter or forgo your blueprint for love?

Valentine’s Day is upon us: a day you either love or loathe. We all know by now that the path to love is never straightforward. Vicki Ansell, a fashion design student at Knight’s Park, never thought that a freshers’ fancy dress night out with her friends to the Hippodrome club in Kingston would change her life. It started off like all usual hook-ups on nights out and Vicki and her new interest, Tom, left with each other’s numbers and met up, in a more sober state, a few days later in town.

Love at sea
“From the very beginning [Tom] was honest with me and told me that he was joining the navy,” said Vicki. “At the beginning I was on cloud nine – who doesn’t like a boy in uniform? When you first tell people your partner’s in the services, that’s normally the first thing they say and I understand why.

“But people have a rose-tinted view, as if you can just write love letters to each other all the time. It’s horrible knowing that the job he’s training for could end up injuring or killing him.”

Vicki admits that the long times apart are hard, but being together when he is home makes it all worth it.

“We go on dates and do silly things that couples do at the beginning of their relationship. I love going to the supermarket and doing the food shop with him, which to most people is boring and mundane. To us, it brings normality to our relationship.

“The same goes for curling up on the sofa and watching TV at night. It’s the small things that the majority of people take for granted which I appreciate the most, because he is away so much of the year.”

Tying the knot
“As for the future, we’re getting married next year and we’ll move to Portsmouth where he’s based,” said Vicki. “Then hopefully we’ll start a family a few years after that.

“But we can’t really make that many plans for the future because his job is so unpredictable. But the aspect of the unknown is exciting, the spontaneity of not knowing what’s round the corner, or where we could be living.”

Vicki views the possibility of having to move anywhere in the world for Tom’s career as a chance for “an amazing life” for their future family. She takes a positive spin on the situation.

“Life is all about sacrifices, but if you love someone it comes easy.”

Love at First Pint
Ella Delancey is a third year English language student and is making a very big sacrifice for the man she loves.

Ella met Lucas Nascimento Brown- Leao, a third-year media student, in August 2010. She had started working at the Acorn20 bar in Kingston and it was love at first pint.

“He saved me. I had never pulled a pint in my life, and Lucas taught me how,” Ella said. “We grew closer and closer and started hanging out besides from just at work. By October we were official. We spent our first Christmas together in his home country of Dubai, and had the most amazing time. By February he had moved in.”

However, as is always the predicament with falling in love at university, what’s going to happen after the three-year student spell is over?

Big Sacrifices in Dubai
“I always knew I was going to study in the UK then return to Dubai,” said Lucas. “Ella always said how she wanted to travel, so deciding to move to Dubai together after we had graduated was mutual decision and one we are both very excited about.

“We both want to work in the media – me in television and Ella would love to work for a women’s publication – and there are lots of opportunities for us out there.”

Ella knows the lifestyle is very different to what she is used to.

“There may be legal issues,” she said. “We have to be married to live together in Dubai, but we are looking at other options too, as we are both young and I want to have a proper wedding. But it is something I would do if we really had to.

“Everything is so different over there,” she added. “Just walking around lots of people stare, but it’s something you get used to. I’ve bought a Burka to wear to the supermarket as that’s quite conservative.”

Ella is currently learning Arabic and said she knows that there are “lots of rules” to learn before moving there.

She said that her mum is “very, very upset” about her decision to move to Dubai after university.

“She doesn’t want me to move over 3,000 miles away from her, but she knows it’s what I want and would never hold me back.”

So whether you will be attending one of the many ‘traffic light’ parties around town, indulging in a romantic dinner for two or getting drunk in your pyjamas with your very best friends, don’t forget to tell* the special people in your life just how much they mean to you. 

* River Online cannot be held responsible for any alcohol-induced confessions or morning-after embarrassments.

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