One lonely night on Instagram actually changed my life forever. I have since married my wife…in a foreign country no less. But first, let me rewind. The reason being that our relationship didn’t start instantly on the social media site. While our first encounter was on Instagram, it was very brief. At the time, I was coming to terms about being alone after a long relationship. There I was…34 years old, never married, and without children. Aging, and although 30-somethings aren’t necessarily that old, I did imagine myself already settled down.
Honestly, that failed relationship was difficult on me. I entered a state of depression. It didn’t help that at family occasions I would look around only to realize that I was the only single one, albeit the oldest sibling. My sister would be present with her husband and their four children. The closest brother was married and had two kids. My youngest brother was the exception, but he was only 16 years old at the time. Ever since that epiphany on Christmas, I tried to avoid family gatherings at all costs.
There was hope, though. I told myself I needed to move on. Photography sort of found me. I already liked being outdoors in nature. The difference now is I had bought a camera and was capturing my experiences. This is how I discovered Instagram initially. It was a place I could share my new found obsession with others who enjoyed nature. Next, I was adding followers from all over the world. I liked looking at photos from far away places, in particular, from Asia.
Oh, here we go. My friends know I’m especially fond of Asian women. Not that I thought I ever had a chance of dating one. Really, I just enjoy Asia in general, and have felt that way from a young age. I would decorate my room with Asian decor. I sought out knowledge from religions of the Eastern world. Maybe my soul is just the adventurous type. And, let’s face it, as an American it doesn’t get more far away and mysterious as Asia. So, now that I had Instagram, I began to follow friends from that side of the globe. One of those friends just happened to become my future wife, Ping Ping.
Look, I said our relationship didn’t start instantly. After following Ping as a friend, I received a message. Let’s say I had a healthy, American sense of paranoia about someone from a foreign country sending me a direct message. I was fully expecting a sales pitch to be honest. Her English wasn’t perfect but it was very understandable. Definitely good enough to have a conversation. We had a very basic conversation, perhaps due to my paranoia. Where do you live? Are you married? Do you have children? Those sort of questions mostly. Three days later we stopped talking.
She never did try to sell me something after all. Later, I learned that she thought I already had a girlfriend. White men do have a reputation in Thailand of being playboys. I never was the type, though. Actually, I always wanted to find ‘the one’ and start a family. A year then passed. I was in one very short relationship during that time. Failure again. Don’t ask me why, but my thoughts went back to those messages a year prior. Ping Ping and I stayed friends on Instagram the entire time. I liked some of her photos. She liked some of mine. So I took a chance.
Little did I know just how important that night would be in the bigger picture of our lives. I messaged Ping. Something simple…”it’s been awhile, how are you?” My earlier fears of needing to turn down a salesperson had long been swept to the side. I knew she was just a regular person now. She found out I was being honest when I said I was single. The universe had already tried to join us together and we both almost blew it. Suddenly, we were talking everyday. I had no expectations when I first sent that message. Admittingly, I just wanted a female to talk to. Ping, bless her, thought I was just another horny dude wanting to send a picture of my cock. Yet, she tested me anyways.
She asked for a photo. Secretly, she was expecting a dickpic like all of the other guys that have tried to message her. Of course, I sent nothing of the sort as I find this practice very immature. What I did have, however, was just a normal, boring selfie. I passed the test. She would have quit talking to me that night if I had sent anything X-rated. We started exchanging more normal selfies to each other quite a bit afterwards. Eventually, she hit me with the question. “Would you be my boyfriend?”
Long distance relationships had never crossed my mind before. How do they work? When would you meet in person? I didn’t really know much about the details. “Yes!” At this point, I didn’t even care how our relationship would take form. All I knew was that I was completely drawn in towards this woman. She answered all of my questions about Thailand and about Buddhism. I was hooked. My kitchen was soon full of Thai ingredients as I learned the basics of Thai cooking. I further ventured onto the teachings of Buddha. Come on, I was finally dating the Asian woman I had always dreamed of yet thought impossible to date.
By this time, we were video calling each other everyday. Love had struck from what I found to be the most unusual of places…the internet. The world is definitely a different place today. My thoughts have changed on the subject of finding love through the means of technology. Maybe the reason is because that, while we did meet online, it was organic. It wasn’t like we were on a dating site looking for each other. Yet, we found each other. Chaos or design? I’m not sure on a philosophical level. I only know I took some photos, posted them online, added a few friends, accepted some followers, and eventually ended up married to the most amazing person I’ve ever met. And I owe it all to Instagram.