Photo submitted by Amelia Piecuch
It took 5,326 miles for Drake junior Amelia Piecuch to find the man of her dreams. After traveling to Valparaíso, Chile, last semester to study abroad, Piecuch and her Chilean boyfriend Eduardo Suárez Bustos have made the most of their circumstances.
“I was not expecting this at all. I went thinking, ‘This is going to be a fun semester, I’m not going to have any expectations. I’m not going to get tied down, that’s not what I want, it’s not practical at all,’” Piecuch said.
The couple met shortly after Piecuch arrived in Valparaíaso thanks to a mutual friend and a night out.
She was out at a party with friends when she saw Bustos.
“I was there and didn’t really think anything of him,” Piecuch said. “I kind of ignored him actually. We met there, but it was after that we started talking and became friends.”
Originally from Grosse Pointe, Mich., Piecuch went to Chile to experience a semester full of self-exploration and adventure. Bustos helped immerse her into Chilean customs and culture and introduced her to his family. He shared his passion for soccer with her by taking her to a Chile vs. Paraguay soccer match. These two memories, Piecuch said, were some of the best from her trip.
“I’ve become a soccer fan because it’s such a big part of their culture, and it’s something he really likes, so it was really cool to see that,” Piecuch said.
Despite what most people assume, Piecuch said the hardest part of a long-distance relationship is not the communication itself, but simply “the idea that I can’t hang out with him. I can’t walk over and go out to dinner. I have to take a 14-hour plane ride.”
The two have kept their relationship thriving through the use of smart phones and daily Skype dates and make efforts to visit each other every three or four months.
“Most people say, ‘Wow, I could never do it.’ But when they find out I’m happy, they’re glad that I’m in it. They just assume that it’s really hard,” Piecuch said.
The couple doesn’t have any major upcoming plans but are looking forward to Piecuch’s graduation next spring. She ideally would like to move to South America in the near future, but for now they are just “taking things as they come and not planning too far out.”
“I wanted to learn more about Latin America, and along the way I met him. I learned so much about myself, and I’ve been really happy in this relationship. I’ve never been this happy,” Piecuch said.