Her name’s Susan Raymond Tombung, and this is how she found love online:
I’m just a regular girl from Sabah with a talent that helps me pay the bills — drawing.
After earning my diploma in fine arts, I basically became a couch potato.
I get really comfortable for my own good and I shift between making art and binge watch Youtube videos all day long.
My love life in the past involved celebrities and are one-sided. We go on dates only in my daydreams.
P.S. Nick Jonas, I’m still waiting for you to knock on my door.
It all started with me binge watching Buzzfeed videos. I came across a video on Christian cliches that left me breathless from all the laughing.
I could relate to it and thought to myself, “Buzzfeed is doing something right for once.”
Only… It wasn’t Buzzfeed. It was actually Blimey Cow. At that moment, I ditched Buzzfeed and basically got drawn in by Blimey Cow!
I couldn’t stop watching their videos because they were so relatable to me. So, I made a fan art. What else could I be doing anyways?
It was up on my Twitter at first and pretty soon it was everywhere! They shared my art! They even had it on the wall of their studio!
That brought some attention to my Twitter account, including some really strange ones.
At one point, I started getting responses on all of my tweets, including really old and embarrassing ones from one guy with the username @pundidley.
I had to check out who’s exposing me!
I scrolled through his profile and saw a retweet on my fan art. Then, it hit me. I’ve seen him on one of Blimey Cow’s videos. He was a guest Youtuber!
I needed to know who that guy was because at that point, he was really into my stupid tweets.
Chris Howard. That was his name.
I started watching his Youtube videos and I find him really “punny” (so bad, I know).
It’s a little embarrassing but I had a tiny crush on him.
I entered a whole new world
As an active Twitter user, I stumbled upon a Twitter community of fans and friends of Blimey Cow.
A lot of us quickly became close friends, including Chris and I.
It was through Twitter and Snapchat that we started to get to know each other.
My friendship with Chris got even more exciting. We would spend all day sending silly snaps to each other.
Dare I say? We were pretty much obsessed!
After a whole year of us befriending each other, I must admit that I have grown some real feelings for Chris.
I had a hunch that Chris liked me back, but he never really said anything. Bummer!
But then, Chris started a GoFundMe just so that I could visit America.
I mean… who does that?
It’s either Chris is really bad at hiding his true feelings or I’m really good at picking them up.
Either way, him talking about watching the sunset with me when I get to go to America just did it.
One day, the “accidental call” happened.
I received a call on Snapchat from Chris and I freaked out!
My first instinct was to get on the phone with my friend for advice.
“What should I do? Should I talk to him? Should I change? I should change. Makeup! Yes! Not too much though..”
I made him wait…For an hour!
I cleared my throat, practised my “sweet girl” voice, took a deep breath and thanked my anxiety for staying lowkey this time.
It was our first time hearing each other’s voices!
Was it awkward? Yeah… Would I do it again? Heck, yeah!
An entire week had passed and I was pretty upset that he didn’t initiate another call. A lot of introspection happened that week.
Did he not like talking to me? Did I sound weird? Was I boring?
I missed talking to him. I finally gathered enough courage to ask him to call me again.
He jumped right into the idea! Phew!
During the call, I recalled his recent livestream about his crush fails. I teased him and asked him who his crush was.
He finally admitted that it was me but immediately took it back!
Does he like me or not? I was so frustrated at that point.
My blood was boiling because he just wouldn’t admit that he liked me! In the end, I just told him I liked him. No more holding back.
So, who confessed first? ME.
I’m still mad with him for saying, “that was before I knew how you spawned from the depths of hell though” to save himself from a possible rejection.
Later on though, he explained that he was afraid that he would come off as a creepy guy and ruin our friendship.
Meeting for the first time
Remember the The GoFundMe that was intended to fund me a trip to America?
Well, we didn’t reach the goal.
Our online friends who knew about Chris and I got really creative and suggested that Chris come here instead. “Not a bad idea at all,” I thought.
So, we renamed it “Unite Susan & Chris”!
While my online friends were really supportive, my parents were pretty skeptical.
“Jangan kau percaya orang putih. Dia orang tak baik tu.” (Don’t believe white guys. They’re not good people.”)
Hearing that hurt me, but I was too blessed. They started watching his Youtube videos and I could see them change in the way they talk about him.
After a year into our relationship, we were finally going to meet! I was at the airport holding up a sign.
All of a sudden, there was a blackout in the airport! My heart felt like it just left my body for a second. I panicked. Was something bad going to happen?
Thankfully, the lights came on. I looked down and saw a familiar pair of sneakers. It was Chris’s! I could recognize those shoes that I’ve never actually seen in real life!
He walked through the gate and we both got really emotional.
Our first hug, our first kiss, our first touch…
After two years of texting and calling, we’re finally able to look into each other’s eyes and say those three words.
I had to convince myself that it wasn’t a dream.
During his visit, he stayed in Sabah, met my family and experienced our Dusun culture and traditions. Through this, my parents got to like him a lot.
I mean, who wouldn’t?
Despite the hot weather, he really enjoyed his visit, especially the beaches and the food!
Fun fact: Our chicken tastes way better than chicken in America, according to this guy. Good job, satay guy and KFC Malaysia! You’ve done us proud!
We also finally got to make videos together. Since I became a part of his life, I became a co-star for some of his Youtube videos too!
I find it really sweet how he includes me in his a lot of his videos, even though I’m not physically there. He talks about me a lot.
The plus in our LDR
It drives me crazy sometimes, the fact that we can’t be together physically, but honestly, we like it this way too.
Being in different time zones gives us space to focus on our work. When he sleeps, I get to put 100% in what I’m doing and vice versa. No distractions.
Although it takes a little sacrifice to talk to each other, it really built our resilience. It’s either Chris gets up earlier or I would be staying up late. Totally worth it!
Since we started off online, we got used to talking and texting, and find no trouble expressing love without needing to be physical.
Chris and I also understood and learned about each other pretty fast because all we do is talk!
Both of us believe that communication is really important in our relationship, in any relationship in fact.
We make it a point to always talk about things, even when we feel like choking each other!
Throughout these years, we learnt to give each other space when we need it. Doing this really helped build a strong foundation of trust and honesty.
Believe it or not, we talk about hot guys and girls we meet and we don’t get jealous at all. That’s the kind of security we have about ourselves and our relationship.
When you’ve got a partner on the other side of the earth, you’ve just got to be really honest and trust each other.
What’s next for me and Chris?
Like any other couple, Chris and I have imagined a future together. To make it happen, both of us are working really hard to save up for the life we want.
Be it making Youtube videos, commission art or a full time job, we’re taking this a step at a time.
If you’re in a relationship and planning to take things a step further, here are my thoughts:
One — Make sure you’re both on the same page and want the same things.
Two — Never rush into things until you’re both financially capable of taking care of yourselves.
Three — Be confident and secure about each other. If one of you still gets affected by other people, keep working on it. Trust takes time to build.
Four — Love unconditionally. No distance is too far if the love is true.
I shall end this story with a prayer for all lovers out there.
To happy endings!
For more stories about love, read Plucking up the Courage: What It’s like to Confess for the First Time