Indonesian Yudi Yastika and Filipina Riza Jurada first met on a cruise ship, Carnival Miracle, that sailed from Florida in the US to Mexico, Belize, Hawaii, Colombia, and other routes.
Riza and Yudi had been working on the cruise ship for three years before they finally met. They officially became a couple in August 2019 and it did not take long for them to decide to tie the knot.
The pandemic hit the cruise industry hard, and Riza had to fly home to Manila. Unable to work on board because of an accident, Yudi remained in Bali. Now, travel restrictions are keeping them apart, forcing them to hold off dreams of a wedding this year.
I’m in the Philippines now. Yudi was supposed to come to the Philippines last year for me to introduce him to my family and friends because we plan to get married this year. I visited Bali in December 2019 for vacation, and in January 2020, I went back onboard. Then the pandemic happened, there was a global lockdown, so our company decided to send home the crew, and I was repatriated last April.
We will do the traditional Balinese wedding. Even if we can get married in Bali now, I think none of my families and friends will be present because of the situation, so we plan to do a civil wedding in the Philippines afterwards.
A long distance relationship is hard; you don’t have any idea until when this pandemic will last. Every time we think of the wedding, we get excited; but we also think about the pandemic that is still here, and it kills the excitement. Sometimes I feel like I’m losing hope, but Yudi is very positive, he keeps on reminding me that there are many couples that are having problems because of this pandemic, lots of couples breaking up, and we need to stay strong, think positive and be optimistic.
The pandemic has a huge impact on our lives and suddenly, our plans and dreams got delayed. We planned to save money for our wedding by working onboard, but it turned out that I could only work for two months, and the pandemic is still here, so we don’t have money. I decided to look for a job, and I’m currently working in a corporate world. We want to keep pursuing our dream so that when Indonesia opens again, we’re ready.
The vaccines are starting to come out. If it’s the only way that I can enter Indonesia, then, of course, I will do it; I will comply with the protocol and policies of each country, including Indonesia, as long as it’s the legal way to enter. Any protocols, like getting that vaccines, swab test, quarantine, I can comply with that.
We planned to get married this year because my contract with the cruise ship was supposed to finish this year. But last February, I had an accident and broke my leg so I couldn’t come back on board. With the pandemic now, we can’t realise our dream to get married in Bali, but we’re still trying. I’m still looking for a way.
Yes, long-distance relationship is really hard. I haven’t seen Riza for over a year now. I always tell her to stay strong, that we will see each other soon, we always talk and support each other. I really love her, and I want to be with her.
I’m managing my family business now, a local radio station and a warung (shop) here in Bali. The economy in Bali is not going well because of this pandemic, especially in the tourism industry. Those who are working in tourism are looking for another job. The sales of my warung are not too good either; sometimes we get less than before the pandemic. But I will still stay strong to realise our dream.