< SWITCH ME >

Jon used to joke about one of his friends because he had a German girlfriend - Germany is a culture which doesn't have the best credentials among Spanish people when it comes to having fun and partying. Destiny is cruel. Some time later, he was going to be in the same situation, unable to understand how it happened...

Photo: Runa Leo
Runa & Jon now live together in Barcelona

It all started in Copenhagen. The Danish capital was Runa's favourite city. She had always been fascinated by this country, so it was clear to her that Erasmus had to happen there. For Jon, it was just about getting away from Barcelona and experiencing a new, absolutely different culture.

As Spanish people usually do, Jon was sharing his flat with two other Erasmus students from his country. In January, they had to look for somebody to occupy its fourth room, so Runa brought new blood to the community. "We chose her because she wasn't the typical German," Jon recalls. Actually, neither of them had met any Germans before, but Runa was so funny and warm that she broke down their preconceptions.

"We chose her because she wasn't the typical German."

Living with three Spanish people sounded crazy to Runa, but in the end it turned out to be paradise. "I had the best food ever!" she admits. Manu and Jon cooked typical dishes all the time and she discovered new delicacies such as fuet - a kind of sausage from Catalonia.

The relationship between Runa and John started just like every Erasmus flirtation. They went to a Carneval party - the four flatmates dressed up as The Freggles- and ended up kissing. "I was so drunk that it could have been anybody," John recalls, but a couple of weeks later he asked her to come with some friends to Norway for a week-long trip.

Photo: Runa Leo
Jon and Runa in Norway

"That's when it all really started," both admit. 24 hours together every day for a week, talking about everything possible... They were getting to know each other, and getting to know themselves at the same time. "I remember being in the car. I was giving her a head-massage and suddenly asked myself, 'Oh my God, what am I doing? Why am I touching this girl?'" Jon says. Because if Runa is not a typical German, Jon is not typically Spanish either. He's very shy and physical contact is quite an issue for him. "One night, we had to share a bed because there were not enough for everybody. I wasn't able to sleep for a single minute," Runa recalls.

Back in Copenhagen, both agreed that the relationship could not last after Jon went back to Barcelona, in May 2005. That couple of months were very intense, they continued to get to know each other more deeply and everything was just so free of complications. "The relationship was flowing so naturally that it made no sense to end it," both say. That's why they decided to try a distance relationship or, as Jon calls it, an "Easyjet relationship." They are both grateful to all these low cost airlines, because otherwise it wouldn't have worked.

"The relationship was flowing so naturally, it made no sense to end it."

Runa spent three months in Spain that summer but then moved to Berlin, since she had to finish her studies and work. The next summer, Jon quit his job and took a few months' sabbatical in the German capital. He had never done anything like that before, but that was what he'd learned from Runa: not to be afraid of taking risks. "The good thing was that whenever I had to take an important step in my life, it was the same for her. Our lives were very parallel despite the distance," Jon explains. That made them feel closer and helped the relationship survive, but Jon had to go back - and then came the hardest times. They were seeing each other every 6-8 weeks, scarcely talking on the phone...

"It was taking all my energy and I could not even imagine us being together in the near future," Runa admits. They reached the limit, but fortunately after some "honest conversations" they started to draw up a plan. Because Jon could not leave Barcelona and Runa was still not sure about what to do with her life, she decided to move to Jon's city in October 2008. "What's amazing about the relationship is that although we speak different languages, we have always communicated well with each other," Runa concludes. "I would say, communication is not necessary," Jon adds.

What's next? They are still not sure about it, but "at least now we can both decide on a future for us as a couple," they say. Good luck!

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