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Students make long-distance romances work

In March, for the first time in four months, Amanda Huddleston will be able to hug her boyfriend.

Huddleston, Kansas City, Kan., sophomore, is in a long-distance relationship with her boyfriend, Ali Bazzi. He is currently in Eaumholder, Germany, and will soon be deployed to Iraq.

Huddleston and Bazzi dated for five months beginning in June despite knowing Bazzi would soon be deployed again.

“I knew it was a possibility,” Huddleston said. “I don’t think it’s a reason not to give it a shot.”

According to an article published in the 2007 Journal of Social Psychology, one-third of all dating relationships among college students are long-distance.

Tamara Mikinski, licensed psychologist and lecturer in the department of psychology and research in education, said the success or failure of long-distance relationships depended on the needs of the couple and of the individuals.

“I actually think it’s not a negative thing,” Mikinski said. “It’s great for people to pursue their individual goals.”

Huddleston said she and her boyfriend usually talked to each other two or three times each day.

“It’s hard, especially because we are on a seven-hour time difference,” Huddleston said. “It’s difficult to find a time when it works for both of us to talk on the phone. It’s kind of awkward because it is early morning for me and late night for him.”

To avoid missing phone calls, she said, Bazzi texted her with good times to call.

“It’s something I had to get used to,” Huddleston said. “I couldn’t just call him whenever I wanted.”

Before Bazzi leaves for Iraq he will have to deactivate his cell phone so his location cannot be traced. Huddleston said she would be able to talk to him on the computer.

“That’s something I am not looking forward to,” Huddleston said.

Huddleston said her relationship made her stronger and helped her see the bigger picture.

“We don’t argue as much, whereas when you see someone every day there is more of a tendency for little stuff to start to irritate you,” she said. “We don’t really get that because we don’t see each other all the time.”

Mikinski said relationships where one person was put in dangerous situations had a unique set of stressors.

“When the person is gone, they are not that accessible to working through things and getting to know each other at a typical dating pace,” Mikinski said.

Huddleston said the hardest part of her long-distance relationship was adjusting to not seeing her boyfriend often.

“Most people can’t get over the insecurity of not seeing them all the time,” Huddleston said. “But I think if you can make it work over thousands of miles, then you can make it work when you are 30 minutes away.”

Paige Hendrick, Leawood junior, remembers when her then-good friend David Dickey, who is in the Air Force, would call her every day for six months from Iraq.

“They are only allowed 15 minutes on the phone,” Hendrick said. “So he would call his family and speak to them for five minutes, then he would call me. It was so meaningful; he is an important person in my life.”

Those phone calls sparked the beginning of a romantic relationship between the two in summer of 2007. In Febuary 2008, Dickey was sent to Germany. Because of the stress of the distance, they decided in April it would be best to date other people. During the time apart, they still kept in touch and talked to each other frequently.

Hendrick and Dickey recently got back together during an 11-day trip traveling around Europe. Though it will be a year before Hendrick will see her boyfriend again, she has a newfound confidence in their relationship.

“It’s when you really appreciate them that you realize that this could be the person you’re going to be with,” she said. “That’s what changed with us. We are lucky to have one another.”

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January 28, 2009 Posted by | Dating, International News, Online Dating | , , , | Leave a comment

In last news conference, Bush concedes some mistakes

WASHINGTON—A wistful and introspective President Bush devoted a valedictory news conference Monday to a robust defense of his “good, strong record,” going further than he has gone before in conceding errors—but making it clear that he has few major regrets about his handling of Iraq, Hurricane Katrina and the other major events of his eight years in office.

The tone of the news conference—the “ultimate exit interview,” as Bush jokingly called it—was in keeping with a stream of recent speeches and interviews that appeared to be aimed at setting the record straight after years of relentless pounding from critics in the media, the Democratic Party and elsewhere. But Bush, seemingly freed to speak his mind as his tenure draws to a close, offered a bit more nuance and soul-searching than he usually does in such settings, pounding the lectern for emphasis at certain points and bantering with some of the reporters with whom he has sparred.

Asked about mistakes he had made while in office—a question that once famously stumped him—Bush rattled off several examples, saying that he regretted his decision to focus on Social Security reform after the 2004 elections, a drive that proved unsuccessful, instead of first addressing immigration issues.

Bush also said hanging a “Mission Accomplished” sign on an aircraft carrier after the toppling of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in 2003 was a “mistake.” He described the scandal surrounding the treatment of detainees at the Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq as a “huge disappointment,” as he did the failure to find weapons of mass destruction in that country, which the administration had claimed, based on faulty intelligence.

But there were limits to Bush’s contrition. “I have thought long and hard about Katrina,” Bush told reporters gathered in the White House briefing room for his 47th full-scale news conference. “You know, could I have done something differently, like land Air Force One either in New Orleans or Baton Rouge?”

Bush’s answer suggested that he would not have done much different in responding to a crisis that even some of his former aides said damaged his standing with the American people. (The White House itself criticized the response in a report in February 2006.) Asked later about what more should be done to help New Orleans, the president circled back to rebut the idea that the initial federal response to the natural disaster was slow.

Although “things” could have been done better, Bush said: “Don’t tell me the federal response was slow when there was 30,000 people pulled off roofs right after the storm passed. I remember going to see those helicopter drivers, Coast Guard drivers, to thank them for their courageous efforts to rescue people off roofs. Thirty thousand people were pulled off roofs right after the storm moved through. It’s a pretty quick response.”

Throughout the 47-minute session, the president’s fundamental point was that he had done the best he could under trying circumstances—two wars, a natural disaster and the biggest economic calamity since the Great Depression—and that history will be the final judge. “I don’t think you can possibly get the full breadth of an administration until time has passed,” Bush said at one point.

The news conference, his first extended session with the White House press corps since July, marked the start of a full final week of meetings with staff and other exit interviews. On Tuesday he will hold his final Cabinet meeting and plans to award the Medal of Freedom to three of the foreign leaders he has been closest to—former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, former Australian Prime Minister John Howard and Colombian President Alvaro Uribe. The White House announced that on Thursday, Bush will deliver a final farewell address to the American people, a ritual dating to George Washington.

Far from seeming depressed about his coming loss of power, Bush seemed largely in good spirits. He opened the news conference by expressing appreciation for the media, even while he said that he did not like all the stories about him and thought, borrowing one of his famous malapropisms, that the press corps “sometimes misunderestimated me.”

At another point, Bush pursed his lips and mocked the suggestion that the burdens of office are too great. “It’s kind of like, why me? Oh, the burdens, you know. Why did the financial collapse have to happen on my watch? It’s just—it’s pathetic, isn’t it, self-pity?” Bush said.

One question that seemed to touch a nerve involved the suggestion by some of his critics that America’s moral standing in the world has been damaged by harsh interrogation tactics, the creation of a detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the decision to go to war in Iraq without a mandate from the United Nations. “It may be damaged amongst some of the elite,” Bush replied, “but people still understand America stands for freedom, that America is a country that provides such great hope.”

“You go to Africa, you ask Africans about America’s generosity and compassion; go to India and ask about … their view of America. Go to China and ask,” Bush went on. “Now, no question parts of Europe have said that we shouldn’t have gone to war in Iraq without a mandate, but those are a few countries. Most countries in Europe listened to what 1441 said, which is disclose, disarm or face serious consequences,” he said, referring to the UN Security Council resolution.

The president suggested that his critics are indulging in second-guessing as he discussed some of the controversial counterterrorism programs he put in place after the September 11, 2001, attacks. “What I would worry about is the Constitution of the United States and putting plans in place that makes it easier to find out what the enemy is thinking, because all these debates will matter not if there’s another attack on the homeland,” Bush said. “The question won’t be, you know, `Were you critical of this plan or not’; the question is going to be, `Why didn’t you do something?’ “

Bush had a little advice for his successor, warning President-elect Barack Obama to expect criticism and be prepared that some of his “biggest disappointments will come from your so-called friends.”

The president said he looked forward to his life after next Tuesday, when he will return to Texas to divide his time between a new home in Dallas and his ranch in Crawford, though he admitted he was not sure what to expect after eight years of being consumed by the presidency.

“I’m a Type A personality,” Bush said. “I just can’t envision myself, you know, the big straw hat and Hawaiian shirt sitting on some beach.” The Washington Post

January 13, 2009 Posted by | Dating, International News, News | Leave a comment