If you've missed earlier instalments of the story, you can find them here: how it all began and truly, madly, deeply.
So, here they are. 18,000 kilometres apart and deeply in love. Not really what you'd call an ideal situation. And if you'd been placing a bet, not many would have given them a fighting chance at this point.
But first let's rewind a little to the moments immediately after that awful airport farewell....the first thing she does after getting home from the airport is to call her parents. She hasn't had a chance to talk to them after the weekend to find out what they thought of this young English guy she's suddenly thrust into their lives. She has barely croaked out a tearful 'hello' before her dad says to her 'so....when are you leaving?' And she will never forgot those words for the rest of her life - this affirmation from her parents that this love is worth fighting for means the world to her. And these words are really all she needs to hear to gather up the pieces of her broken and bleeding heart, take a deep breath and make some plans.
On her measly hourly wage, she calculates it'll take her the best part of nine months to save up enough for the flight to England and enough cash to enter the country with (a minimum $2,000 required on a working holiday visa). In the meantime, they must make the best with the technology available to them. And so they do.
These are in the early days of email, so as much as they enjoy the instant messaging this provides, they still love the idea of receiving written letters with care packages, and they hang out by their letterboxes most days in the hope of the next installment. Then there are weekly $10 - talk all you like phone calls through Telecom which go on for hours and with the difference in time zones means that one or other of them is usually awake in the middle of the night.
And so the days and weeks pass. Christmas comes and goes. And then the most wonderful of surprises - he tells her he is moving heaven and earth to come back for a visit at Easter and will accompany her and her family on a trip around the South Island during his university holidays.
She'll never forget the moment she sees his smiling face coming through the gates at Auckland Airport - followed by his immediate confession and apology that he must look a sight as he's managed to tip the entire contents of a yoghurt pot in his lap just before landing. But she just gazes at him thinking she's never seen anything lovelier.
And this time they spend is full of the most amazing memories, especially the campervan trip around the South Island with her family. How he talked himself into spending all this time in close quarters with a girl and a family he barely knows she'll never know. It must really have been love.
They'll never forget the unbelievable colours of Lake Tekapo and Pukaki, how he accidentally screamed an obscenity in front of her parents while they were doing a bungy jump in Queenstown, how he got stung by a wasp and had to find an emergency doctor to administer antihistamine and how being drugged up seemed to help his mini-golf playing ability that night, how her dad managed to scrape the top of campervan along the Homer Tunnel on the way to the Milford Sound, how the air was so thick with sandflies that they only stayed ten minutes at Milford Sound, how they accidentally parked on an incline in Gore and no-one got much sleep, how he managed to break his tooth on a fork without even trying. These moments somehow more than make up for all those lonely days and nights they have endured until now.
And then as quickly as he has come, he's gone again. But this time it's easier to endure, she knows that in six week's time they'll be together again on the other side of the world. And that she can bear. So she packs her bags, full of nervous anticipation with what lies ahead - a new country - a new family - a new job that she has yet to find - and a new life. For a girl who likes to plan there are still way too many unknowns for her liking, so for now all she has to hold onto is the belief that their love will somehow conquer all.
to be continued...