Mars & Deborah 3:
As Deborah went to the departure hall to fly out of Adelaide I knew that the next few months were going to drag on slowly and that I would miss her like crazy. I just didnt want her to go but that was the reality of the situation. When she got back...
>> Continued




She's From:   Indonesia
He's From:     Chile

Part 1

Well, actually they met on March 17th but in those first two weeks nothing that big happened so we'll keep it short:


On February '98 Alberto, a student from Chile, received the assignment of collecting tourism-related data for his final project at college; he thought "well, that was the excuse I was waiting for" and he got his computer hooked up to Internet. The data gathering took a lot shorter than expected and so he went on to learn how to use his e-mail program.

From ~ The Friendship Page ~ Beto picked up an entry he found in the Guestbbok. It had been made by Ira, a girl from Indonesia, who signed it after getting some friendship-related poetry from the page.





  She wanted to meet someone to help her improve her English so Beto, a Translator & Interpreter, offered himself to be the lucky new net-pal. Of course, he didn't know what he was getting himself into.

By April they were already great friends; the key? Simple, a lot in common and a little blind trust in each other. Without ever meeting these two people found something they had been looking for, friendship, and so they started playing a "you jump, I jump" game (yes, she loves Titanic).

Some interesting changes were taking place in their hearts and even in their faces. They both seemed happier each day and they knew the reason very well. In fact, we now know thanks to Sisca (also known as "The Double Spy") that Ira was waiting for his mails everyday and couldn't stop talking about her new best friend. Sisca, actually Fransisca, is Ira's cousin and she soon became some sort of link between the two; she was the person who noticed these quick changes in Ira's mood and so she told Beto and even suggested him to take the first step.

Needless to say, that only scared him! He didn't now what to think but he had to admit that he had some kind of growing feeling for this wonderful girl he had met. Then, in mid-April, a month after they had met, Sisca and Beto began studying the possibility of a grand-move: he wanted to fly to Jakarta and give it a try. They even had a chat or two about the subject and one day, last days of April, while chatting, Sisca gave Beto the shocking news: she had sent a copy of all the secret planning to Ira and she was delighted to know his interest in her.

Beto had to think fast and so he agreed to have a chat with Ira on May 3rd (or 2nd if you were in Chile) to explain everything. It was time to tell the truth...

Part 2

Ira and Beto had had chats before but never one so serious. It was nearly 10:30 at night in Jakarta and 11:30 in Concepción when they got started. First things first: a few greetings and trivial lines; then they got to it: their feelings.

Since Beto had been the one "accused" of loving Ira, he had to start by doing all he could do. He offered his love to Ira, despite the distance and he tried to explain how serious he was. Ira, reluctant at first, was honest and refused to take part in such a crazy enterprise because she feared he would let her down and hurt her, like some men usually do. She had good reasons to confine herself and maybe it was natural instinct that told her to keep her heart in a safer place.

Maybe this negative answer made Beto try harder, maybe he had already decided not to leave the chat room until he had gotten what he wanted; either way, he insisted and tried harder. Of course, it is not easy to prove your feelings for someone over a keyboard and a screen, but maybe this second attempt made Ira realise that her friend meant what he typed. To skip some details that might not appeal to you we will tell you the end of the chat: they made a commitment of love, help, support and friendship that they hoped would get them together one day.

During the first week of dating they received notes and congratulations supporting the crazy idea. It was also during these first days, on May 9th, that Beto gave her a call for the first time. The details are rather intimate so they are to remain private, but it was a good sign for a good start.

During these first months they exchanged their first romantic mails and it soon became obvious that they were doing the right thing. Falling in love can be a wonderful experience and, in a very special way, they were finding that out by themselves. Two or three days without receiving an e-mail from the loved one seemed forever.

Part 3

Early in June Beto decided to correct a small mistake that had slipped from him: to actually ask her to be his girlfriend. A phone call was the best choice and so he sent a message to Ira asking her to be by the phone at a certain time for he had something very important to tell her. The message only got her worried.

Due to some "technical difficulties" Beto couldn't use the 20-minute phone-card he had bought a month ago and so he found himself downtown at the specified time, with very little cash, and a useless card. With the money he carried he could only pay a three minute phone call, and he thought "it will have to be enough". Believe it or not, it was, and in those three long minutes, that June 6th, they sealed the deal and also added a new date to remember each month in the calendar. Although she was taken by surprise, she knew what to say and once again they re-assured each other that what they were doing, they were doing it with their hearts.

Apparently, giving surprises to Ira became a hobby for Beto because he and Sisca had prepared their next attack: flowers. Sisca's fiance, Matt, was in town those days so they both picked up the best red roses for Ira; the delivery almost arrived late, but the 125 red roses accomplished their mission and Ira received her first bouquet from her new, now official, boyfriend.

It was also during June that they both started planning their own web page An International Internet Romance. Maybe it was a little unusual for them, but considering that they met through Internet, it was a logical thing to do. Besides, by now there were more people interested in knowing the "gory details" (thanks for the quote Matt) and starting their own personal page seemed a good way of sharing things with everyone.

Part 4

Before June ended something big happened.

To make sure that the two lovers didn't have any trouble with Ira's conservative family, the "affair" was kept a secret. Sure, they saw the roses one day and they even knew when Beto called her, but they didn't know that they were already so in love with each other. The plan was to wait until the very last moment, when Beto already had the airplane ticket in his hand, to tell Ira's parents about her newest boyfriend. It didn't quite work out that way.

What triggered this funny situation was a dream Beto had; it was very romantic and so he told Ira about it. She spent all day smiling and when her mum asked her the reason for the smile, she had to confess that she had commited the most beautiful of all crimes and she had stolen her net-pal's heart and given hers in return. Strange as it might seem, her parents took it rather well and only asked her to be careful while playing such a dangerous game; the thing was, more good news for the happy couple: Beto had been accepted.

The thing that did occur during July was Beto's birthday. On Wednesday 22nd he got a phone call from Ira and an e-mail attachment as birthday presents. The phone call made them both laugh a lot (they just click perfectly fine when they talk) and the attachment was a voice recording with Ira singing "Happy birthday to you" to her beloved one. She certainly doesn't have a bad voice.

Also during July they started planning more important issues, such as the airplane ticket and necessary visa. Ira being closer to a good source of information, she took on the job of finding out everything she could to make things easier for him. He, on the other hand, was still working and saving money, patiently waiting...

Part 5

August was certainly a busy time for these two crazy lovers. As we all know from experience, when you are in love with someone you expect to devote him/her a lot of time; at least that's the way it usually is for Ira and Beto. Unfortunately, August was a little different. Let's see.

Asia's economic crisis caused major problems to the company where Ira works; a lot of people left and those who remained were left with more work. Let's not forget that Ira is a secretary and that means work indeed. Arriving late at night, tired, she simply had to stop mailing her beloved one for small periods of two or three days and they both had to live with that.

Beto was getting a lot of work and that also meant less time to mail his Angel. Sometimes Ira had to live with two e-mails in a week. Nonetheless, they keep making it up to each other sending sound attachments and other small surprises.

Despite this smaller amount of contact, by reading their e-mails you could tell that their love was still growing strong and they will get back to normal as soon as they can (that's for sure).

On September 2nd and 3rd they celebrated 4 months since they started dating and that is something to be admired! They are both very patient people...

Part 6

This month started with a phone call from Chile one day before they celebrated their fourth month together. Also, Beto received a pretty good nickname from on of Ira's co-workers: The Invisible Man. By now everyone in their families, at work, and their friends know about their affair and 95% of these people have joined the Support Ira and Beto Club encouraging them not to give up; the other 5% are people who don't look at the idea with that many hopes...

During this month an unprecedented event took place: Ira did not send e-mails to her beau for two weeks! Hard work and stress made her arrive exhausted every night and she found herself without enough energy to type any longer (let's not forget that she is a secretary...). Beto kept mailing her almost every night and though he was extremely worried he managed to survive until that Saturday when he received an e-mail and a phone call from her. A real relief.

Well, they are on the final lap with only two months more of waiting until they meet in real life. That actually means a lot of work and a lot of careful planning because they will only get one shot at this: Beto will arrive in December and if anything goes wrong trying to settle there or relating to his girlfriend he will have to use the return ticket and that will be the end of the love story.

If, on the other hand, everything works out fine they will stay together for God knows how long, and more pages will have to be added to this story! Right now Beto has a booked ticket and a departure date but he will not tell Ira when that will take place; he wants to give her a really big surprise.

Maybe one of the most beautiful moments of the months took place on the 16th, during those two weeks without mails from Asia, when Beto received a snail mail with some photos, a letter, and a beautiful perfumed white handkerchief that belongs (or belonged?) to Ira. A romantic gift that can touch any man's heart.

Last, but not least, October 16th was Ira's birthday, so Happy B-day Ira!

Part 7 (The End)

Well it all fell apart in November. We both agreed to stop emailing and phoning each other and I cancelled my trip to Indonesia. Ira and I have taken separate ways.