(CNN) — British college student Laura was scrolling through social media one day in 2014, when a Tweet caught her eye, and changed her life.
One of her favorite Twitter accounts, which posted updates about singer-songwriter Tori Amos, had just retweeted a post from someone called Sara.
Sara clearly shared Laura’s passion for Tori Amos’ lyrics.
“I was like, ‘Oh, she sounds interesting,'” recalls Laura, who was in her early 20s at the time.
Without thinking too much about it, Laura hit the follow button.
Sara, a then-24-year-old Australian studying for her master’s degree in Sydney, saw the notification and followed Laura back.
Over the next several months, the two women occasionally spotted one another’s updates in amongst Twitter’s melange of photos, news headlines, life updates and gifs.
Then one day, Laura saw Sara Tweeting that she thought no one would notice if she disappeared.
Laura reached out right away.
“Even though I don’t know, I’d really miss you,” she wrote.
A connection was formed.
Laura and Sara, who have asked only to be referred to by their first names for personal reasons, started communicating more and more, bonding over their love of the Guillermo del Toro movie “Crimson Peak.”
Their Twitter direct messages (DMs) gradually progressed from occasional to regular to everyday.
“We just started talking, and we did not stop,” says Laura.
“We literally broke the Twitter DM limit,” recalls Sara.
They switched to messenger app Telegram. Sara, the more natural night owl of the two, began staying up late so she’d be online for as long as possible during Laura’s daytime.
Soon they were peppering their text chains with occasional voice notes. Then they were speaking on the phone whenever they could.
The obvious next step was to video call.
As they made plans to Skype for the first time, playing on Sara’s mind were the potential consequences of taking this connection to this next level.
She figured seeing Laura’s face fill her laptop screen would cement something she increasingly suspected — that she was falling hard for a girl who lived on the opposite side of the world.
“I think we both sort of knew that we liked each other, but didn’t really know how to navigate that,” says Sara.
“There was no way that we could have been speaking as much as we were without liking each other,” adds Laura. “But obviously, when you’re in that moment, you’re still terrified that the other person won’t feel the same way.”
But by the end of their first video conversation, both Laura and Sara had been honest about how they felt, and it was clear they were on the same page. They decided to try and make a cross-continental relationship