11 AM. Like clockwork, the phone rings. Caller ID shows it’s an Australian number, most probably one of my aunts or uncles calling to check in. I’m still in bed, semi-awake. My mother answers and proceeds to have a gossip session on the latest family drama. When I decide to get up and check my cell phone, I’ve got a bunch of messages from cousins and friends in Australia who have been up hours before me. Fast forward to the afternoon, my phone buzzes again. It’s a message from my friend in California who has just woken up and responding to the message I sent her in the morning. Fast forward again, it’s late evening and my cousin from London is calling on Skype. After talking with her and her husband for an hour or so, I hop into bed, say a prayer, and eventually fall asleep.
That’s more or less a typical Sunday in my household. I hate to state the obvious, but distance sucks. I wish there was a way for all the important people in my life to be close to me because I feel like my heart is split into many pieces and scattered across the globe… Some might consider it advantageous to have friends and family around the world due to the travel opportunities it provides, but that’s probably the only benefit. Nothing hurts more than missing significant milestones in the life of someone I love, and them not being there for mine. Birthdays, weddings, graduations, Christmas, the list is endless. I guess you could say I have separation anxiety because the thought of someone being away from me freaks me out. In a few months, I’ll be graduating alongside the solid group of friends I built over the years after moving to Lebanon, meaning we might have to separate. Alas, c’est la vie, and I’m just going to have to accept it as much as it hurts.
One thing separation has taught me is valuing the physical presence of someone. It’s made me so much more appreciative of the time we have together, whether it’s long or short. I’ve also become so much more grateful for modern day technology that allows for quick and easy communication. Despite having to work around time zones, I can’t imagine having to wait months for a letter to arrive in the mail to hear from someone (though I don’t mind a nice handwritten letter sometimes, especially on special occasions).
Do you have family or friends abroad? How do you deal with separation?