Keeping up with Time Zones

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?

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Food For Thought

Do you ever take a moment to reflect on where the world is headed? It’s fascinating to see how advanced we’ve become yet I can’t help but wonder sometimes if we’ve taken 2 steps forward and 1 step back.

Sitting at a café the other day I witnessed almost every customer grab hold of a cell phone at some point, many of whom had company on the table. It’s disappointing that some people can’t hold up face-to-face conversations anymore without having to check their cell phones. I’ve been guilty of doing this on numerous occasions but I’ve been trying to cut down on it. It’s actually quite scary how technological dependent many of us have become nowadays. As a 90’s kid I would’ve never guessed that one day I would own a portable mobile device, laptop, and a bunch of other gadgets. There is no denying that these things have made life so much easier for me and I don’t mean to sound ungrateful, without them I wouldn’t be able to express my thoughts and opinions on this blog for example. I do believe however that there is a time and place for everything, and being that person who’s always on their cell phone when they have company is not someone I wish to be. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying people should quit electronic communication, but there is a time to text and a time to listen and take in one’s surroundings. Do you agree?

On another note, when did handwritten letters or cards become uncool? One of the few things that brings me great joy these days is sending or receiving a handwritten letter in the mail. Texting or e-mailing is quick & simple but when someone takes the time to sit down and write out something for me it truly shows how much they care, and I never take it for granted. For my best friend’s 21st birthday last month I made sure to include a handwritten card consisting of 21 things I love about her along with her gift, and she absolutely loved it.

Ending this post with a quote from Meredith Grey, my fictional therapist:

“Communication. It’s the first thing we really learn in life. Funny thing is, once we grow up, learn our words and really start talking, the harder it becomes to know what to say. Or how to ask for what we really need.”