One of my closest friends just transferred to a school abroad. I want to hear everything about their experience but I don’t want to be too overbearing. How do I find a balance? The time zone is whack too, so once I’m out of classes and can call it’s like midnight there. This friendship is invaluable to me and I don’t want them to forget me.
Long Distance Friendship
Dear Long Distance Friendship,
When I was 12 years old I went to summer camp in Maine for a few weeks. Upon returning to my parents house in rural Vermont, one of the first things I did was go for a walk with my older sister, who I hadn’t seen all summer. She informed me of something that ended up being quite pivotal in my tween life: that I would not be starting 7th grade at our local middle school, but instead moving to Costa Rica with our dad.
For the first time in my life, I was without my mom and sister. I had started school at an American school in town, and was subject to the harshness that is a middle school classroom. My lifeline at the time? My almost-daily FaceTime calls with my best friend, Ellie.
Ellie kept me up to date on the 7th grade politics and goings-on around town back in my hometown, while I would tell her about surf lessons and making new friends and having to order my lunch in Spanish. By December, Ellie and her family came to visit. I have very fond memories of getting to show Ellie around a place that had become a second home to me over time.
I imagine I must’ve been bursting at the seams to tell Ellie about my time abroad, that I hadn’t paused to hear about the trials and tribulations (and joys) about life back home.
However, I can’t express how grateful I was to have been able to maintain a relationship with someone who truly knew and loved me since day 1.
My advice? Maintain that friendship in any way you can; it will be invaluable to them to have that consistent support from someone who knows them well.
You can show your love for them in different ways. If you’re able to send a physical letter, that would be my first recommendation. There is something so special about receiving snail mail that just can’t be replaced. If mail is not an option, a thoughtful email giving them your update and asking them specific questions could help them feel like they have received a piece of home. Making a playlist is always a great gift that costs nothing and can be a less intense time commitment.
The best thing you can do? Tell them that you’re thinking of them, that you love them, but that most importantly, you want them to soak up all of their time abroad. Maybe even give them this message (or a modified version) if it feels right to you:
I miss you!
Explore! Indulge! Learn!
Soak it up.
Come home safe.
I hope these words resonate and some of these tips help nurture your friendship.
Categories: dear kitten, nov 16, trash