We've been enjoying a week off for spring break. Our friend Shelby flew in from the US for a visit. Shelby lived with us for 1.5 years, up until we moved to Taiwan, and we've all missed her daily since. It was a wonderful reunion and, like it is with friends who feel like family, only 10% strange and 90% normal to have her here in our new environment.
Over Shelby's visit, we took her to a waterfall, the beach, and all our favorite restaurants. It was fun to have an excuse to do all the fun things (and eat all the delicious food) but mostly we loved that she got to meet our new friends and see what our life here is like.
I'd guess most Third Culture Kids would say the worst part of living an international life is all the goodbyes and long-distance friendships. It really does suck to have your best friends scattered around the world. When Paul and I got married, my bridesmaids traveled from as far away as China and Tanzania to be there. It's been that way since — we usually don't see our closest friends more than once a year. Like I said, it sucks.
But this world is small and shrinking. We gave Anna an old iPhone and she uses it to text a handful of select relatives and friends. She loves having free reign to text Shelby "good morning" and that quick, direct communication really makes it feel like they are not so far away from each other.
And when I said goodbye to Shelby at airport security, my eyes welled up with tears until I looked down at my phone and realized I could continue a previous conversation by simply sending her a message.
I know technology gets a bad rap and I know that obviously, texting is not the same as a face-to-face conversation. But for all the moaning and groaning about too much screen time, not enough face time, etc. etc. I can think of dozens of reasons I'm thankful for technology. And those dozens of reasons all have to do with the dozens of friends I still feel close to even from half a world away.