Sunday, June 2, 2013

On long-distance friendship.

I've read some good blog posts lately on friendship, in particular this one on long-distance friendship. This is something that I'm still learning to navigate. Long-distance friendship is a very different beast than long-distance relationships. The beautiful ladies pictured above have been my best friends for years, and this photo was taken this past summer, the last time that the four of us were together. Emily (to my left) and Abby (pink dress) and I all met in kindergarten, and Leah (far right) joined us when we reached middle school. In college we all went off different directions but stayed in the midwest, and there were quite a few whirlwind trips between Iowa City, Macomb, Madison, and Beloit, for special occasions or for no reason at all other than needing to see one another. We used to joke about how perfect life would be if we could take the best elements of all our cities and lives and put them all in one place so that we could all be together and still be where we wanted to be. And even though it was a joke, I sometimes wish it were possible.

One of the hardest parts of making the decision to move to the UK was making the decision to move away from my friends. I have never been the type of person to rely on just one or two close friends; I've always had quite a few close friends with whom I've shared different interests and different connections. I miss so many of my friends back home, and I know that no matter how hard I try to keep in touch with everyone, those friendships will change. There are some friendships where you can go months without seeing or speaking to each other and still be as close as ever when you finally do--like Dani, whom I spoke to for over 2 hours a few weeks ago in the first Skype date we've had since I moved here. But friendship feels so different when it loses the face-to-face aspect--or even the ability to pick up the phone and call someone exactly when you want to hear their voice. I miss the ease of giving Abby a phone call, or getting to throw myself on Allison's bedroom floor to rant about my frustrations, my weekly coffee dates with Kelsey and beach afternoons with Avery. I get overwhelmed sometimes by trying to keep up with everyone I want to keep up with, and I'm afraid people will mistake my lack of contact for lack of caring.

I told my mom recently, "I used to browse plane tickets for hypothetical trips to visit Josh; now I look for hypothetical plane tickets home." I've really been hoping to make a trip to the States this summer and I'm not sure if it will happen, but whenever I plan it hypothetically it includes seeing my parents in South Elgin, but it also includes trips to Iowa City and Peoria, New York and Connecticut to get my fix of all the people I miss. The older I get the wider my world grows--states and cities and countries that use to be just names now have meaning to me because there are people there whom I care about. I am extremely grateful to have so many people to miss and grateful for the contact we do have, whether we speak only once in a blue moon, write letters, or catch up through spontaneous Tweets and Facebook messages when something reminds us of one another. You all have a piece of my heart :)

Bonus: You should check out Kelsey's blog here. She's one of my closest friends from Iowa and was part of my inspiration to start blogging, but her blog is about 100x more brilliant than mine and her writing is fantastic.

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