Over the past half decade, my social network has literally thrown a net wide and arched itself across the globe, very much like THE Social Network itself. In this globalised world, it’s not difficult at all to easily meet people from here, there and everywhere in one evening, especially in places like the ubiquitous Irish Bar where everyone speaking English in varying degrees of proficiency congregate regardless of where they come from.
We made friends and acquaintances from all over the world when we were in university, either in the classroom or on study abroad.
Our friends from childhood days move away to another continent, for studies, for work, for love.
We become close with our mates from an online game like World of Warcraft, decide to meet when he/she or you travel to a common meeting point, and then part ways again after coffee to return to our lives.
Then there are things like Couchsurfing and Carpooling and Craiglist (why do they all start with the magical letter C?), where you holler on a forum page for people with similar interests or who just want to meet people and hang out. More often than not, you find yourself liking a new acquaintance, exchange numbers, and set up a ritual or regular meet-up…
A year later, you get an offer from your boss to move from Phoenix to New York for work, or you finish grad school and decide to move from LA to Lagos, or you get married and follow your partner to some outpost in Russia. You and your new friend split up and you can no longer meet regularly the way you did before.
Moments of heartbreak and forced termination of face-to-face companionship are practically a common feature of life for people who move around a lot.
Already, I find it strange to try and think about the times where everyone grew up, graduated, got married, gained weight and gave up fighting wrinkles and grey hair, all in the same town or city. Was that actually possible? I’m sure at that time, perhaps just 50 years ago in America, or in some remote village today, people would think, how can anyone have friends all over the place?
I now need to mentally juggle four or five time zones to keep up with my friends, if I want to chat with them live on instant messaging.
I make it a habit to buy postcards wherever I go, so I can send them to keep our friendship alive and spice things up other than the occasional e-mail or a Facebook message/poke.
I regularly check in with friends from around and all over, and find out where they are heading on vacation or work trips next, to see if we can find a midway point for a quick catch-up. I offer to give my friends a city tour when they come visit me, and in turn them me when I go. (Problem is, we are all hardly ever home.)
Such is the international love of the 21st century. And in a way, I feel like we are in an exclusive league of our own.
A league of eternal pining and heartache.
Perhaps, it would help forge even stronger friendships…. After all, isn’t there a saying, absence makes the heart go fonder? ♥