Living abroad…and long-distance friendships

Living Abroad

A Column

Friendship. Unlike for many other “things” in your life, there isn’t a guarantee for a livelong, “holding-hands-and-jumping-together-happily-through-the-green-green-grass” friendship. From a legal point of view, a guarantee is defined as”a written promise that something will be done or will happen to repair or change a product or service, that develops a fault within a particular period of time.” But when it comes to friendship, such a thing as a monetary compensation doesn’t exist in case it ends (well, imagine how unethical that would be!). Sometimes it can be repaired and well, some may argue that a friend can be replaced by another…but that is simply not true, as every friendship is unique, mainly defined by its rituals and habits you can only do/share with a certain person (having pyjama parties and binge watching the Gilmore Girls, anyone?)

Speaking of friendships, the twenties are THE time that reveals with whom of your friends you will most likely end up with sitting at a park bench when you are 80, wondering about all the TwentyNineSomeone’s out there and saying something like “Uuuh, remember those days…? Now my but looks like a giant pancake, my oh my…”  Whether a friendship ends from one minute to another, or it’s a long, creeping process and finally takes its toll: It might be brutal, often complicated, sometimes heartbreaking – but certainly always sad.

Some consider a long distance friendship as such kind of “silent death” and always ask me how I handle it. I will be very honest here: Living far, far away from your friends and family is without any doubt the biggest downside of living abroad. Thank god we are not living in a time where sending a carrier picheon to communicate with your friends would be the only way to do so. Sure, Social Media etc. makes it a lot more easier to participate in the lifes of your beloved ones, receiving pictures of your friend’s latest crush (hottie or nottie?) or the new recipe your mum just tried out successfully (something with Kale – very hip!). But let’s face it: It’s not the same and just can’t compensate for regular Sunday brunches with your girls, looking for squirrels in the park with your niece or having sushi with your mum. Yeah, long-distance always sucks when it comes to personal relationships…

However, I am glad to know the positive side of it. Although it’s a fourteen hour flight away, a lot of friends come to visit me. Some friends I haven’t heard from in years started to write me messages, interesting to hear how life is like living in an other country. And sure, not being able to visit friends living quite close to my place regularly is hard, but both sides are always desperately looking forward to see each other soon – being missed and missing someone causes major heartaches, but at the same time it’s a somewhat overwhelming feeling as well. I am glad of having conquered the fear of a long-distance friendship break-ups and happy to see, that I have real friends, that support me in living up to my dreams, understanding that this is experience will mark an important step in my personal development and are there for a chat whenever I need them (despite the time difference!) or as Marvin Gaye would say it “Ain’t no mountain high, ain’t no valley low,
ain’t no river wide enough, baby. If you need me, call me, no matter where you are, no matter how far, don’t worry baby!”

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