Connected

As I was looking around my Facebook page thinking of different ideas for my blog this week, I came upon a page I hadn’t looked at in awhile. In my twenties, I lived and worked in Japan for three years. The first year was in Mito in Ibaraki Prefecture. It was a really great year. I still recall how the “honeymoon” period went on a really long time. I can actually still picture one day when I was walking along the cherry blossom trees on my way to work and feeling like skipping and whistling as I was so delighted with my new life. I can remember the feeling.  I was working an average job as an English teacher, in an OK company.  I lived in a tiny apartment and couldn’t really afford much.  And I lived on the other side of the world from all my family and friends.  Yet, I felt so grateful.  I loved everything I was seeing, I loved the students and I loved the friends I was making.

I am a member of a Facebook group of people from that year. I check in now and then and we share some laughs and photos from way back when. I still feel a connection with some of those people. I never see them and haven’t in years.  We live all over the world but we share a common experience captured in time.

I have friends on my Facebook that I met in my early twenties while backpacking in Europe. This was back when you had to find an internet café which was often sketchy in order to get online and the only thing I used was email. Times when someone would scribble an email address on a scrap of paper or you’d make a random plan to meet up in another country in a month or two.  I was able to reconnect with these people when I signed up for Facebook in my early thirties.

I stay in touch with people I met in the UK and Denmark when I was living there a few years ago.  Again, people who share a common experience.

While I have always been pretty good at keeping in touch, I don’t think I would have been able to maintain all these connections if it weren’t for social media. And don’t get me wrong, some of those connections are just skimming the surface of liking photos or comments. But many of them are genuine connections. These are people that I will see and spend time with when I have the chance to travel to their part of the world again or they head my way.

Our lives are so busy and that is something that I am always trying to work on….how to stay present, how to prioritize, how to not get lost in the shuffle of the every day. It is hard to stay connected on the genuine level that I would like to have with everyone in my life. Facebook gets me partly there. And has allowed me to hold on to shared experiences with people all over the world. For all of its flaws, this I am truly grateful for.

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4 thoughts on “Connected

  1. One of the features I love about Facebook is “On This Day” where it shows you what you did on that day for the past however many years. I check it almost everyday and sometimes i stumble upon old pictures and memories from high school and it always makes me want to reconnect with old friends!

  2. I have to agree with you – Facebook has allowed me to stay in touch with so many people. While living abroad I don’t know what I would have done or how I would have stayed in touch with my loved ones without it. I spoke to a friends parents and she was talking about how when her daughter was living in Australia they would only be able to talk once every couple months and maybe an email here and there. Yet, when I was living abroad, only 5 years later, I spoke to my family and friends on a daily basis. I was able to FaceTime them and let them see the life I was living and what I was surrounded by and they were able to update me on theirs. It’s amazing what technology and social media has offered us and how far it has brought us. I don’t think I would have ever had the courage to take that step to go abroad without the technologies that i had accessible to me. The memories that pop up from time to time are just an added bonus, a lovely reminder of all the amazing things life has offered along the way.

  3. I’m too old to have used Facebook when going abroad on short and long trips. We used postcards and letters sent to Canadian embassies to catch up on home. I liked the distance and space created by travel. It allowed me to enter into the place I was visiting and gave me time to absorb new experiences. I learned to handle difficulties with train timetables, closed hostels, would-be pickpockets and unwanted romantic partners with aplomb. I like to think that that kind of resilience has served me well. Adding another layer – Facebook – would have appeal if I ever moved to another country. Having not had the chance to do that in the Facebook era, you can’t miss what you never had, but thanks for the glimpse into that newer reality.

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