Dij : “F just got engaged. “
Me: ” Whatttt ??? That’s huge and awesome. What did she wear ? What did you wear ? Where did it happen ? I need all the details ASAP. “
I am typing this while reaching for the laptop and logging on to Facebook, still in my Abaya, just to see if she has uploaded any pictures, to see what she wore to the big day, how her fiance looked, what the ring was like, what my friend wore, every tiny detail of the function. I checked my Instagram after that to see more of her pictures and comment my happiness on them.
When you have friends in different countries, at first its very exciting. But it becomes boring and lonely pretty soon. Here is the hard part, you miss your friends graduation, their birthday, then their engagements and weddings. The first time it happens, it hurts a lot. Because at the end of the day, there is not much you can do.
I remember, back in the day, when we moved from KSA, I never felt this because I was visiting Jeddah every two months due to several reasons. We did that for almost two years. And I was much younger at the time. So getting a phone call from a friend, in another country, on your birthday was a huge deal for me. We all made an effort to wish each other, post presents and still be the same way. But it did not work like that. Phone calls were missed, numbers miss placed or changed, presents lost in the mail and distance just created these invisible barriers between us.
When you are younger, you do not make that much of an effort to keep in touch with someone who is not in a hundred km radius. Its just the way it is.
But as you grow older, you meet other people, the ones you leave behind start coming back to you and you start keeping tabs on them. Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Skype, Viber etc have made this much easier than it was in the days of MSN emails, texts and actual phone calls.
I remember looking at my best friend’s (at the time) pictures from a birthday party, every single person I knew, people I even hated were there, except me. Hands in hands, or on shoulders, drinks in huge glasses, some of my friends trying to sit down, some bending to get in focus, smiling at the camera, that picture came out perfect. But I was not in it. That picture was still complete. Like I never existed. I hated being an expat at that moment.
I am extremely lucky that people message me to tell the important happenings in their life or their sibling’s life, or friends who get worried if I don’t reply, who don’t say anything if I forget their birthday or graduation. because they know that as long distance friends, we are past all that.
Its a hit and miss. Sometimes your wishes will reach them on time. Sometime they won’t. But the thing is, your wishes mean that much more to the other person. Because they know how busy you are in your life. Taking time out of it to simply message them, congratulating on their special occasions becomes a big deal.