No, no, this article is not about a long-distance lover. It’s not about the struggles of pent up romance, and a strained relationship across state or country lines. However, it is about long-distance friendships, and why they should be kept, valued, and highly coveted.
Ever since I was in the third grade, my mom has sent me away to Jewish summer camps in Minnesota and Wisconsin. From the first year out in the middle-of-nowhere in forest-filled Minnesota, I have made instant connections with unforgettable people. The only issue was that after the summer ended, staying connected became more difficult because while I was from Edina, many of my new friends hailed from the far stretches of Chicago to Indiana to Texas, and even as far as Israel. Ever since that first summer in third grade, I have learned the value of keeping friendships, no matter the distance.
A huge benefit of holding on to long-distance friendships is the cultural experiences. While a friend from Wisconsin may not differ much culturally from me, over my lifetime of going to summer camps I have picked up friends from across the globe from places like Israel and Russia. Keeping in contact with my Israeli friend is not only great because we get to catch up on our home lives, but also because I get to see what teenage life is like in Israel without leaving home. She can show me, via Skype, her home, family, friends. I even got to sit in during an Israeli holiday!
Reeling back the distance, keeping up with friends in the States is a great way to stay connected to their lives and continue growing friendships from summers past. With the help of Facebook, Skype, and good old texting, I don’t think a day has gone by where I haven’t contacted a long-distance friend since camp ended last August.
When life in Edina gets too overwhelming, it is so nice to be able to disconnect from the bubble and step into a different city for a while. When things get too hectic, I know I can pull up Skype or shoot a text to my best friend in Chicago and instantly feel better. Plus, sometimes an outsider gives the best advice when issues at home arise.
Being able to maintain my amazing friendship with the same Chicago best friend in particular, has probably strengthened our bond even more. Talking 24/7 via our various technologies, we can always be there for each other in one way or another. While we both wish we could physically be in the same place, when we finally see each other over breaks or when we return to camp, it makes reuniting all the more special.
While surviving on inside jokes and 6-hour Skype sessions can be trying, I wouldn’t trade my long-distance best friends for anything in the whole wide world!