“Some people say home is where you come from. But I think it’s a place you need to find, like it’s scattered and you pick pieces of it up along the way.” – Katie Kaevinsky
I am a Third Culture Kid, meaning I was raised in countries outside of my native homeland because of my parents’ job. I have lived in 6 different countries, and have collected experiences, perspectives, and even people, along the way.
When I was younger, I had my fits over moving so much. I didn’t want to leave my friends, my school, or be the new girl again. Looking back, I’m grateful for the experience; it’s given me a wider perspective of the world and an understanding of my values. One of the biggest takeaways for me is that I can navigate long distance relationships. I have friends globally that I’m still in touch with, from all the way back to 1st grade. Some of them I haven’t seen in 7+ years, but I would still tell you they’re like family. Honestly, some of the people closest to me I’ve met through work, other friends, or school… and I have yet to meet in person.
Nonetheless, all of these people are the scattered pieces of home I have picked up along the way.
Right now, the biggest thing people have experienced is the shift in our social interactions; hanging out with friends on Zoom, going on first dates over FaceTime, and talking to family over IMO. This has been my norm for as long as I can remember. I’ve spent a majority of my life in these phases, trying to figure out how to spend time with people I care about without physically being close to them. There’s so many factors to consider: work, school, and time zones, to say the least.
Distances suck, I’ll be honest. And as much as we care about the people in our lives, sometimes life gets in the way. On the flip side, you can have the purest relationships with people. My friends who are at a distance right now have each played big roles in making me who I am throughout the different stages of my life. We’ve watched each other grow. And as time passes, I know there is never any love lost, because you can see it in the effort that goes into special occasions, phone calls, and even quick “thinking about you” texts; the feeling is incomparable.
Here are the most important things I’ve learned over the years, to save you the everliving struggle:
- Don’t make 24/7 communication mandatory. That may sound odd, but hear me out. As much as we want to talk to someone constantly, and worry we don’t talk ‘enough’, it puts unnecessary strain. Talking shouldn’t feel like a chore. Sometimes we get busy, and a little time apart can actually be a good thing. When the time comes to catch up, it will flow easily.
- Be honest. It can be easy to miss out on our day to day lives, so if you’re busy or not up to getting on that scheduled call, say so (just remember to reschedule!). If you’re upset or don’t feel comfortable about something, or are excited about a thing, share it! Yes, it’s harder over a text or a call, but it can make a world of difference. We all have insecurities, so talk it out when you need to. The reassurance goes a long way.
- Have something to look forward to. Ideally this will be when they will see you next, but that’s not always the case. So try sending a care package or a letter, or having a Netflix Party movie marathon, or creating a playlist. Get creative!
Always remind the people you love that you love them, sometimes distance makes us forget to.