One of the few difficulties I’ve had in adjusting to life on the other side of the world from my loved ones is that…I’m on the other side of the world from my loved ones. There are timing implications to being a distance of 12 hours in the future from the people who matter to me.
I’m a talker. I’m not much of a talker around people who I don’t know but once someone becomes my friend, I talk, particularly to those in my inner circle of friends. I love to share my life with those who matter to me and to whom I matter, and I love to share their lives. I want to talk about the latest developments, the latest problems and possible solutions, dreams, hopes, politics, religion, children, vacations, any topic that comes up. I want to vent, let them vent, get advice, give advice…or just shoot the breeze and talk about stupid stuff. The point is, I love to speak with my loved ones.
Being on the other side of the world, my talking gets done online, mostly through Whatsapp – through voice notes or typed conversations or Whatsapp calls. That means if no one is awake or online or if the power is out or our wifi is down, I literally cannot have a conversation with my friends. I get along very well with my colleagues, but they’re my co-workers, not my friends, and I’m not baring my soul to them. I also have acquaintances here with whom I discuss learning English or Bahasa Indonesian or issues to do with work, but they are not friends with whom I can discuss the meaningful things in life.
This all came home to me a few weeks ago. I had no classes to teach that day and I needed a break from my online work so I wanted to shoot the breeze with someone. It was about 3 pm here so 3 am for everybody else. I wanted so badly to just have a quick chat with someone…anyone! But everyone in the west was fast asleep and my one friend who is close to my time zone (my new friend in Africa – I’m 4 hours ahead) was unavailable. No talking for me.
Suddenly, I saw a downside to something that had only seemed cool before; that, like everything in life, it has its pluses and its minuses. It’s cool to be able to say, “I’m talking to you from tomorrow,” but it’s not cool if there’s no one to whom I can say it. I guess it’s all in the timing. The thing is, the desire to talk doesn’t always occur at a convenient time. Sometimes it comes up for me at 3 pm when it’s 3 am for everyone else.
I see now that this is part of the price I pay for chasing my dream. I guess I have to talk less but it’s still worth it.