What It's Like to Have an International Friend

I wake up at 8 a.m. with my dog lying on my chest and licking my face.


I tell her to get down. I smash the snooze button. I sleep for nine more minutes.


I check WhatsApp instead of Facebook or Instagram.  


Josiah texted back a few hours ago from Malaysia.


What’s up, Joe?


It is 8 p.m. for him.  


I carry my phone with me as I scramble a couple eggs and take my dog for a walk.  


He carries his while eating dinner and getting into bed. We talk for an hour or two until I have to leave for class, and he has to go to bed.


Video chats are even more disorienting.  


His room is dark while I have to tilt my phone to cover the sunlight streaming through the blinds. It feels like I am talking to someone in the future, even though I know I'm not.


When I tell him to have a goodnight and hang up, I stare at my phone for just a moment.  


I can talk to my friend on the opposite side of the planet without even dealing with a lag. It takes six weeks to send each other a postcard.


The first few weeks after he graduated and went back home, I had to remind myself that he was a 22 hour flight away. I would start to text him and ask if he wanted to watch a movie or get a milkshake before I would remember that he was going to work on a Monday morning.


However, it has been oddly and surprisingly easy to remain friends with him.  


I drifted apart from my high school friends when I moved an hour away to college. I have lost friends at the end of the semester just because we no longer have a class together.  


But by being friends with Josiah, I have realized all it takes to remain friends is a little effort.