My Pen-Pal has Whatsapp: Now what?

Let me set the scene of this situation. This isn’t quite a “pen pal” I’m talking about, but rather one of my very close friends from High School. Her dad works for the US embassy, and as a result they travel every couple of years to live in a different country. When we all went on our gap years, she went back to the States to study, but she has now moved to Israel and is her happy, hippy self there.

Anyway, I’ve only seen her once since High School. Once. We never Skype, but somehow manage to send each other newsy emails every other month. Whenever I get an email from her, it’s like receiving surprise mail in the post. I can;t even put into words the excitement when I get a mail from her. It’s like a long-lost friend. She’s never been the “technological type”, hardly ever using a cellphone even in High School (which wasn’t too many moons ago) and to this day she doesn’t use Facebook (though she does have an account).

I sent her an email letting her know we’ll be in Israel so we can try arrange a time to meet. I took a chance, and asked her whether she had Whatsapp. Lo and behold – she did. I messaged her this morning for the first time, just to test. It was a game changer, in a strange way – it felt life saving. Not only can we use it to discuss our plans to meet next week – but I can also message her whenever I like! Whenever I think about her, or have something small to say (no matter how important or unimportant it may be).

But what about our emails?

I love how in that moment I messaged her the world instantly became smaller and we were suddenly connected again so closely and simply. Something I think I take for granted with all those I whatsapp daily. But I think these emails make me too happy to let them go. Obviously, more than anything I can’t wait to message her now and then to say hi and have a quick chat, but our thread of emails really hold a special place in my heart. I have friends from High School who I never see and I don’t speak to, but I kind of know what they’re up to with Facebook. It’s like catching up with people has become so passive, you don’t even have to speak to know what is going on in their lives. They practically broadcast it to you. I guess we all do.

Over the years, through gap years, university, working and general life keeping you busy, we’ve always managed to keep in contact with our sporadic emails. I think they’re totally worth it.  Each email is a response to the last, asking questions based on the previous email, always wanting small tidbits of news from the other. It’s also nice because our short and direct emails usually swell on the great things that are happening in our lives – it’s sometimes just too lengthy to type out our problems. Besides, we don’t speak that often, so it’s far from a complaint platform. I don’t know many people out there who keep in touch via some “old school” method such as this and I think it’s kinda special.

long lost friends lee and thea

This is the last time we saw each other, in December 2010. The first time seeing each other since finishing school in 2007!

Doesn’t the internet and technology just completely blow your mind sometimes?


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