Keeping In Touch Living 6,927 Miles Apart

The Art of Dialing

Inevitably, when people find out my sister lives overseas, I get the very popular response of, “you must not talk to her very much.” If I am lucky, they pose it in the form of a question, “You don’t talk much?” Paging Alex Trebek….

I can see where they are coming from, and then again, I can’t.

I live in Gresham, Oregon, USA…despite being a town of over 100,000, it’s usually not on a standard map. Look for Portland instead; if you are lucky, you will see us slightly to the east. My sister lives in Israel, a country that is truly half-way around the world from me; if you went the WHOLE way, you’d be back at my house, the starting point! Not only is she that far away, Israel is a mystery to most Americans, and I can’t say I blame them.

Prior to my sister moving there, I knew about 4 things related to Israel:

1) It’s all desert.

2)The Star of David is on the flag

3)Israel gets a lot of bombs.

4)I could spell I-S-R-E-A-L.

Yeah, you can see immediately I was misspelling the name, and you can thank synagogue Sunday school for the misconception of the entire country being one big desert…as in sand, sand, and more sand. We were always fund raising for “Trees For Isreal”, or however you spell “Israel” when you’re ten. The bombs? Sure, but the violence is no greater than where I live so we pray for the best and move on. So since I was 1 for 4 (I got the flag right!), I can’t really expect others to be any better.

However, despite my immense lack of knowledge of Israel, not once, never, ever, did I think, “well, there she goes; don’t have to listen to her again.” Or even better, how about thinking, “Whew! Now I have mom and dad all to myself!” Seriously? Family moves away and we are suppose to pretend they don’t exist? Don’t people realize we have this new fangled invention we like to call, the telephone. That’s right folks, you dial a number, and like magic, someone on the other end answers! Oooo! Ahhhh! In this day and age, with modern technology literally at the tips of our fingers, we could talk everyday. Unfortunately 6 kids, 2 husbands, dirty floors, laundry, and life in general gets in our way. However, considering the distance, it is not uncommon to talk to my sister twice a week, sometimes even more. You talk past the differences ( no scorpions in my house), you talk past the holidays ( I sometimes forget the 4th of July is not a big deal there), and you talk past the kids whining and complaining (which at least one cousin always provides as background noise). You remember that the person on the other end of the line was scared when you put a rubber snake in their bed, rubbed your back when you almost threw up after riding the “bad ride” at the amusement park, and kindly screamed at you to quit reading their diary. Because, at the end of the day, it’s my sister on the other end of that line, and you do what you have to keep in contact.

What surprises me so much is this attitude of “distance means you hardly talk at all”, because most of us have some way of communicating with the people we want to. Modern technology oozes from every corner of the globe. Whether it be old-fashioned postal mail, or the most modern means of cell phone technology and tweeting, the days of mailing a letter and waiting 6 months for a reply (assuming the ship didn’t go down at sea or a horse didn’t die on you), have been over since the last century! Seriously? Long gone are the days when people left “The Old Country” never to be seen or heard from again. Besides, if my sister was still willing to talk to me after I ruined her red dress by dropping a permanent, black pen on it, I can’t imagine 6,927 miles is going to stop us. All I have to do is dial.

Submited by Dena Najdek

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