Unexpected benefits come from moving abroad. For me one of the benefits has come through the use of Skype to connect with family. I was surprised by the impact this technology has had in my relationships with family.
With two sisters it is inevitable that you will have different relationships with each sister. Tess and I have always been close, and even though she is younger, I admire her and am proud of who she is. We are closer in age than I am to Sarah, and Tess always went along with what was happening and had a way of showing that she valued me (I hope I was able to do the same for her). Sarah and I had a different relationship. With a larger age gap it was difficult to find similarities to connect through. Sarah and I also seemed to have unexplained tension in our relationship that led to some version of sibling rivalry or sisterly “girl fighting”. I always loved my older sister, but I really struggled to like my older sister a lot of the time growing up. Living abroad has actually helped me build a much different relationship with her. In the last year I have felt a drastic change in my relationship with Sarah.
When I was making the choice to move to Qatar I was very concerned about missing out on all the big life experiences going on at home, most notably my new nephew! Before moving Sarah assured me that she and Mike would have Skype on their computer and they would Skype with me so I could see Augie (I did not know his name when they made this promise) and get to be an Aunt from afar. When Augie was born they followed through on their promise and I got to Skype with Augie regularly. Initially if I called when Augie was asleep Sarah would give me a quick update and I would tell her I would call back to see him later. The focus of those early Skype calls was always Augie. Slowly that started to change. I still Skype to see Augie, but I am surprised that when I don’t get to see Augie, I am just as excited to talk to Sarah. I look forward to the conversations I get to have with her every few days. I finally feel like we are having the “sister” conversations that we didn’t have when I was younger. Over the last few months I feel like Sarah and I have become friends (as I write this I am hoping she would agree… if not, I hope she never tells me that). When I want to talk about something going on in my life I used to either call Katie or Kelly. Now I usually talk to Sarah during my Skype calls.
At 26 I am excited that my relationship with my sister is better than I thought it could be, all because we are separated by half a world and have started communicating in a different way (with Skype). Now I feel close to both of my sisters :)