Staying connected. Or not?

One of the most memorable things in life are your relationships to others. They determine your social life. Of course, it depends on every individual how important socializing is for themselves and how many relationships they have and how they keep them running. But having deep and strong connections to other people seems vital to mostly everyone.

However, this aspect of your life will change completely if you move to another country for a rather long time. I moved to Izmir half a year ago and knew from the beginning that I will stay here precisely one year. Before actually arriving in Turkey, these 365 days to come seemed endless. I had no clue how it will look and feel like to not have all the people around me, who I got so used to. What I knew was, that it undeniably can become a challenge for me.  And it for sure was sometimes.

Starting my volunteer year in Turkey meant cutting plenty of connections to people from Germany. Some of these cuts are made intentionally, but most of them are rather unintended. Still, most of this inability to keep in touch is caused by the given dynamic of my group of friends in my hometown. What I mean is that, with some people you just stay connected because of and through others since you share the same friends, interests, or something similar. With these people I lost touch completely the last months. The number of people would just be way too high to contact them on a regularly basis.

Nevertheless, in the beginning of my stay here, I texted and mostly called my family and a small number of friends not regularly but rather often. Additionally, quite a several other friends reached out to me as well, wanting to know how I was doing and asking for maybe having a chat in the near future. At some point, I felt overwhelmed by the expectations of all these people and the time I was supposed to take for them. So, I genuinely reduced the communication with people back from Germany because I was unable and further unwilling to take this time out of my captivating new life in Izmir.

Moreover, I got the feeling whenever I talked to my family or friends again, I understood how unlike our main topics, which we deal with on an everyday basis and which move us, became. Most things that concern my family are not that relevant to me these days as a result of me not living with them anymore and therefore I remain little relation to that. This shows among other things that life is going on without you as well.

All of this led to the level of contact to my family and friends coming to its minimum around a month ago, in February. Then I realized that I took days if not weeks to respond to texts or calls and I did not want to continue or extend this habit. With that and after the last six months, I determined for myself that I want to create a balance between old and new relationships. Without a doubt, it is exciting and very rewarding to establish new contacts. But on the other hand, it is similarly important to me to maintain other relationships with friends and family, who are not near me right now, because I value these relationships immensely.

Staying connected. Or not?

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