Editorial notebook

Embracing the differences that make up a friendship

These days, I cannot help feeling sentimental about how fast time flies. I still clearly remember how I befriended my best friend in life the first day I went to middle school. Now, in less than one month, my freshman year of college will end. It is so hard to believe that we’ve been friends for almost eight years. As an international student, I can, at most, fly back home twice a year, staying here for all the short breaks, including Thanksgiving and Spring Break. We haven’t seen each other for the past four months.

Once, the night before a test, I was listening to music from back home. Suddenly, when I heard the song we usually sang together, my tears just couldn’t stop dropping. I know I miss her so much and I do to want share every single detail in my life with her, but I can’t. We are both really busy with school, live in different environments, and struggle to communicate with each other because of the different time zones. In order to talk, one of us has to stay up, and the other has to wake up early. Even though we try hard, the frequency of our videochats inevitably dropped this semester, as school workloads grew more intense.

In addition to the time zone differences, something else is also damaging our relationship. In fact, it is not a huge surprise for us, since we already talked about it and expected this to happen. However, when the condition truly comes to us, it is a great challenge to our friendship—we no longer have things to talk about. Culture shocks always interrupt our conversation. It is hard for her to understand the cultural and educational environment here, while I feel some of the education over there to be ridiculous.

To be honest, despite the fact that we are definitely best friends, we don’t have a lot in common at all. She is always the hardcore one, while I am mellow; she likes chemistry, while I prefer physics—her least favorite subject; I love shopping, while she has no patience; she watches Korean dramas, while I’ve never had much interest in them; I love dramas and independent movies, while she generally doesn’t like movies; I don’t care too much about food, while she is a demanding gourmet; I’ve always been more ambitious and obversive, while she cares less about school and is more accepting of the rules; she likes long hair, while I love cutting my hair whenever I feel stressed out, for which she has always yelled at me…

We are different, but we embrace each other’s differences all the time. I still remember the night before the SAT, I got super restless and she talked to me on the phone for over two hours. I am not too anxious now after writing those thoughts down, since we know too much about each other and we have too many memories. It is impossible to separate one from the other’s life. I know she’s waiting for me to come back, sit down at the cafe where one of our good friends works, and talk about how life went in the past year and whatever is on my mind.

So am I.