For the past 16 years, I've lived a great distance away from the people I love. I came to the US for graduate school after living with my parents all my life. I had a 2-year long distance relationship with the man who is now my husband. My kids live thousands of miles apart from both sets of grandparents. Staying in touch is key to making us all feel like we are part of a bigger family that cares about us.
Thing is, I have never been one to chat over the phone. Even in my teenage years, when you would expect one to hog the phone for hours, I never indulged in marathon gossip fests on the phone. I never called anyone "just to talk" or find out how things were going; I always called with a specific purpose in mind. I've always disliked being interrupted by a ringing phone, having to put aside whatever I was doing for the next 15/30/45/60 minutes in order to concentrate on something else. I still do.
That's why I fell in love with email as soon as I found out what it was. Imagine, being able to stay in touch with family and friends without having to phone them! Being able to ask questions or let them know the latest news, without worrying about whether they were busy (or in my parents' case, since they are 16 hours ahead of me, asleep). Being able to say whatever it is I need to say without engaging in any small talk like How's the Weather or What's New With You. Being able to read through emails on my time, at my pace. I know it sounds antisocial, but that's how I am, and it works for me.
Fortunately, it works for my parents too. My parents have never been ones for long phone conversations, either (see, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree). International calls between the Philippines and US used to be a lot more expensive, so before email came along, my mother used to write long letters on onionskin paper (to make it lighter, for less postage). I still treasure those letters, and I have nothing against the good old-fashioned art of letter writing... but honestly, my mom's handwriting is so difficult to read! It's much easier to read and type out sentiments in an email. Reading her words over a computer screen (or nowadays, from a smartphone screen) gives me just as nice a feeling as reading them from paper.
When I was dating my husband -- him in Palo Alto, me in Boston -- email was a lifeline for our relationship. I was slogging through business school and he was working 80 hours a week at his startup, so much of our sweet nothings were whispered via email, composed and read during breaks between work and study. I still have those emails, and it's nice to have them all "bundled" together on a cd -- my 21st-century version of a perfumed box, all tied up with a ribbon ! Naturally, I deleted them from my Yahoo! Mail inbox long ago, because those were some steamy hot emails!
We let The Pea have her own email account a couple of years ago, and she has taken to it like a duck to water. She emails her cousins and her grandparents in the Philippines and the UK. She emails friends in Brazil, in LA and in the UK. She can't imagine not having email, and neither can I!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. The views and opinions expressed here are my own.