My mother is from Sweden, and moved here at the young age of twenty without anyone else with her. To this day, whenever I tell her how brave this was for her to do, she will laugh it off and say it was her natural independence and urge to travel. She is from a small town in Sweden with a population of a little more than 5,000 people. Naturally, she grew tired of small-town life and her desire to experience new culture and people drove her to the opposite of Sweden – Florida, a state with perpetual sunshine and palm trees. She could be tan all year-round!
She soon met my dad and they were eventually married. Almost every Summer my mom would take me and my siblings back to Sweden to visit her family and stay connected with her heritage. They were truly wonderful times of my life, and I’m thankful that I was able to go so frequently. Unfortunately, due to many factors including the rising cost of flight tickets, it’s been six years since I’ve been back to Sweden.
I’m not particularly active on Facebook, but one of my favorite aspects of the social media site is its ability to maintain contact with far-away friends and relatives. In this case, despite the fact that I haven’t returned to Sweden in six years, I have been able to do things like watch my cousins’ children grow up, comment on my Aunt’s new job, and discuss a funny video with cousin. Since almost all of my mother’s family is in Sweden, it is nice to be able to feel like I am a part of their lives (and hopefully they fill the same) despite the fact that we haven’t been able to meet in person in so long. I will admit that a large reason why I try and post some pictures once in a while is so my long-distance relatives know what I have been up to.
Another benefit is that I am able to use and be exposed to the Swedish language when otherwise I would be trapped in an English bubble. My mom and I follow Swedish newspapers and news sources on Facebook so that, like in the case of our family, we can also keep up to date with the latest happenings in “the homeland.”
For these reasons, I am thankfully for Facebook and its ability to keep people connected despite the distance that may separate you in miles. I’m sure many of you have similar stories like this – how has Facebook (or any other social media) helped you keep in contact with those that you would otherwise be disconnected from?