Posts Tagged ‘Harvard Extension School’
Mum just joined Facebook. I helped her. My mother-in-law recently said she will join if we can find her a decent profile shot. I’m thrilled! Most people are desperate to keep their family away on FB. Why do I want to keep them close? Because my life would be a lot easier. Because I wouldn’t have to call them as much? No. We’d still catch up once a week on the phone. Because it cuts down on news duplication – I can tell them all something at the same time, rather than telling each in turn? That’s not the reason and actually on the contrary it means news is still duplicated. Because knowing what they’re up to on a day-to-day, hour-to-hour basis enriches my life? Why yes!
I live 3,462 and a few more miles away from my friends and family. I live in Cambridge Massachusetts, and they are, variously, scattered across England. When I moved to Cambridge MA in February 2005, for my husband’s job, the only person I knew was a close friend of mine at KSG. In May she left and we knew no one. As I have no job, no church, nor children, meeting people, I discovered, was really quite difficult. I found Cambridgians and Bostonians to be rather like Southern Englanders – very nice but eager to maintain a distance.
I tried courses at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education, but found myself out of place – I wanted degree level discussions of Chekhov’s short stories whilst my fellow class-mates wanted a little diversion. My enjoyment level increased at the Harvard Extension School, but I found I met no one beyond saying hello and goodbye to those around me. For a while I lived for emails (occasionally letters!) from home. But after a year these dropped away. The novelty of me going had gone, and the hole that I had left behind had been filled by other friends. I speak not bitterly but pragmatically. Skype was a disaster – it never worked well for us, and we didn’t have enough money at first to sub a cell phone. We got the land-line disconnected as the cold-calling was depressing.
And so I was bereft. But suddenly I found a whole new realm in which to conduct my friendships – Facebook! With Facebook you can keep up to date with someone’s life as it happens, as they update their status. Suddenly I could see photos from Caroline’s latest skiing holiday. Suddenly I could tell that Nathan was going to a housewarming. People don’t understand it – why would anyone want to read that I’ve just baked some scones or washed the dog? Who has time for that? But I have time. And I’d love to know. All that news telling – between my sister and my mum and my mother-in-law – that was once limited to once a week, becomes day-to-day again like it was at home. And on the days in-between there’s no longer a long empty silence. There’s Facebook.