Our world is more connected than it was 14 years ago, but are we more tightly knit? The first time I sent an email in high school has led to expert skills in typing and an insatiable desire to devour social media. With the internet, global trade, exchange students... you never know who you'll run into on your hometown IP.

As I opened my youtube account this evening, at the top of the random cue was a face I thought I recognized. And then it clicked: this was a person with whom was briefly shared - along with my friend, and his friend - a wild and unexpected Oktoberfest, American Thanksgiving, and a day at the Alpamare when I was an exchange student in Switzerland over a decade ago.

I'm not very good at keeping in touch, in fact, I'm horrible at it. I frequently have imaginary conversations with the people I care about, writing letters to them in my head, yet I never go to the post office to buy stamps. (That's why I have 6 years of Christmas letters printed out in a drawer with envelopes addressed to various destinations across the globe.)

But unlike the time-capsuled Christmas letters waiting patiently in my drawer, time spent as an exchange student always has an expiration date. And though I was able to negotiate my school-year stay into one day short of a calendar year, with many tears I reluctantly boarded the plane back "home." My folks even said I had an accent (re-speaking English). I've never been back. And while I live in the city that is a springboard across that pond, the psychological distance seems expansive. That's why I'm reluctant to bid 'tschüssli' to the people and place I'm currently located; what will happen to the relationships I have now - because I'm horrible at keeping in touch?

Martin Nüss, I remember you from fourteen years ago.

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