In about six weeks, our daughter Jennifer will be stateside again after two semesters spent studying abroad in Shanghai.

She tells us that she and her classmates are amazed that that their time is coming to an end – it has gone so quickly. Some of the students are lamenting that “We only have six more weeks!” Other kids are more in the glass half full mindset:  “I miss Trader Joe’s, being able to bake chocolate chip cookies, and the cats. I’m glad we only have six more weeks.” Jennifer falls into the second category.

What amazes me, is that in the seven months that she has been gone, that the size of the world seems to have shrunk. Before she left, the trip to China seemed as imposing as if she were going to Mars. Either place seemed equally far away and alien.

But perhaps because communication has gotten so easy, thanks to What’s App and We Chat, it doesn’t seem like she is on the other side of the world. She calls us about once a week and the quality of internet calling is so good, that it sounds like she’s just next door. Even if she is in China, it makes me feel like she’s close by.

She is such an experienced traveler now, having spent a month traveling through Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and most recently Japan, that when she calls, even though the conversation centers around her most recent adventure to an exotic location, it’s all very casual. Traveling internationally just isn’t the big deal that it was before this whole adventure began. It’s funny to find myself asking, “So you’re going to Taiwan next week?” in the same tone of voice that I would use if we were discussing driving to Santa Rosa.

She has been documenting her experiences in a blog. As her mom, whether it’s phone calls, texts, blogs or messages in a bottle, I’ll gratefully take whatever glimpse I can get into her geographically-wide, wonderful world.

Hope that you enjoy it.

http://www.jenniferrustad.com/