My older brother lives in China. He has been a teacher there for over two years now and loves it. His visits home are infrequent because of the distance, so it has been quite a long time since we last got to hang out.
During his first year in China, we had a hard time finding a way to just chat. In past, when we were both in Wyoming, we got together every few months for long coffee dates. When we both lived in Europe, we had a running Facebook message that we updated almost weekly. With the distance, coffee dates are now out of the question. And, Facebook, along with Google, is highly monitored in China which makes our virtual chats really rather difficult. So, for that first year or so, we talked through rare Facebook messages, an email here and there and that was about it.
Lately, however, we have found a way around this virtual talking conundrum: FitBit.
For us, FitBit has become not only a way to track our individual activities, but a way to check in on one another and chat, through 180 character messages. If one of our step counts drops super low, a message is sure to come through, just to make sure the other person is still alive and well. It lets us cheer each other on in our little goals and we’ve had some great chats about running and travel too. It was through FitBit that I got to tell him about my engagement and it is through FitBit that plans for his next homecoming are being discussed. It may be a weird place to chat and share life, but I am just so thankful that we’ve found a way to connected again.