Posted by: rcieri | September 10, 2008

OneWebDay: Wireless Reconnections

As a child, I was cared for by a series of Au Pairs, live-in nannies from abroad. Each typically stayed with my family for a year, caring for my younger brothers and me while experiencing life in the U.S. and improving her English before returning to Europe. A few were like older sisters to me and connected with my family so well that we stayed in touch for years afterward, sending letters back and forth.

Both Angeline, a French woman who was 19 at the time, and Karen, a 20-year-old Norwegian, always sent Christmas cards and visited whenever they were in “the States,” but our correspondence eventually dwindled.

Then nearly 10 years later, I got an e-mail from Angeline, who had just gotten Internet access in her home. Although I was nearly the age she’d been when she stayed with us and her English was not what it had been, it was as though nothing had changed. I got to see pictures from her wedding, and she even invited my family to visit her in Paris.

A few years later, I got a Facebook friend request from Karen. I hadn’t thought about her in years, but I reconnected with her to discover that she was married and see pictures of her 3-year-old daughter. She was thrilled to see how my brothers and I had grown up and was eager to practice her English again. I’m still in touch with her to this day.

Even across an ocean, people are able to find one another to re-establish old relationships. It was hard to believe that the young adults who chased me around and forced me to finish my homework in grade school now have families of their own. Without the Internet, I never would have reconnected with the women who were once such an important part of my life and helped me grow into the person I am today.

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