-What time is it there ?
-I never remember the time difference.
-7 hours difference, it has been my whole life.
Time zones have been a part of my daily life ever since I can remember. My mother would contact her relatives in the United States when we lived in Greece, long before social media of course, or even a steady phone line (for those who remember a time before smart phones). I would call my American grandmother (at great cost for international calls) once a month, and all other communication was with letter writing and post cards. (yes letters; remember those??)
At 14 my parents and I moved to the United States, where maintaining communication with friends and loved ones back in Greece was an exercise not only in keeping up with daily life, but also the Greek language. I distinctly recall my friend sending me spelling corrections in my letters to her when she would reply. (thanks Georgia after all those years).
At 23 I moved back to Athens, and communicated weekly with cell phones and regular calls and emails with my friends in London, Paris and the U.S. I would stay awake in the very late hours (12- 3am) to talk to my friends in New York, and try to catch up as best as we could with cheap international calling cards just to fill each other in on our lives.
Now back in New York with chats, Viber, Whats-app, Facebook messenger, Instagram, time is relative. Time difference almost doesn’t matter. I talk to my close friends after they have put their kids to bed. They stay up for a night cap and a quiet moment, and I text back and forth at 5 am in the morning with my cousins and best friends before I go to work. I live between two time zones, always carving time to connect, talk, share our lives whenever possible.
It’s somewhat easier to stay connected with technology on our side; but still that phone call once a week, once a month, or even once a day; happens between those seven hours difference. I feel like a double agent, calculating, managing time in a split world between the one I live here in New York and the one I live with my friends and family back in Greece. We steal moments from our present lives to share stories, gossip, news, family pictures, and most recently most of my writing here.
What time is it there? 5.30am–
What are you doing up that early??
Taking time to talk with you…
What time zone are you in?