Distanced but connected | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

A photo of the sunset from the author’s window, which she sent to friend Jamer in Australia

After more than a year in isolation from everyone else, “loneliness” and “separation” are two words that I have often used to describe how I feel as the days go by.

However, despite this dividing distance, I count myself lucky as I have still been able to find ways to connect with others.

In the past months, I’ve made new friends and strengthened bonds with existing ones, all through late-night calls, long talks, telling stories, sharing playlists and adventures made in digital worlds. I hark back to 2 a.m. voice chats, video calls, jokes and laughs shared with three of my former classmates—Raine, Dyan and Marian—and of all the expeditions we’ve done, structures we’ve built, monsters we’ve defeated, animals we’ve tamed, and so much more, in our shared survival server on a video game called Minecraft.

I think of how much time I’ve spent these past months on-call with them, where we talked, studied and listened to music together, and of how all of these moments have brought me closer to Dyan, who I previously was not very close friends with. These moments also strengthened the bonds I had already made with Marian and Raine.

A photo of the sunset from an Australian train sent by Jamer to the author

Those memories I have with them are some of the best I’ve made in quite awhile. These virtual conversations, and these pixelated lands that we traverse using blocky in-game characters, have even connected me to people who live in places that I’ve never set foot in before.


I recall spending some of my afternoons and evenings talking with a friend I made through Minecraft, whose nickname is “Jamer,” and lives in Australia. In the past four months that I’ve known him, the small pieces of his life that he chooses to share with me have given me a window of sorts, allowing me a glimpse past the corners of my house, into another place, another timezone, crossing country borders in some way.

A photo of the sunset from the author’s window, which she sent to friend Jamer in Australia

I, too, have shared fragments of my own days, exchanging photos, thoughts, and the like with him.

A screenshot of the in-game characters of the author and friends Dyan, Raine and Marian, in their shared Minecraft survival server

The ties I have to these people, the time that they willingly take from their often very busy days to play games or chat with me, whether through texting or calling, are all part of what have made many of my recent days much more worthwhile, meaningful and enjoyable.

These friends of mine are what make me feel less alone, and they are some of the reasons I can treat my tomorrows with a little more hope, courage and strength. Their support gives me more reason to carry on. —CONTRIBUTED INQ

The author, 17, is a senior high school student studying at St. Scholastica’s College, Manila.

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