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Today I had a morning under the rain in an olive grove, and an afternoon watching surfers ride the waves on a sunny beach. The olives are right up my street, but the beach is about 4000 miles away. I sat on my couch with my dog, wrapped in blankets and scarves, listening to the waves crashing through my phone as my brother and mum video chatted while they stuck their feet in the sand.

One of the only reasons I can live here in Italy is because of days like this when a direct line across oceans is easy. If the technology wasn’t here. If I had to write letters to everyone back at home – or even sit attached to a phone line, I really don’t know if it would work. But today, I technically sat around with my family, talking like I was lying on a blanket next to them, at least for a little while. I could hear kids playing in the background. Ned would religiously turn the camera to every dog that walked by so I could see (dogs on the beach till tomorrow! woohoo!) and I felt like I was home – all of my homes – at once. The waves were huge, the water was that frigid cold that it always is those first days of summer.

Yes of course the video still cuts out. Yes, there’s never enough data (in the US, here, we don’t have those crazy expensive limits), and the “can you heeearrr meeee’s” are still everpresent. But living abroad in 2019 isn’t so bad overall. Not when almost everyone’s face is right there when you need it. Two miles, 4,000, the distances are easier.

The only thing I missed from really being at the beach today was a tan and salty hair, and maybe some beach pizza. For the rest of it, today I had an awesome beach day – even if I can still hear the rain pattering on the terracotta roof above me right now.