Keeping in Touch

Students maintain long distance friendships across the country and the world


Image courtesy of Pixabay.

Emma Li, Co Editor-in-Chief

Karina Sharafutdinova, senior, she/her & Marina Shkurat, junior, she/her


How did you meet each other?

We were in the same class in school when I was in Russia. The school system is much different and you usually stay with the same people all throughout elementary, middle, and high school. People will come and go, but they are generally the same and you have the exact same schedule with all of them. We were in a lot of similar clubs and did a lot of activities together. We were in the same school for three years, but once I moved away, we haven’t seen each other in person since.


What did you bond over?

We lived close and just became very close friends. We were hanging out a lot, had similar interests and sense of humor. We had a lot of the same beliefs and values, even if we were 11 at the time. We had a lot of inside jokes and always were there for each other


How long have you known each other?

Since 4th grade in Russia, so for around 7 years.


Where does this person live?

Krasnodar, Russia


Can you tell us about this person?

Marina is the sweetest most caring person I know. She was always able to support me, and she is the only one that I still talk to from Russia. She loves animals and wants to be a veterinarian. She is incredibly smart, not just academically, but socially. She’s always able to find the right answers to everything. And she’s never embarrassed to speak up. She will joke just about everything and will immediately switch the focus if she accidentally offended someone. She is also very very accepting and supporting. We may not talk for months, but she is my to go person and we still keep in close contact, even if I haven’t seen her in 4 years. I still call her my best friend. She has the kindest heart I know. She loves and cares for her friends so so much, Marina will always go out of her way to help out. We have very similar names, which is why it’s also a very fun duo.


How do you keep in touch?

We don’t talk a lot, but when we do it will take hours. We send a lot of pictures of inside jokes to each other. And we always update one another when something major happens. We call, facetime, and text on social media.


What are the challenges of being in a long distance friendship?

The hardest one for me is the time difference. When it’s day for me, it’s night for Marina, and vise versa. Not being able to physically be there for each other, no hugs or any physical contact.


What are the best parts of being in a long distance friendship/relationship?

Having to tell people that even after 4 years, we are still talking. Finding that connection with someone is the hardest thing ever, and especially keeping it. Having someone who will hear you out even online, will always stay engaged in the conversation, and being able to support each other. Sending love and showing it online is hard. Very very hard. But when you have a bond that cannot be broken, you find ways to show that love.


What’s one of your favorite memories with this person?

We went to the mall one day during Christmas, it was so much fun because it was very colorful, decorated for the holiday, with a lot of games and prizes. We played lazer tag, went shopping, saw a movie. Afterwards we bought two boxes of mystery candies, and when Marina opened hers, she found a chocolate animal, which would normally be something cute like a bunny or a cat, but she got a wild boar. We are not sure why it was that funny, but it is the funniest inside joke we have. Everyone was getting cute animals that everybody adores, and Marina was the only one who got a wild boar. It’s a mascot of our friendship.


Alex Lindberg, 12th, he/they/she & Lily Wellborne, 12th, she/they


How did you meet this person?

I met her in elementary school.


What did you bond over?

We bonded over our mutual love of dogs.


How long have you known each other?

10 years.


Where/what general area does this person live?

New Hampshire


Can you tell me about this person?

Lily is one of the funniest people I’ve ever met, she’s always quick with a joke and a smile. They’re one of those people that I know I’m never going to forget, that will always be there for me no matter what happens. They are so incredibly creative it hurts, I wish I had their photography skills.


Have you met in person before? If so, can you tell me about it?

After she moved in 7th grade, we’ve met about 3 times since then. She came in the summer of 2019, I went to visit her in the winter of 2021, and she came again in the summer of 2022. Each time we meet, we always go to our favorite spots and show the other person what we love about where we live. Last time she came, she got to sit in on a dance practice and I was so excited for her to watch me perform! When I went to visit her, we went to thrift stores, cooked together, and played a lot of games.


How do you keep in touch?

Snapchat and text message.


What are the challenges of being in a long distance friendship/relationship?

We miss each other a lot and we don’t have a lot of time to talk as much as we would like to.


What are the best parts of being in a long distance friendship/relationship?

No matter what’s happening, we will always be there for each other. We tell each other everything that happens and I’m so thankful to have them as my friend.


What’s one of your favorite memories with this person?

My favorite memory was when we were younger, we promised that we would go to college together and room with each other. Now, we’re both admitted to SIUE and couldn’t be more excited to be rooming together.