happy happy joy joy!

My little brother called me tonight! From Africa! I got the run-down of their journey to Dakar and the basic shape of their life there now. (They're still jet-lagged, but have more than a week before students arrive, so there's time to adjust.) And we got to enthuse about the triumphs and perils of the last Harry Potter book.

I heart Skype. When Dad and Mike went on a six-week mission tour in Asia in 1996, Mom and I spoke to them once during the whole trip -- and that conversation was stunted by the looming awareness of how freakin' much each minute would cost us. But using an internet-based phone service, I can talk to Africa for less than I pay for domestic long-distance (and I'm getting a pretty good deal on that). So we can chat for an hour without feeling guilty.

We'll still mostly communicate through more conventional internet media, I'm sure, since that's what we did when we were only three time zones apart, and now we're four -- in the opposite direction. (I can't believe I just called e-mail a conventional form of communication. This world we live in!) But it's nice to have the live voice option. Especially when I feel like playing 20 questions. And it means my Mom can talk to her boy every week if she wants, as long as they can figure out a time to call that's (relatively) convenient to both ends of the SEVEN-hour time zone difference from GMT to PDT. Makes the world feel smaller.

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