There is a lot to explore within the relationship between me and my Nicaraguan friend Marcos from when I met him four years ago until now. He currently lives in Nicaragua with his family, so our friendship is definitely long distance, but that doesn't stop us from calling each other brothers. We both enjoy watching and playing baseball, and I believe that we are actually very similar people. The only difference is that he has never been given the opportunity to play on a team, and probably never will. The summer after eighth grade when I first travelled to Nicaragua for two weeks I had talked to him through Facebook but I didn't really know him and I definitely didn't know Nicaraguan Spanish. I had signed up with a church exchange group to go for two weeks and make friends with a kid in Nicaragua, and then the next summer that same kid would come and live with me for two weeks in Minnesota. What I didn't know when I signed up was that I would be making a friend for life and falling in love with a third world country that I knew nothing about.
One recent podcast by StoryCorps talks about the relationship between two friends named Akiva Johnson and Henry Jimenez and the difficulties of forming a relationship, and also how many relationships are forged by having the opportunity to open up and share personal experiences. Both of these kids live in Brooklyn, New York and have gone through incredible hardships including surviving a hurricane as well as moving from Mexico to the United States at the age of 13. This type of relationship which is forged by hardship and created sometimes out of coincidence reminds me of the relationship that I have between me and Marcos. Although our troubles are on dramatically different scales, we both had to struggle to meet each other. I worked in my church selling everything from egg rolls to CDs to truffles to get enough money to travel to see him, while he has to sell juice on the side of the street every day just to keep himself and his family alive.