The Compulsive Reader: Laotong Nights

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Laotong Nights

I know that I usually keep this blog strictly YA, but one "adult" book I've really enjoyed is Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. It was made into a movie, which comes out soon, and to celebrate the release and the amazing friendship of the characters, here are some tips on how to keep in touch with your long distance friends--something that is helpful as we all get older and move further away.

Growing up in 19th century China, Lily (Bingbing Li) and Snow Flower (Gianna Jun) are brought together in a Laotong friendship—a lifelong bond between two women who rely on each other for companionship and comfort. Amid the civil unrest and gender discrimination of the era, the pair deals with life’s hardships together until they are separated by marriage and childbirth. As sworn sisters, however, the women continue to communicate through the secret Chinese language of nushu, hiding their stories and messages within the folds of delicate silk fans.

Lily and Snow Flower had an intense friendship that lasted a lifetime. Nushu helped them communicate and remain close, even in distance. Everyone has that old friend they have known for a long time, yet find it hard to keep in touch. Both get busy with their separate lives and don't take the time to catch up with one another. In honor of SNOW FLOWER AND THE SECRET FAN coming to Blu-ray and DVD Nov. 1, we've created a guide for keeping in touch with your besties, through whatever life may put between you. Here we share tips such as writing letters, Skyping and sending each other gifts in the mail.

Write Letters

There’s nothing like a handwritten letter to let someone know that you care and are thinking about them. Make a point of writing to your long-distance friend at least once a month, and giving them updates on what’s going on in your life, and asking what’s new in their life. If you’re so inclined, you can include photos or other small tokens of your friendship with your letters. This simple, heartfelt update will go a long way in making your friendship last.

Take a Trip Together
If it’s within both of your budgets, you and your bestie should take a trip together! Meet up in different places each year – places that are either meaningful to you both, or places that you two have always wanted to visit together. Have a weekend in Las Vegas, a week at the theme parks in Orlando, a glamorous trip to Hollywood, or a long, restful weekend in New England. Making new memories (or reliving old ones) will help keep your friendship vibrant.


One of the greatest inventions for modern day friendships is Skype. Making a weekly or biweekly “Skype date” can give you a chance to both talk to and see your long-distance friend on a regular basis. Best of all, Skype is free to use, even if you’re video-chatting someone internationally! Skype is great because, in addition to getting to hear your friend’s voice, you can also actually show them what’s new with you, or do something new together!

Start an Online Photo Album

There are so many different ways to share photos online these days, and you and your friend should take advantage of that! You can make a private album that only the two of you can access (you can do this on Facebook, PhotoBucket, etc.), and then you can both upload and comment on each other’s photos and keep up with what’s going on in each other’s lives.

Send Each Other Gifts

If you’re ever out shopping and see a little something that reminds you of your friend, or something you think your friend would love, why not send it to them? With USPS’ Flat Rate Boxes, you can send as much as you want to your long-distance friend for a small fee. Why not make a care package, filled with things you know they like (like homemade treats, or products specific to your area that they can’t get where they live)? If you exchange small gifts every few months, it will remind your friend that you’re thinking about them, and help you two stay friends forever.

What are some of the ways that you keep in touch with your long distance friends?


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Anonymous said...

This book sounds like a really sweet read!
I love writing letters to my friends and I love getting old-fashioned mail :D I think it's one of the best things you can do to keep a friendship going.

Liss Martz said...

Well, I like that you include adult books, too. We should read a little bit of everything, that's my thought. It sounds like a great book, I'm going to add it to my tbr pile. Well, I have a couple of friends who are living far from me, and I missed them so much. A way to be in contact is on FB. Thanks to the internet we can chat, mostly at night. Another way is sending text messages to them, just with "I miss you" or telling them something that happend to me in the day. And sometimes, I go to their places or they come to mine and we go out to see a movie or have some dinner. We always have a great time.