Hi everyone! Since I’m moving away very soon, I thought that I would write about the hard topic of how to keep in touch when you’re separated by oceans and continents.
Leaving your hometown is hard. You know when you miss someone because they’ve been on a trip for like 2 weeks or a month? You miss being able to call them on a whim and telling them what’s up with your day? You miss going out to dinner with them? Or simply just seeing their pretty face?
Well that is a permanent feeling for expats. Paired with the feeling of guilt for not being present and the feeling that everything is out of your control since you never know what might happen and what you might be able to do about it. Distance makes everything more difficult.
For those of you who have been reading faithfully, you know I’ve been in a long distance relationship as I am (still for a few days) in Canada and my boyfriend is in the UK.
However, for many expats, you’ll know that long distance doesn’t stop there. As an expat you’ll know right away when seeing the words ‘long distance’ that it doesn’t only apply to relationship with a partner. Long distance is something you live with everyone (pets included, in some cases) you love who isn’t living in the same part of the world as you – whether it’s a few hours away, across the ocean or across the world.
Today, I want to keep it positive and write about the ways we can keep in touch with people despite the distance! In our day and age it’s so easy! Here are my 5 preferred methods :
– Skype : Skype is my first and most important tool as an expat for keeping in touch! I’m very close to my parents and while in St Andrews I Skyped my parents every week! They put the computer on the table where I used to sit for dinner and sometimes we’d talk as they had dinner. I think it helps the feeling that someone is there in front of you. Skype is genius for that. You get to be face to face with people, and while you can’t touch or hug, it’s still that human contact!
– Care packages : The first time I got a package from my mom when I was staying in St Andrews, I cried. It was silly because it didn’t include anything huge. But it was the gesture behind it – the thought, the small attention that reminded me that yes they hadn’t forgotten about me! It’s silly because I probably had Skyped with them the day before, but hey I can’t explain to you how the brain/emotions work! I’ve made it a duty to send a few care packages this year – to some friends across the world. It’s hard because I obviously can’t afford to send 10 packages across the globe when they go up to 15-20$ each. But one every once in a while goes a long way to remind people that you think about them.
– Letters/Postcards : Let’s be honest, we don’t write enough correspondence anymore! I LOVE to get letters in the mail (which isn’t from my bank…)! I was big on penpals when I was younger, perhaps it’s because I love writing, but I loved writing a good letter! On my birthday last year I received these cards from my high school, friends, it made me so happy to open and read them all! Of course, we have emails to keep in touch – but there seems to be this kind of urgency about emails, which makes it hard to write long messages. Letters take more time, more attention. I need to get in the habit of writing more letters! …and hopefully people will answer them too!
– Whatsapp : Amen for my favourite app ever (okay google maps and instagram might supplant it slightly, but anyhow). The person who invented this is a genius and clearly understands expats! Texting from abroad is so expensive and it’s a big no no – and sometimes you’re on the go and sending emails and stuff isn’t an option. Whatsapp allows you to have instantaneous conversation and send photos to people across the globe. If you only knew how many conversations I have going on – so many and on almost every continent! Whether it’s a regular thing or a sporadic hello, it always warms my heart.
– Making plans : We’re human after all and making plans and looking toward the future is something we all crave. Making plans and looking forward to seeing the people you love again will help appease the pain of not having them in your life. Like buying a plane ticket to come spend Christmas home, or finally be reunited with a partner and having a reunion with friends who live across the world.
What is your best way to keep in touch with your loved ones across the world?xx