You’ve recently moved your life to a new country, you’ve started a new job, set up a new home and your expatriate life is shaping up nicely. The only difficult part is keeping in touch with the family members that are still back home. Perhaps you have children, parents, grandparents or even spouses that now live far away.
It’s not always easy to carry on your life without certain important people that you’re used to seeing regularly, but luckily you’re not alone in this. With the world opening its borders up for people to live and work abroad, many find themselves in long distance relationships.
It’s very important to stay in touch in order to keep the friendship or relationship alive, so we have put together a few creative ways to make communicating across the oceans a bit more fun. After all, there’s no reason why distance should take the laughter out of your relationship. Laughter may well be the best way to make the distance bearable.
Make the conversations real-time
People often think that catching up over long distances need to happen in one, long sitting where you spill every detail of you past week. This isn’t true. Your relationship will stay much more alive if you focus on short, regular bursts of interaction and perhaps one proper catch-up at the end of the week. Create a Google document that you and your loved ones both have editing access to. Leave a short message or write something funny that happened with you in the street to create a conversation that is ongoing and current.
Put your selfies to good use
One of the best ways to lift your spirits on a bad day is to see the face of someone close to you. Distance doesn’t have to change this. Send pictures of yourself to each other. Perhaps you overslept this morning and you’re looking groggy and tired – take a picture of yourself just like that and send it home. It will add a level of honesty to your relationships. If you have children back home, get them to pull funny faces for you and look at it whenever you miss them.
Stay connected in indirect ways
Schedule a time every month to watch the same movie, at the same time, in each of your individual homes. You don’t necessarily have to be in contact while watching the movie, but it will create the feeling of doing something together. Just like at home, you’re not always in the mood to keep a conversation going. Sometimes just doing something together silently is comforting too.
Download messaging applications
Instant messengers like Whatsapp are paramount to your relationship. It lets you send message across borders for free and you can add pictures and voice notes when you don’t have the time or the patience to write. It’s easy to send a quick message asking how their day was or what they’re cooking for dinner. Skype is your second best friend, but your Skype conservations don’t always have to be boring. Poor yourselves a glass of wine on each end and play a game like Battle Ships or quiz games on a Friday night instead of going out.
Keep your dates
If you have a date to phone each other, do not cancel. Time difference and schedules will make it difficult for you to find a different time to catch up. Make this date just as important as a meeting with your boss would be.
Get into habits
Small, regular habits can make all the different, especially when life gets so busy that you can’t find time to fit in a decent conversation. Send a voice note to each other the moment you wake up in the morning, or just before you go to bed at night. It only takes 10 seconds and it will keep the channel of conservation open between you constantly. Get into the habit of letting the kids draw a picture for the family members abroad every Sunday and sending a picture or a scanned copy of it every Monday morning first thing.
Keep in touch financially
If you’re paying for maintenance, paying off a bond or sending money back home for different reasons, be absolutely certain that you don’t miss your payments. Your loved ones back home are counting on it. Services like Ria Money Transfer make it easy to transfer money internationally. Make this one of your very first priorities to set up and sort out when you move abroad.