Tuesday, October 12, 2010

8 ways to stay in touch with your Family

All my life I have lived more than three days away from my grandparents and most of my extended family. Although she did not have been surprised, it was difficult for my mother to see me follow her footsteps and move to the other side of the continent away from her and my father. The need for independence that motivated to leave Virginia to settle in Ontario, Canada, New World, also encouraged me to go wherever I wanted, even if it meant to live a distance relationship with those I love.

I get along very well with my parents but I have not always done what was necessary to maintain this link. In college, I kept pushing the time he would call my parents and looking up to heaven when my father, not very trivial, said that "we never hear from me." But when my family grew and I went from being a student in college to adult married (with a new family who needed attention), stay close to his family became my something very important.

I had to find a way to stay in touch despite the distance. It was especially important at Christmas. By sharing my time between my husband's family and mine, we never get to meet us all together for the holidays. I found these eight ways to stay connected, regardless of the distance that separates us:

1. Encourage everyone to use Skype:

It took time but one after the other, my wife's family, my parents and my brothers and sisters have created a Skype account for free. Skype allows you to chat via instant messaging and video calls for free over the internet. I talk with my parents while I'm eating and I walk in the house with my laptop to show them the Christmas decorations. When they all gathered to watch football on Sunday, one of them sends me a message and I feel with them in this time with the family. On Christmas Day, I organize a video chat with the entire family. That way, we can discuss opening the gifts. I know other people who are organizing a daily discussion between grandparents and grandchildren so they can "play" on the computer. It's free, easy to learn and once everyone has got the hang of it is as if all who are dear to you will instantly find you.

2. Create a blog:

At first, my blog was just a way to put into practice what I learned at work, but it quickly became a way to share my life with my family. I write about everything that happens in my life, I put pictures and I even connected my account on Twitter to my blog so that my parents (who are not on Twitter ... for now!) to enjoy the small updates I do. It takes me less time than writing endless e-mails on the same thing with different members of my family and it is a good way to share photos without worrying about the size of e-mails and documents attached. My father has also recently created his own travel blog and sends me a lift now holding me aware of all movements.

3. Get your phone cards:

If you are in the same situation as my husband and me, you do not really need a landline. We have both a Smartphone and prefer to communicate mostly by text message instead of calling us. But this limits us in our calls to our grandparents and other family members who do not use Skype, which have no blog or no computer at all. We started to buy phone cards that we have with our phones or our wallets. For an appeal to grandparents from time to time is much cheaper than taking a subscription for calls abroad.

4. Finding simple and inexpensive to send your wishes for holidays and birthdays. I live in Canada and my parents, my brothers and sisters all live in the United States. You can not imagine how difficult it is for packages to pass the border (do not ask me about birthday cards, otherwise ...) I had to find other solutions to wish them a happy birthday or a merry Christmas on time and without having to deal with customs. Some websites such as Etsy.com, accept payment by Paypal and engaged United States. In this way, I can send gifts directly to my family. Ecards is also a very good solution. If nothing works, make arrangements with a member of your family (in my case, a sister shopaholic finding balances) who agrees to be your leprechaun and staff to save you shipping.

5. Include your family calendar:

I have a bad memory of important dates and I happened to mention more than a birthday. In the diary of my e-mail box, I try to create reminders before the big day arrives This allows me to be ahead and have enough time to send a card or call my "elf family" (see tip No. 4) and ensure that there is something in time for this special day. I realized that if I did not note these dates in my schedule as I do for my meetings, they pass into oblivion and let pass the opportunity to show my family that I think of them.

6. Receive last minute deals for airline tickets:

Most sites of airlines and cheap flights allow you to specify the destinations for which you are looking for cheap flights and send you a notification email when prices drop. I advise travelocity.com, orbitz.com, hotwire.com. Keep abreast of changing ticket prices allows us, my husband and me more opportunities to see our loved ones each year. Your family may also be involved in such research. My stepmother me more than once sent an e-mail promotions WestJet and we were able to visit with more affordable prices.

7. Do something together:

How to do something together when we do not live in the same country? I realized that there are ways to share a link or a common activity that does not necessarily require the presence of two people in the same place and same time. My sister and I, we make a calendar with pictures of our family, an annual tradition that began last year. All family members send us their photos by e-mail, we put them on Snapfish.com and we think the timing and teamwork. It's like a photo album sibling without using paper! There are other activities such as creating a sports lottery or family to do the same creative project and put the photos on Facebook of different stages to show the other changes in your work.

8. Communication and links you must be a priority:

Whatever the reason you live away from your loved ones, they can sometimes lead to negative feelings vis-à-vis the reason you do not try to get closer to them. It may be that your family does not live far from each other and you're always the one who is absent from family gatherings because life made you take a different path. Whatever the situation where you are, resist the temptation to allow communication weaken. Take the first step to engage the reports even though it's difficult for you or if you feel the difference. Getting back is a greater distance between you and feed the fear that these links are broken. Each time, as Christmas is good to take to show them, by your efforts, they are important in your life and that your relationship can become even stronger, even if you live far away.

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