When my wife and I moved to Asia with our two boys many years ago, we knew that the only communication we would have with our family would be through letters. There would be the occasional phone call, but phone calls were expensive and the sound quality was poor. Our parents would experience their grandchildren growing up only though photographs and our twice weekly letters. But that was then.
The good news is that now, even though you may be separated from family and friends by thousands of miles, it’s easier to maintain close relationships with those you love through instant messaging and video chats. Many international families send pictures back and forth daily.
Apple’s Facetime, Google’s Duo, or Microsoft’s Skype allows you to have free video conversations with anyone, anywhere in the world on your cell phone or tablet computer. You are not limited by being connected to the internet, as these programs will work through cellular data on your cell phone.
I video talk with my two-year-old grandson almost every morning as he eats breakfast using Duo. When both my son and daughter-in-law are in the car with my grandson, we often video talk, especially when they are on a long trip. My grandson loves to talk with his grandparents by video talk, and we are able to see him develop physically and intellectually day by day and week by week.
While it can be a bit trickier to set up times to talk when separated by many time zones, with some simple planning it’s easy to set up a regular time for a video conversation. These programs also enable you to celebrate Christmas and Thanksgiving together as well as other family events.
The other good news is that over the last thirty years, the cost of flying internationally has fallen over 30%. This makes it much more affordable for friends and families to visit those living in another country. The ability for the grandparents and parents to visit their “foreign family” helps to allay fears they may have concerning their children and grandchildren.
Messaging pictures, video chats, and more frequent international visits have made it possible for grandparents, children, and grandchildren to be actively involved in one another’s lives, even when separated by large distances. How wonderful to live in a time when we have the ability to stay close to our loved ones even when far apart.