We have two homes. Half our family and friends live here, and the other half live on the other side of the world. This is a story about keeping in touch with loved ones all year round, via the internet.
It’s not easy living so far away from family and friends. We miss being able to drop in spontaneously on each other, chat for hours, and just hang out. We miss being able to wander into town, bumping into good friends with a fresh baguette under the arm for 5 minute catch ups before lunch. And if you wanted to find someone in particular, it would only take a few minutes to check their favourite cafés, or bars to locate them. We miss ringing the doorbells of family, any time of day, whose homes are so comfortable to us, we’ve barely crossed the threshold of the doorway, before our outdoor shoes are tossed off, and their spare indoor slippers (anticipating our return) are on!
– Postcards: usually when holidaying, chosen carefully for the accuracy of the image compared with the ‘real thing’, and usually in place of expensive to develop photographic film. The text (in teeny tiny font) would go something like: “Hi all, Havng w’ful time, weather hot-37’C, enjoying the sights, hotel comftble, host friendly, saw boat you’d’ve loved, don’t forget to feed cat! miss you, love, us xo. PS.pls keep this card for our album“. The traveller would often arrive before the card itself. (Nostalgically, during a recent trip back to see family, I bought and wrote on a number of postcards…never got around to sending them there – might do from Australia… could be funny??!!!)
Keeping in touch with loved ones via the internet:
- We message spontaneously to check if family/friends are home and line up a time to ‘meet’ within seconds.
- We chat for hours…. or minutes!
- We send and receive videos and photos throughout the day – capturing, sharing and enjoying all those everyday special moments!
- We especially love our breakfast – dinner dates, where we sit around what feels like the same table making and eating pancakes, laughing and swapping stories, recipes and film reviews, while they relax over their dinner – or vice versa!
- We love debating political and social world issues (as well as silly everyday stuff) – which, let’s face it – demand time! Side note: being married to someone who practically argues for sport – this is essential!
- When our little boy was born, it was so special to be able to introduce him – practically ‘life size’ via the internet with web cam, and likewise, to meet his little cousin, and many other special new babies welcomed into the world amongst our friends/family!
- There is something so wonderful about being able to give friends and family a tour of the house (and garden) in real time, and introduce any visitors who happen to pop in during the video calls! We even discuss gardening tips – checking out the tomato plants together…
- Our son is now so accustomed to our regular internet catch ups, that he casually goes about his business of playing, bathing, eating, singing, dancing, bike riding without any hint of ‘artificial performance’. He loves to include whoever we are chatting to via internet in his games, and does so completely naturally, as if they were actually here with us! He makes them pizzas and cups of tea from his toy stove, plays hide and seek, sings and dances, and reads/listens to stories… ‘virtually’! The other day, the cutest moment was when he and his little cousin (just 3 months older), without any prompting, spontaneously decided to take turns playing animal charades! One would flutter about with large floating wings until the other shouted out their guess: “a bird!” – then they would say “now, your turn!” Sometimes us adults would join in requesting certain animals… sometimes we’d just set up the screen and leave them moo-ing like a cow, or crawling about on all fours roaring like a lion…
- We are raising our son bilingually: for cultural heritage, for family identity, for the love of languages, for communication – to be able to get to know and be known by the half of the family/friends who live overseas, and to truly be able to live between two homes and enjoy all of their cultural celebrations. Chatting via internet with others opens another world of speakers (and practise opportunities) – otherwise it may seem to our son that it’s just us at home speaking our own ‘strange language’! It’s so lovely watching B and his great grandmother conversing…
- Young B often asks to chat with different people – love that:-)
- Meeting family/friends ‘in the flesh’ overseas was as comfortable as if we’d last seen them just a few days ago
- …honestly, this list could go on and on… I am so in awe of the wonder and possibilities of connecting via the internet.
This year, I really hope that on top of our usual, spontaneous internet catch ups, that we can plan ahead better to enjoy more scheduled ‘dates’ too!
If you enjoyed this post, you may also like to check out these:
Imagine If Less Meant More!– “Could it be worth investing in less screen time, less plastic and fewer battery operated toys to make way for a more authentic childhood?
Mama’s Going Back to Work – a toddler’s timetable to ease the separation anxiety…
Star Gazing and Possum Hunting – A Bedtime Ritual – One of our fun calming bedtime routines:-)