7 Tips For Staying In Touch With Your Family If They Live In A Different Country, Because It's Not Always Easy
Living in a different country than your family can be a little tough. I can testify to that, as I have done so for nearly a decade. Everyone knows that maintaining long-distance relationships is hard work, but, when it comes to your family, it's essential. Finding the balance between keeping in touch and not speaking so much that you feel homesick and become totally dependent on your fam is tricky but, guys, I have lots of tips for staying in touch with family who live in a different country.
If you have ever felt homesickness, you know that dull ache. That longing to be able to just nip over to a family member's house within an hour or less and have that replenishing familial love you need. However, what I always remember is the fact that we are so lucky to be in this digital age. An age when you can do video calls, send photos in an instant, message each other 24/7, and, of course, travel with relative ease.
As with most things in life, you have to put the work in to get it back in return. With these tips, you can make sure that you and your family maintain a great relationship.
1. Ensure You Keep Regular Phone/Video Call Contact
Now this one seems obvious but in a way is one of the hardest to maintain. One good way of keeping it up is ensuring you have a weekly call quota (two or three calls a week, for example) or a particular time in which you call them. Why not try making a schedule for your calls, so you know exactly when you need to be available, and vice versa?
Or, maybe it will help if you begin to associate a certain place with calling your fam. I remember someone telling me once that they always called their parents while having a bath. That's a bit too naked for me, so I always call my folks when I am out at the shops. It also means that we can talk about whatever is in the middle aisle at Aldi.
2. Family Whatsapp Group
Whatsapp groups can be an absolute pain in the proverbial. HOWEVER, the one time that they are absolutely necessary is within families. Seriously guys, to be able to chat in an open forum, share photos of what you are up to, and all while simultaneously get updates is quite something.
3. Make Your Home One They Would Feel At Home In
Being able to invite people to your home is a luxury really. But even if you only have a room in a flat share, make that room seem as welcoming as can be. Constantly remind your family that they are welcome in your home and your life. Even if they never visit, they will know that the door is always open.
4. Keep Abreast Of Current Affairs In Your Home Country
Knowing what is going on in your home town means that, when you are catching up with your family, you will be able to keep up with the conversation and also bring up topics to discuss that aren't Brexit. Let me tell you, as a non-national, it's pretty much all people at home ask about. Which is totally understandable but, y'all, also kind of tedious.
5. Try To Go Home Regularly, If You Can
Getting home is the obvious and biggest way to keep those relationships strong. However, financially and distance wise that is a luxury few can afford.
One good idea could be to set up a savings account that is specifically for travel so you can aim to get home at least once a year.
6. Send Cards & Letters
This is one of those things that is weirdly kind of a benefit of living far away. Being able to regularly send your family written letters and cards in a way you definitely wouldn't if you were in the same neighbourhood is amazing. You also have lots of lovely hard copies to look back at in the future, which is a truly beautiful thing.
7. Tell Them You Love Them As Much As Possible
OK now, for some people, I understand dropping the big L is a bit stressful. I personally subscribe to "if you love someone tell them all the time." So I say it a whole bunch and sign off every phone call with it, just to double tap all that love. If you feel comfortable, tell your nearest and dearest you love them whenever you can.
The main thing to remember when you live abroad is that, inevitably, there will be times when you are not as in-touch with your family as you could be. But don't let this make you feel guilty or worried. You're trying your best, and that's good enough.