Arguably the hardest part about moving across the world was leaving our family and friends back home. We knew it would require way more effort on everyone’s part to stay in touch but we really had no idea how it would actually play out once we moved. After a year of living abroad, I think we’ve done a great job of making that effort and keeping up with everyone. If you’re nervous about moving abroad and staying in the loop back home, or currently are abroad and are struggling with that, here are some of my favorite ways to bridge the distance.
Letters from Home
WHAT THEY ARE: 12 cards, filled out by friends and family prior to your departure and then sealed up to pack and take abroad. Each month of the first year we opened one card. Some included photos, some were funny, some were sentimental but each was a little piece of home and brought us huge smiles.
WHY I LOVE THEM: The odds of people actually sending cards to your new address are slim, a few people will, but most won’t. It’s not because they don’t love you, it’s just that life gets busy and nobody knows how much postage to put on an international envelope so that requires a special trip to the post office… and on and on. This little “expat hack” ensures you’re still hearing from people who care and also reminds you to check in with them if you haven’t in a few months. This is also particularly great if you’ve got older kids, they can have a special set just for them!
HOW TO GET STARTED: As you prepare to move and start doing the final goodbye rounds, bring the notecards along and ask each person to pick a month, have them fill it out and be sure to get it back from them on the spot. If you’re already abroad, try starting this fun tradition the next time you are back home for a holiday or visit.
WHAT THEY ARE: These lovelies can be set up to populate from any social media account or, you can create a custom book from your camera roll. I have my subscription (affordable and only charges you when a book is shipped) linked to my Instagram account so anytime I post a photo, it goes into the book. Once 60 photos are in the book, it prints and ships. Easy peasy.
WHY I LOVE THEM: Not only do my Chatbooks serve as an awesome keepsake of our time abroad, but I have them sent directly to my Mom’s house back home. She isn’t an avid Instagram user so a lot of time she’ll miss so much of the photos I post, this way she gets a beautiful glimpse into our day to day life. I also created custom books for all the grandparents as Christmas presents, which were a huge hit!
HOW TO GET STARTED: Click here or on the photo above to get your first book free with a new subscription.
WHAT IT IS: A special video greeting from all your loved ones back home. Everyone sends you a short video clip with their wishes, and you compile them all together in a short video to gift to the birthday boy or girl.
WHY I LOVE THEM: I really didn’t want my son to miss out on feeling the love of all our family and friends around him on his birthday so this was the next best thing to a party, that I could come up with. Yes, it took some hounding to get all the videos and yes, it took some time to compile it but, his reaction and the end result were all worth it.
HOW TO GET STARTED: Create some quick parameters for submissions and a deadline. Send it out via email or, create a Facebook event, then start compiling the videos. I used Windows Movie Maker for the end product however there are countless other programs you could use.
Are you currently living abroad? I’d love to hear the unique ways you stay in touch with your friends and family! Leave a comment and let me know, I’m always looking for more tips.
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