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Saturday, 18 July 2015

Being An Expat - What to do when YOU miss someone?

Good morning dearests!

I was thinking about it lately, that indeed what makes a home are the people and not the places. You could be alone in the most beautiful place in the world, but if you would have none to share it with your joy will be diminished. We are born into this world having a need for other people to surround us and accept us. We need the approval and we search for it, even if we like it or not - it is in our blood! I love my family, I love the people, and sometimes - as an expat - is quite hard to feel at home when your heart is separated in so many corners of this wide world! 
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My Mum / Dad / Granny are in Romania, my amazingly smart and talented sister is having an internship in Brussels & I live in Poland with my adorable proud Polish husband. One would think it is quite hard to catchup with eachother - you will be then surprised to know all members of the family actually have Facebook and we frequently have group chats there ;) That's right! Even my Granny - by the way have I ever told you how awesome my Grandma is?!? :)
A Peony For Your Thoughts... - made by #thetwistedredladybug
Considering the fact that we have so much technology at our little finger and the fact that Internet has spread its spider-web net all over this world, why not use it in a positive way and keep up with your friends and family?! Social media can be Heaven and Hell all wrapped in one, but I must admit that in times like this it does come in handy ;) That is why today I was thinking of sharing with you - dear expats and future expats - ways in which you can keep in touch with your loved ones:
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1. Having a blog - One of the reasons I have started this blog was keeping in touch with people I love, people that are scattered around the world. I wanted to be able to convey the information fast to as many people as I could. They wanted to know how I was, what did I see new and what were my plans for the future. At a certain point I ended up replying via email or Facebook, to the same question, over a dozen times... speaking with different people. Some wanted details, some wanted to see the pictures and others wanted the juicy bits, the tips and tricks. Now I can write a single post with everything and everyone is happy :) they know that at least one every other day I will be online, alive and kicking, telling some new story of my life.
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2. Facebook - I think it is pointless and superfluous to admit that this platform was one of the best inventions of the century. Zuckerberg had a brilliant idea and he knew how to sell it. Everybody now days has a Facebook account, and even that is not necessarily a good thing - accounting to the Big Brother who knows it all and stores your data for further usage and reuse... - it has its positive side by bringing together people from all the corners of the world. My Granny has her own tablet and Facebook account and together with Mum and my sister we do conferences on Facebook in real time. Now I ask you: how cool is that?! :) I have a very high-tech family ;)
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3.WhatsApp - Very similar to Skype and very helpful if one has a 24/7 internet connection and a good Android phone. You can call anyone for free, if they have installed the app on their phone as well. All you need to do is register through the phone and give your number and you can have it for free, for testing, for a year - after that you need to pay, but not much, especially if you get the hang of it and you constantly text and call though it. My friends use it a lot, so I was - in a way - forced to join in, but I must admit it ain't that bad :)
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4. Skype - Have not used it for quite a while now, I must admit, as I switched to WhatsApp, but before that it was easy to call friends and family through it. Now come to think of it, I still use it when I do calls though the Facebook platform as that is actually a Skype type connection. Smart this young Zuckerberg is ;)))
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5. (Regular) Phone Calls - I must admit, I rather have them then make them... (blushing). The Polish mobile network companies have absolutely no offer that would help expats. For example, in Romania all the mobile companies have at least one kind of subscription that allows to make calls inside the EU (and some even for Canada and US) for free, up to a certain amount of minutes (usually around 30 minutes). That is why most of the times Mum and Granny call me :)
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6. Letters / Postcards - Well, to tell you the truth, this is my favourite part. I love that my husband has a thing for postcards as well. He has been collecting them for quite a while and since we are together that collection grew. Each time we visit a place we buy postcards: one for us and one for Granny & Mum & Dad. Even if we do not manage to send it from the place we bought it (like the one from Brussels), we still send it nonetheless. I know that makes them smile and the thought of them smiling makes me happy :)
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7. Packages send through friends that visit / live in the area - Being an expat you connect with other expats as well, and it is even better when they come from the same country / region / city. You begin to form connections and sometimes you will even send packages through eachother and do small shoppings - it's natural! The lovely part is when you start doing packages for the ones abroad, that you love, and you know you need to have something for everyone but you need to make it small so the person carrying it would not be bothered. It's a challenge but when you think of the end game: knowing your Mum would smile at the thought of the surprise... it's worth it! :)
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8. Visiting them (unexpected) - Oh, I am quite a master in that! At least one a year I manage to get home unexpected; or if they do expect me I always tell them a different date. After 4 years of me doing that, they got used to it and now they know they can expect us anytime ;))) Sweet surprise!
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9. Hosting them - If you have friends and you love them, and you wat to see them, you will host them! :) Our door is ALWAYS open for our friends and family and each year we have at least half a dozen people sleeping over our place - I act as a tour guide, I show them Krakow, and Marek is the amazing and fun cook of the day (he is perfect!). We already have friends who came here a couple of times and they still wish to come and see us :) This August, for example, Mum will be visiting us and I can hardly wait for that! (I only wish Granny could come too... but I know it is a long road.) Did I mention we started a Guest Book? ;)))
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10. Sending them a pidgeon with a scrolled message on his leg - OK! I might not have tried that YET! but it would be fun to see, would it not?! :)

How do YOU - the expats reading this - keep in touch with the ones you care about? What is your secret receipe? If I am missing any way of keeping in touch I would love to hear from you :)

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug Expat That Loves Social Media :)