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What do you do when your best friend tells you she is spending the year in Thailand? How do you respond to you mother who can’t believe you are packing up and moving to a different continent?
I totally understand these questions because 12 years ago my family moved from the USA to the Netherlands. Since then, I’ve spent 6 months or more living in various countries.
Whether your friend or family member is stationed in the military overseas, living as an expat, or traveling the world, it can be difficult to know how to connect and how to support there.
Below are my favorite simple tips to keep you connected, so they feel your love and support where ever they are in the world. You can also send this article to your family and friends while you travel the world. Everyone needs some inspiration to connect more often!
How to Support Expat Family or Friends
1. Facetime, Whatsapp and Skype
First, and most simply, technology is a fantastic way to stay in touch with and support expat family or friends. Facetime, Skype or whatsap are all free tools to stay connected, and the special attention can go a long way to feeling close to loved ones far away.
- Set a facetime date for a meal – even if it is dinner in one place and breakfast in another
- Include the family member in the opening of presents during birthdays or holidays via facetime, skype or whatsapp.
- Be sure to share what is new and special for you on the video – the pets, new shoes, new furniture layout, current favorite book or TV show. Make them feel they are still a part of your everyday life.
Ever wondered what to get a loved love living on the other side of the world? Ever loving packed a package, only to realize the tiny package will cost $70 to get to them?
This is where amazon comes to the rescue. There is amazon on every continent and they will ship all over the world at a fraction of the cost. Amazon.de is good for much of Western Europe. There is also amazon.co.uk (UK), amazon.es (Spain), amazon.co.in for India, and so on.
I like to make an order on the local amazon for things I know my friend or family member will miss from home. Food items are always a good choice.
Here are some gifts I’ve sent to loved ones recently:
- Taza Organic Chocolate – made the traditional Mexican way – so delicious!
- Justin’s Almond Butter, because we can never have enough almond butter
- Smartwool socks in a really fun pattern
- Merino V-neck, a classic gift
- Nut gift basket – great for anyone, and I’m clearly nuts about nuts.
3. Items they can’t get where they are
Do you know someone with large feet traveling in Southeast Asia? They will have difficulty finding shoes and socks large enough. We spent years sending size 13 men’s socks and shoes to a friend living in India – and it was a great way to stay connected.
Often there is something your loved one really misses from home. In some places, it may be good quality chocolate, or a favorite type of insect repellent. Having this special or essential items from home can make all the difference and can also connect you more closely to someone on the other side of the world.
In these cases, it is worth it to send the package.
4. Send Cards
It is amazing what a difference a card with a few photos can make. Yes, we can see the photos online, but a handwritten card with photos makes all the difference. Add a few funny notes about what is going on now, or even about the weather
- Throw in a newspaper or magazine clip, some stickers, glitter or a child’s drawing.
- All these personal touches build the connection from around the world
Keep in mind that depending on where you are sending it, it could take a few weeks or even a month to arrive.
Keep it simple, but keep connected
It doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive to keep connected, but the little touches from home can make all the difference. Use every way to connect – send cards, use facetime, order treats from Amazon in the country, and send favorite items they can’t get anywhere else.
With these simple tips your loved ones will feel totally spoiled with love and you will also feel them close to you where ever you are.
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