October 03, 2015

Do You Ever Get Homesick Living Abroad? Why Not Skype to Skype?

Did you leave a piece of your heart in the U.S? It’s easy to do when you have special attachments to family and even close friends in your home country.  We’re pretty sure that most parents and grandparents when they move abroad leave a piece of their heart where they were planted; this is especially true if you have children and or grandchildren that live in the same city or town you left behind.
 

If you’re fortunate enough to have the financial ability to go visit your family two or three times a year that would be great! However, most folks aren’t that fortunate; and now after the 20% tax hike on all flights entering and leaving Ecuador, it’s become even more expensive.  The flights were already sky-high (no pun intended) and now with the taxation it makes it almost impossible for some folks to visit family in the U.S.
...leaving on a jet plane, don't know when I'll be back again...
SKYPE to SKYPE with Your Loved Ones
 

So what is the solution to home-sickness when living abroad? SKYPE is a nice resource that many separated families use when they want to reach out and say “I love you” but it is not the same as being there in person of course. Skype to Skype is video chat through your computer and it’s free!  For Skype to Skype you will need to have a decent Internet speed. In Cuenca the speed is usually fine for Skyping, but not always.
 

When I call my mom in the U.S I call her on the phone using “magic jack” because she has never figured out how to use SKYPE yet.  Some mature people have a difficult time learning computer mumbo-jumbo but it is not that they can’t learn. Lots of older folks learn how to use computers but a small percentage don’t seem that interested, especially when they get up there in age, like my mom.
 

For family members who do not know that much about using SKYPE, we recommend practicing with the program BEFORE you move abroad to make sure they actually know how to use it. For older folks it helps to make notes on index cards about certain steps they might need to take to open the program up, answer the phone or dial a number.  Don’t laugh, for some folks learning computers seems like a breeze and for others it takes a bit of effort, such as a few steps/notes on index cards.
 

But if you practice with the program a little bit with your loved ones before moving, you can be sure you will be able to talk with them whenever you feel like it by simply making SKYPE talk-dates with one another. It helps with some of the home-sickness.  Another fun thing you can do is make private YouTube videos for family members only.
 

Create Personal YouTube (YT) Videos
 

We’ve used YT a couple of times to create personal videos to friends. It’s neat because you can set your YT video to private and the only people that see it are those you allow to view it.
 

How it’s done is you make your video as usual, in this case if you are living abroad, you might want to make a video to your children/grandchildren back home about some of your travel adventures. Perhaps you want to say things that are private and personal, well go ahead because when the video is done and you are ready to upload, simply set the video to “private” in the YT console settings. No one but you will be able to see the video after you upload it to YT.  (Except for the YouTube staff, the email provider staff, and any other agency that violates your privacy ;-\ )
 
Next, add your families email back home that you want to view the video.  After you have done that, they only need to log into YT and they too, will be able to view the personal travel video you created just for them. This is a great tool for families and friends to interact as privately as they wish and whenever they want. I think interacting on Skype to Skype while they are viewing the video you created for them would be a nice/fun family get-together.
 

In the unfortunate event  that phone/video calls and viewing family videos is not enough to get the homesickness out of your system and then in those cases you might have to bite the bullet, spend a couple grand and go visit your family in the U.S…I’m leaving on a jet plane, don’t know when I’ll be back again…but Cuenca is where I live now…

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We're an expat Family of Five, Living Frugal, Healthy and Happy Abroad. We live in Cuenca, Ecuador and travel the Ecuador coast whenever we get a chance. We just adventured throughout the country of Panama for five weeks! Come along and enjoy some of our experiences with us!

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