Viva technology – staying in touch with home

Keeping in touch with family via skype

Skype is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family.

Two of my best friends independently announced their engagements last year and started planning weddings for this summer. Great news, except that they both asked me to be bridesmaid and I don’t even live in the same country! After the initial congratulations, a sense of dread overwhelmed me as I realised exactly what I was letting myself in for.

Being a bridesmaid twice in as many weeks would be hard enough without coordinating things from another country; how would I be able to perform my duties correctly? Flying in a week before the big day, hoping the dress fits, throwing together a suitably raucous hen party, make-up and hair run-throughs. Would a week be enough?

In this age of social networking, email and Skype, there is no excuse for not staying closely in touch with friends and family. Without it I am sure I would have lost touch completely with a few people. With two weddings looming I set about putting all this technology to use. Potential dress choices were exchanged on Facebook, Skype chats went a long way to calming any bridezilla tendencies, and the hen parties were booked and coordinated via email. I even managed to contact a long lost university friend through LinkedIn.

In an age where many people malign technology and claim it takes over their lives, I rejoice in it. I can see pictures and videos of my friend’s new baby, experience my Grandparents’ wonder when they see me on Skype and book flights home quickly and easily online. As an expat I am having an experience no one at home is having but I’m still in close contact with those people, so as I see it, I have the best of both worlds.

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Bryony Ashcroft says:

I agree I use Facebook all the time to keep in touch with my friends and family and also to share pictures with them.

I’ve found Skype to be invaluable too, my Grandparents even bought a laptop once they saw how good Skype was, it’s still great to see them so amazed when they see me on the webcam.

Harry Summers says:

Technology has been essential for me living abroad. I’ve been working sporadically as an English teacher in Italy for about two years now. Money’s been tight, so finding the money to fly home to the UK has been impossible. So without things like Skype and Facebook, my friends and family back home would probably forget what I look like.