Since moving abroad, I have ridden the emotionally turbulent rollercoaster over and over again between homesickness and revelling in my new adventure. As I nervously put myself out there to make friends in my new home, the faces and memories of my loved ones pop into my mind without warning and I find myself comparing new experiences and friendships to those from my home country. Maintaining long-distance relationships is hard.
I very quickly realised how easily I took my close friends for granted as soon as I found myself living so far away from them. The fear of missing out hit me strong and I felt sad that they might move on without me or ‘forget’ about our friendship. Of course, a lot of the thoughts that strike during homesickness are irrational and the strength of my friendships back home have since proven to be long-lasting despite the distance. However, it isn’t easy. I make sure to take the time out of my day to catch up with the people I love, wherever they are, and have experimented with different ways to show them that I am still thinking about them long-distance from across the world.
So here are the 5 best ways I have found so far to keep in contact with long-distance friends and show them that you care. (Some of the many benefits of this digital world…) PLEASE comment below if you have any other ideas as I would love to try them out!
1. Flowers on Special Occasions
When I lived in my home country, I only ever knew if it was somebody’s birthday from a notification on Facebook. Now that I live abroad, I have made sure to write down everyone’s birthdays, anniversaries, graduation dates, etc in my diary so that I see it in advance and can arrange for something special to be sent to them long-distance. Ask for your loved ones’ addresses and keep them stored for when you need them. Then, when the date comes around, arrange for flowers to be sent to their home address. It is so easy nowadays to schedule flower deliveries in advance to different addresses over different dates.
Recommendation: I LOVE Bloom and Wild for the UK. They deliver flowers that look like they’ve been plucked straight from a wildflower meadow and deliver them through the letterbox in a handy sized package – No more worrying if the person will be home or not! They’re always offering great promos and discounts (including 10% off your first order).
2. Amazon Gift Packages
Words cannot describe the joy I felt when I received a mysterious Amazon package in the mail one day… and opened it to find a handful of brand new books sent to me by my best friend from home!
She ordered them online via Amazon and if you select that the order is a ‘Gift’, it gives you the option to add a note along with each item. I absolutely LOVE this feature. Each one of my new books came with a message from her saying why she recommends it. The package had such a deep, personal touch as if she had packed it herself! Being long-distance from loved ones is tough, but it definitely got a little easier that day and will continue with each word I read and think of her.
3. Hand-Written Letters
Let’s take it back to the old-school pen pal days! I don’t know about you, but I love the feeling of glee as you open a physical letter and see the familiar handwriting of a loved one. Take me to any crafts store and I spend way too much money on stickers, coloured pens and other fancy stationary to get my artsy fix! I like to include postcards and gifts from my new home abroad to show them what I’m up to and ask people back home to send me snacks and beauty products that I miss in return.
4. Take the time to Video-Chat
It’s an easy trap to fall into: You always TALK about arranging a video-call but find that months and months go by and you still haven’t managed to arrange a good time… Whether it’s time difference struggles or your schedules are just too busy, both agree to actually set a solid date and time when you can fire up your Facebook Messenger or Skype and actually sit and chat face-to-face. Ditch the typed messages and actually laugh in real-time together. You can even take it one step further and watch the same movie one night!
5. Shared Photo Account
Make a shared account where you can upload photos and memories to! My friend and I have a One Drive account where we upload quotes and funny memes as well as videos and photo throw-backs from our past. If I’m having a bad day, it gives me such a boost to log into the account and see all of our interactions and memories.
What have you done to keep in touch with a long-distance loved one?