7 creative ways for expats to stay in touch with people from home

Stay in touch with home

I think my parents would be happy to confirm that I am RUBBISH at staying in touch. All those best intentions for Skyping every weekend pretty much go down the drain when its cold, I’ve had a long week at work and Suits is calling on Netflix. I can’t even imagine what Mum and Dad think about my life in London when these are the reasons I have got in touch:

  • its midnight and the lights have gone off in my flat and I can’t find the fuse box
  • I couldn’t figure out how to change the time on the microwave
  • Terrorists attacked Paris
  • I made a pom pom rug
  • Crying from work stress
  • I needed a dairy free, gluten free dessert for a dinner party
  • There was a fox outside my door looking at me
  • I got a retweet from Sigmund Freud’s granddaughter
  • I didn’t know if the lightbulbs I had got would blow up the house

Seriously none of those are made up. My parents get no contact for a month and then just get hit with one of the above…terrible terrible daughter. Its actually amazing that they haven’t either disinherited me or somehow managed to inject me with a GPS tracker so they know where I am.

Sadly after such terrible levels of communication I am no longer the favourite daughter, the mantle has been picked up by my older sister and she is getting all my Christmas presents from Santa 🙁

To help you avoid a similar fate, below are my top 7 ways to stay in touch with home. I know some are kind of weird, but lets be honest when you are useless at staying in touch in the normal fashion you need to get creative.

1. Send a box of marshmallows with your face on

Boomf marshmallow selfies

This might be my favorite way to stay in touch, there is a company called Boomf that will put your face on a marshmallow and send it to your Mum. Ok, you don’t have to put your face on it, I just thought it was narcissistic and funny…the dream combination. You can choose any 9 photos, if you want vanilla or strawberry mellows and then they ship them anywhere in the world for free.

Sending sweets anonymously has a history in my family; my sister and I once got into a candy war where we sent each other bulk candy entirely in anger (we both knew we had no self control, and being faced with large amounts of sweets could be devastating). It started with an anonymous delivery of 4kg of marshmallows and only stopped after 4 months and the final battle of 10kg of crunchy bars. I know, my family is weird. Anyway try Boomf they are awesome and will make your whanau smile.

2. Send 60 postcards over the course of 1 year

Postcard photo

This was back when my sister was living in London as well, and these two terrible daughters were going to be overseas for both Mum and Dads 60th birthdays. At this point the cats were the clear favourite and Mum was cooking them chicken each night, I think the fur-babies were getting the house in the will. So we did something crazy to try and get back in the good books. Over the course of the year we sent them 60 postcards, on the front of each was a photo of us holding up one word on a mini chalk board. Once they got all of them they would be able to read the entire Happy Birthday message. Oh and we also got all of their friends and family to take a birthday message photo as well. Cats 0: Daughters:1

3. Skype

Skype with a cat

If you can get around the time difference, the buffering and the likelihood that at least one end of the phone will be drunk … Skype really is the best answer. Why is this one on the creative list? With the terrible internet in my flat I often end up looking like a cubist dreamboat.

4. Start a blog, wait three years then write a blog post

Runawaykiwi Dad

Love you Dad http://runawaykiwi.com/2013/08/13/a-special-note-for-my-dad/

5. A one line email is better than no email at all

If you see a top that you think your Mum might like, tell her. You see a piece of street art that would make your Dad laugh, tell him. You don’t need to put aside an hour to write down every detail of your life, your parents just want to be involved. They want to know you are safe, happy and to get some picture of your life in London. Oh and brunch, they also want photos of your brunch.

6. Call a bar and ask the creepy bartender to give your Dad a cocktail

The first year I was in London I really didn’t know what to get for my Dad for his birthday. New Zealand just seemed so far away, and no present seemed like it was enough to make up the distance. So instead I got creative/creepy. I knew it was really likely that my parents would go for a drink at this one bar in Mt Eden where we often went there as a family to celebrate life’s highs and lows. From London I called the bar, picked out a cocktail and paid over the phone. I then gave the bartender a (what looking back was probably a very insulting) description of my Dad. When Mum and Dad sat down on his birthday, the creepy bartender walked over with Dads favorite cocktail and said “this is from Rebecca, Happy Birthday”.

7. Travel half way across the world whenever you can

3 Comments

  1. Jax
    November 25, 2015 / 11:02 am

    So.many.tears….best present ever !

  2. Caitlin Jean
    November 26, 2015 / 5:33 am

    Excellent ideas!

  3. Linda
    February 7, 2016 / 6:12 pm

    Fantastic! Yes the video made me cry!