It’s been already three weeks that I’m alone with two kids in Czech Republic, while my husband is already in UK. I would’ve loved to be able to get a grandma over to play with the kids, but thing is – on of them lives in Moscow and another in Shanghai, which means travelling for some babysitting is just a little more complicated than usual. I do get some occasional help from our Czech babysitter, but, I think, you would agree that grandmothers are the best (at pretty much everything). Oh well.
What helps me a lot nowadays is being able to have video chats with all my family members for any length of time (and free of charge as well!). I remember, when I was 17 and first came to UK as a student – sms-ing abroad was quite expensive, the calls cost a fortune and I had to buy special cards with codes to dial to get cheaper rates. All of that was such a hustle and meant that I couldn’t just pick up a phone and talk for ages to my mom, for example. My husband came to UK at 12 in mid-90s and went to a boarding school. He had a call a week from his parents and I can’t even imagine, how hard that was for a child.
Thank God, times have changed, technology evolved and now I can have my family from around the world talk to my girls any time they want :) We Skype my mother-in-law and she would take the girls for a walk around the garden and show them their favourite dogs. We use WeChat to call my parents and sister in Shanghai – grandpa would make silly faces for the younger one, grandma would have a meaningful talk with the older one and their auntie would play with them hide-and-seek (they hide and I carry the phone around the house, following her instructions). We use Viber to talk to my God-mother and her kids – my older daughter loves chatting to her middle son, who’s about the same age with her, about all the important things they did during the day. In the evening, when daddy’s back home from work, we would all talk to him on FaceTime and it would be a case of pulling a phone from each other, as everyone has something to tell.
With Facebook and Instagram, I feel like I’m in constant contact with my friends around the world, sharing what we see, feel and do. Chats (Facebook, Viber, Whatsapp) make you feel like you’re with the person right at that moment, more so than emails do.
But let’s not forget good old fashioned mail as well! Of course, it takes ages to get your letter and reply, but, I found, it helps my older daughter feel connected to her expat friends, who she played with before, but are now in different countries. She would draw them pictures, put some stickers into the envelope and stick a stamp by herself. She’s so excited, when she gets a reply! Totally worth it.
In the end, what I want to say is – I just LOVE modern technology! I appreciate it every day, especially now that my two tiny expats and myself are braving the expat life in CZ as a small, but a very cool, team.