H.P. asks from Guilford, CT on July 13, 2011
Staying Connected When Living Far Apart...
I am having a bit of a tough day today. I have been living in London since October, initially a tough transition, but now really enjoying it. We are fortunate enough to have a phone plan that allows free calling to the US for calls under 60 mins. Basically I feel like the burden of staying in contact with people now falls on me because I can call them for free. If I dont call then we don't talk. I feel like some people are slipping away from me and it is really upsetting me, specifically my brother and his wife. My brother traveled all the time for 7 years playing minor league babseball, but would call regularly because cell phone calls in the US are free. Now he is home and done with baseball and I am away and he NEVER reaches out to me via email or skype. My SIL and I used to spend a lot of time together when he was traveling and when we first moved here we were in regular email/FB contact. Not anymore, I never hear from her unless I reach out first. They are expecting their first baby in December and I feel so emotionally distant from them and it makes me sad. Not that I need to be included in everything, but this is going to be my first niece/nephew and I am excited for them. Thiis morning I found out they are having a "gender revealing party" on Saturday July 30th...we will be home for a visit on August 1st..I am really upset that they planned it knowing we would be home 2 days later and don't know how to get past it....Any of you ladies who live far away fromfamily...What kinds of things do you do to keep the close connections with family and friends?
So What Happened?™
Thanks for the ideas ladies. I think I am just having a pity party kind of day. I call frequently and we do Skype and I also have a blog with all of the things we are doing to keep everyone in the loop. I know that the burden falls on me seeing as I am the one who moved for the three years, I guess I am just homesick and feeling sorry for myself. It probably doesn't help that I am 7.5 weeks pregnant with my third and haven't told anyone yet so I am probably hormonally charged as well... Guess I was just looking for an ear or two to vent to.
S.S. answers from Chicago on July 13, 2011
I don't live far away but enough away it feels like I am in another world. My children moved two hours away. And they are boys. And I am beginning to sadly think that boys (at least from conversation and mine own as examples) are not the communicators we women are cut out to be. Ouch that hurts. I found lately that I must undertake phone calls (often unreturned), they seem to respond to text and I haven't tried skype yet. I have a half sister in another state and we talk all the time. So perhaps the theory is correct. I live with my husband, he's a man and he never talks even when he is here. Hahaha thought I'd try to get you to laugh. Yes it does hurt. People are often in their own little world and do not seem to understand how much you feel.And how bad. Forgive them. (Not always easy). For your health. They did screw up about making a party the 30th and if there are people that you would like to see could you have them skype you during the party? I was at a shower once where they did that. We had the presents here and they were in California watching as that unfolded.Life truly isn't fair and I waited and waited six years to hear from my son in the service, had him come home briefly and then he had the nerve to run off and get married (she doesn't call her mom either-so that just undid my theory-well actually I guess she does every two or three weeks). So, my conclusion is that if we want to communicate (and you are already doing this) we have to make our own efforts. And especially now. She might really feel pukey all the time while she is pregnant and he might be worried financially about how he will support his little family. So communication isn't always how we would work it. It is cyclical sometimes, too. Just when you think they won't be around they start calling you. Your sister in law might call for advice, your brother might need a shoulder to lean on. But in the meantime, yup, it's not fair but you know one thing, when you are feeling down and alone this way there are a lot of us out here ready to talk and listen.
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G.T. answers from Redding on July 13, 2011
You shouldnt be mad about missing the party, you cant expect them to have a party on a Monday and actually get guests.
You are still suffering from a bit of "homesickness" I think.
Someone always has to be the one to "reach out" if you want to connect. If that burden is falling on you yet you DO want to talk to everyone then I guess you are the one that has to do the reaching for now.
Lives are busy and now that you are abroad the time change is also a factor too. They may not contact you when it's convenient for them because it may be 2 in the morning at your place... so take that into consideration.
Your friends and family probably already know you miss them and maybe they feel guilty sharing some of the fun activities going on here because they don't want to make it harder for you. Let them know you NEED to hear the current events to make you feel good. By sharing that with them maybe you will hear from them more often. You sharing funny and good stories from your end in London would be interesting to them as well. If you are only complaining that you wish you were home, maybe your calls to them are downers and they dont want to talk to you. Just a thought.
Hope you can work through this :)
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K.P. answers from New York on July 13, 2011
We live in NY and my entire family lives in FL where I grew-up. It's really hard and I find myself upset all the time b/c they have family dinners on Sunday, go to concerts together, art exhibits, "sisters night out" (w/o one of the sisters), etc. But until we can sell the house and find jobs in FL (could be years) it "is what it is" as they say. It stinks and it takes work to keep connected.
- Skype once a week for 10 minutes. Put it on the calendar and email them a reminder the day before! NO CANCELLATIONS!
- Email a monthly "update" to all family members
- Weekly phone calls to each immediate family member (10 minutes if that's all the time they have)
- SNAIL MAIL! People forget how wonderful it is to get an envelop in the mail with a "real" letter and pictures inside!
At some point you have to accept the fact that they have a life that doesn't include you on a daily basis. They don't need to schedule a party on a Monday night so that you can be there- this is a celebration event for them and they want their family and friends there. Call or email your brother and ask him to have you on Skype (even if it's 2:00 am where you are) when they "announce" the gender.
There are still things that I find out about weeks later and it hurts b/c I feel like they forget that I'm one of the siblings too, but in the end I know they aren't doing it to be hurtful. I'm just not there to be part of everything, but I make EVERY effort to be there for as much as I can!
It's not international travel, but we go home for a full week twice a year. It means we don't take other vacations, but that's okay with us. One week in the summer and Christmas every year until we can get there. My parents come here twice a year, but my sisters don't. We are always the ones who travel, but then again we are the ones who live "far away"!
When my twin nieces were born, I flew home to be there when they came home from the hospital. Will they remember it? Nope, but my sister and I always will and they will have pictures of their Aunt Krissy holding them in the hospital. It was expensive, but I will do it when the next one is born just like my sisters did when my son was born- they were here within a week to hold and love him.
You just do what you have to do- even if you are the one initiating it. Toss the pity-party right out the door and pick up the phone!
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A.J. answers from New York on July 14, 2011
I so feel your pain! I have been living in Switzerland for 2 years. I had my 2nd daughter a few months after we moved and am now pregnant with my third. What has worked for us is scheduling weekly skype dates. I skype with my mom every Friday afternoon. My middle sister is also really good about skyping. Unfortunately my youngest sister isn't so good and my in-laws have almost no interest in skyping! With my sister who doesn't skype I send her an email that says my girls and I have forgotten what she looks like and then she will usually call us. As far as my in-laws go, I've just decided they are a lost cause. It's hard for my husband, but you can't make people stay in touch with you. It is hard when most of the responsibility falls to you for keeping in touch. I hope it gets better for you! Good luck with baby #3!!!
K.L. answers from Savannah on July 13, 2011
Are you familiar with skype? My husband and I moved from the west coat to the east coast when our son was 4 weeks old and it has been really hard on our parents to not be able to hold and play with their grandson. Skyping makes things so much better for everyone and it also helps to not feel as homesick. If you are not familiar with skype, it is a free program that you install on your computer. Anyone can do it and it is free to join. All you need to do is to create a login from skype.com and have a web cam. You can even do it during the gender revealing party and be a part of the celebration! My husband and I have participated in birthday parties and social gatherings through skype. I would strongly recommend it!
S.B. answers from Houston on July 13, 2011
First off, I'm soooo jealous! I want to move to London in the worst way. I'm trying to position myself for that in the future!
We lived in Rio de Janeiro when I was a kid. So this was before skype, cell phones, fb. We actually had to write letters! It was tough but we went home once a year for about 6 weeks. My parents always took a week out of that 6 weeks and we travels South America. My parents said since we were there we might as well see it! I'm so glad they did. When my aunt had my cousin, my uncle didn't call, he sent a telegram! Family always came to see us at my grandparents house because they were like you just came all that way from Rio we can drive an hour to Beaumont! I have wonderful memories of our time in Brazil and all the places I've lived in. The long and short is that life goes on here at home. Can you leave early so you can attend the party? If not, ask them to skype the party so you can be there for the big reveal. Remember, they are missing you too!!!!
I believe there are a few things going on. First, you are pregnant and you are very emotional. Second, the move was difficult. Its a long way from home!!! Hey at least they speak English!!!! (sort of)!
Get involved. Look for expats living in your area. You can contact the American Embassy. You don't mention how old your children are, if they are in school, get to know some of the parents of their friends. Volunteer. You make of it what it will be. We moved alot. My mom always made it an adventure. We enjoyed learning new things about where we were living and meeting new people. My mom called her time in Rio her three year vacation!!!
I sort of have the opposit problem now. I hadn't lived near family for so many years until 6 years ago. Now, I can't get them to leave us alone!!!
Have fun! This is a wonderful experience. Take a long weekend and go to Paris! Ahhh.... Enjoy! I'm just turning green with envy!!!!
T.K. answers from Dallas on July 13, 2011
I think you have to keep extending yourself, even if he doesn't. He's a boy, 1st of all! They aren't all sappy and sentimental, like us. Your sil is obviously preoccupied with being pregnant and having her man home for the 1st time in years. Even if they don't reach out, you keep doing it and don't keep score! Who cares who initiates. For one thing, you moved away. In my family, they would still be pissed at me! And it would be clear that the one that moved away has the responsibility to come back and visit and make the effort to keep in touch. Keep doing what you're doing. MAybe send them a card before you visit congratulating them on the baby and letting them know how very excited you are about your 1st niece or nephew and that you are really looking forward to a close relationship to the baby. It would be ok to slip a little - I hate that I wont be able to attend the gender reveal party, that would've been such a treat. My point is...they are busy and understandably a little self centered right now. They have tunnell vision and aren't being very considerate of you. But, unless you let them know how you feel, they won't ever have any idea that they've been doing this or take steps to correct it and include you.