Our mom and dad just flew back to California after a lovely weeklong visit in Barcelona, and for the first time in months, I don’t have another trip to the U.S. planned. It’s a strange sensation.
This past year, Brian and I have both gotten to see our families quite a bit, and I’m very grateful for that time. But we’re not going back for the holidays this year. And while I’m looking forward to a relaxed celebration, I’ll be sad to be far away from family.
It’s the price we pay for building a life in a city we love that just happens to be on the other side of the world from where we grew up.
How can we stay connected to the people we love if we don’t get to see them often in person? How can we make a home in a new place, while still keeping ties to our past homes?
These are three small steps I’m taking right now that you might also find helpful:
1. Find brief moments of connection.
With big time differences and busy agendas, phone calls or FaceTime dates are tricky to schedule. But technology gives us so many other tiny ways to be in touch. Send that 30-second text or Facebook message. Pass along that funny photo, meme, or memory. These little moments give me a boost and make me feel involved in people’s daily lives.
2. Put the next date on the calendar.
This was big for me when Brian and I did long-distance: I always wanted to know the next time we would see each other, so I could have something to look forward to. I strive to keep this same practice with family get-togethers now.
3. Feel all the feels.
I still miss people strongly at unexpected times. But instead of thinking: Come on, aren’t you used to this by now? Suck it up, you’re fine! (my inner monologue is a real softie), I’ve been working on identifying what I’m feeling and then just feeling it with no judgment.
On a related note, Melia shared a post titled, “How to Maintain Long-Distance Friendships” on our Facebook page last week that had some great advice – and we’re planning to do an episode on this topic in the near future.
We’d love to hear your tips! How do you stay close with family and friends who live far away? Leave us a comment on Facebook or our latest Instagram post, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.