Posted by: dsduffy | December 13, 2011

Expat Advice: A guest post

I was contacted by Blog Content Guild about doing a guest post on my site and I figured, why not? Here is a great article about Staying Connected, something that is so important for us expats! Enjoy!


Expat Advice: How to Stay Connected With Your Overseas Family for the Holidays


For two years (2008 to 2010), I lived in Reykjavík, Iceland with my husband and our young daughter. I had lived in Southern California for my whole life before that. My husband’s company decided to relocate, so we followed them. Needless to say, moving to Iceland was a huge adjustment, but it was exciting too. Every day felt like an adventure. Over the weekends, we went to flea markets, ate fish and chips, and swam in a really cool geothermal pool, among other things. Being isolated from everyone and everything I knew besides my husband and child helped bring our little family closer together.


The hardest part of moving, I discovered, was the holidays. I missed my mom, dad, sisters, and grandparents. Because of the nature of his work, my husband didn’t have much time off in December. I didn’t want to be away from him for the holidays, so I stayed with him in Iceland every Christmas we lived there. With the help of some great parcel delivery companies and other resources, I was able to stay connected to my overseas family during the holiday season.


Here are five things you can do to feel close to your loved ones when you’re far away:


1.  Video chat on Skype. This is essential. Skype is a great way for you to be able to actually see your family and feel as though you’re with them. If you have older grandparents or parents who have trouble with the technology aspect of using Skype, you might have to walk them through the process of setting it up on their computer over the phone. If their computers don’t have built-in video cameras, they might have to invest in some webcams.


2. If you want to ship some presents overseas affordably, research different couriers and find one that offers reasonably priced services. One way for you to save money on shipping costs is to get all of the presents sent to one location/address, if possible. If you know most of your family will be at your parents’ house over the holidays, there’s no need to send the presents to several different houses.


3. Take lots of pictures, and ask your overseas family to do the same. Technology allows us to send pictures to each other whenever we want to. So, take lots of pictures of your holiday experiences, and send them to your family. Your family can reciprocate and send you pictures of their holiday experiences and send them to you.


4. Start a blog and write about your holidays. Your parents or siblings can do this too. Sometimes written words do a better job of capturing holiday magic than pictures and phone conversations do. You and your family members could also all set up Twitter accounts and give each other updates on holiday happenings.


5.  Try to synchronize what you do, even if you’re thousands of miles apart. You could open presents at the same time. Although, this could mean that you’d be opening presents at midnight while your family in the States opened presents at 8 a.m. If this is unrealistic, you could try to coordinate other activities to feel connected. For instance, if your mom and dad were cooking ham and mashed potatoes for a holiday dinner party, you could cook that exact same dish. You and your parents could then send pictures of your respective dinner tables to each other.

So, get creative and stay in touch with your family over the holidays. With all the technology available, there’s no reason to feel isolated from your loved ones if you’re living abroad


  1. This obviously is a post by another ex-pat. Where & when will your post appear or am I missing something?

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