It has been almost a month now that I have been away from home. For me, home is Manila, Philippines, but right now my temporary home is in Cincinnati, Ohio. I must say, being far away from home, if you are close to your family, can be hard if communication is difficult. I am glad that I left home at a time when technology is available. I am pretty close to my family, we always used to go out and spend a lot of time together. I am just fortunate to have gotten an opportunity to widen my horizons and work for a company that allows me to grow and learn.
Although I have traveled to other countries for long periods of time before, it is quite different this time. Two weeks is a long time for business or leisure travel, but this time it’s for 3 years, and who knows, it may be even longer. You may say that being physically away from family for extended periods of time is hard, and I agree, but that does not mean being in a different time zone or being 22 hours away from home means you can’t be in touch with your loved ones. Here is a list of my top must have online tools to keep in touch, get around, and survive in a new city.
1. Skype and YM – The video call and chat function on Skype and YM is the best feature for communicating with your loved ones. I often have breakfast while my family has their dinner. It is great that most of the smartphones now allow us to download both applications so even if we are not using our computers, we can still keep in touch. You can even hold conferences so everyone can chat all at the same time from different locations. I have never felt closer to my mom, sister and brother even though I am so far away from home.
2. Facebook – Aside from being able to send messages and update your status, chatting is great on Facebook too. The best part is, of course, sharing photos and videos. You can share your precious memories and milestones, which you can all see together, no matter where you are. I have some good friends who have been so cool and shared recipes with me so that I can have several options since I really do not know how to cook.
3. Twitter – I have my best friends and brother on Twitter. Since the site is live 24/7, you won’t feel alone or at a loss for tips and advice because you have so many people you can connect with and get tips from. Help and advice is available from anywhere, anytime. I remember tweeting when I needed to know some of the processes and procedures that everyone needs to understand in order to survive the winter. I had some very important things that I needed to know, and my questions were answered, which made adjusting easier.
4. Google Maps – Google Maps is truly helpful in learning the ins and outs of a new city you might move to. I was able to get around and find the routes and short cuts for getting to work and home easily.
5. iPhone, iPad or any Smartphone – Any of these gadgets will allow you to stay connected anytime anywhere, check your email, chat, play games, take photos on the go and share them right away. Having a mobile phone is great, but if you have one that allows you to go online, it is something of a life saver and real boredom buster. I remember experiencing flight delays for 12 hours when I came to the US, and I never had a boring moment. The people close to me knew that I was fine. I knew exactly what was happening around me, even if I was stuck at several different airports. Even if there is no wifi, having the Internet available is always the best.
Even getting an apartment and the affordable furniture right away was easier because of the reviews and recommendations I was able to find online. You may have had the same experiences as me, and maybe you know of some other online tools or gadgets people could benefit from. Please feel free to share them here. We would love to get additional information from you.