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How to stay close to nieces and nephews overseas?

(7 Posts)
CandyMelts Tue 10-Oct-17 09:00:21

I thought you expats might have some good suggestions here...

All of mine and DHs siblings live abroad, longhaul flights and unlikely to return. We've just become an aunt and uncle for the first time and it's hit us a little that it's going to need more effort to remain close.

They're in China so no Facebook, gmail etc. Nothing sent by post from any of us in the UK has ever reached them at home, we can sometimes get cards delivered to their work addresses but wary of ever sending anything of value.

We have the apps for their facebook/whatspp alternative and have family group chats and can video call through this, time zones and busy lives permitting.

We will be visiting them next year but it's unlikely to ever be frequent meet ups unless we never take any other holidays due to the distance, costs, visas etc.

Is there anything else I'm missing? I guess I'm a little sad I've missed newborn snuggles and will never be able to pop a card in the post or drop a Christmas present round. I still want to be a good Aunt!

afromom Tue 10-Oct-17 09:16:14

My DB and SIL live abroad. It's slightly different as DS was 11 when they moved away they so had already formed a bond, but we FaceTime and what's app on special occasions and sporadically in between.
For birthdays and Christmas we always send over an email Amazon voucher (they are in US- not sure if they have Amazon in China?) then either one of us uses this to buy a gift prior to birthday/Christmas and wraps or the birthday person gets the voucher to buy something they want.
Do they have DHL or another type of delivery service which crosses the UK and China? DS dad lives in west Africa and whenever we send things to him we send via DHL which he then goes to the delivery office there to collect - nothing has gone missing that way yet. It's very expensive to send stuff, so the Amazon vouchers work better if they have that option.
We've also had 'second' or 'pre christmas' Christmas' to fit with when they are visiting. It's lovely that we still get to share Christmas with them, even if it is in October!
It's tough and it takes effort on both sides, I definitely felt frustrated at times when I feel like I'm the one putting all the effort in and it was me who chose to move in the first place! But then I make myself think of the nice times we have together and what DS gets from being close to them and I carry on.

afromom Tue 10-Oct-17 09:22:41

*wasn't me who chose to move!

ShanghaiDiva Tue 10-Oct-17 09:33:05

We do have Amazon in China - www.amazon.cn.
I assume you are using wechat to keep in touch. It sounds like you've had bad luck with the post. We do receive parcels from our family in the UK and only one thing has gone missing. Some companies do ship direct to China and will track the package - eg Boden and shipping is only rmb 50.

BeALert Wed 11-Oct-17 03:02:54

We do Facetime chats pretty often. We have fast enough mobile phone signal that we can do them while we're driving somewhere in the car or out and about. We've done stuff like show them round the Science Museum in Boston via Facetime.

We're not quite so far apart (US UK) so we've got together every couple of years since the children were all born, but it sounds like that might be a struggle for you.

We send each other school photos too.

HoneyWheeler Wed 11-Oct-17 03:33:26

My family are overseas and FaceTime/video chat always helps. I remember someone said to me once ‘distance is about relationships, not geography’ and I’ve tried to hang on to that. It is a pain to post things for my family, so I try to order online etc but mostly I feel close to them by sending the boring mundane texts about my life, you know? It’s so easy to miss out on the day to day stuff, and just do birthdays or Christmas.

I’m just about to have my first baby and although I know my folks want to spoil my baby, I’ve also asked that they out any money they want to spend going forward in a bank account in their country, so that when my soon to arrive son turns 18, he’ll have a little stash of traveling money. I would have loved that. It’s a bit of a delayed gratification gift, but I hope it will be much appreciated!

CandyMelts Wed 11-Oct-17 07:58:06

Great suggestions thank you!
I had no idea about Chinese Amazon and it looks super straight forward, that's Xmas sorted smile I love the suggestions of stashing money or buying and wrapping our own gifts too.
You're right that it's the day to day to keep close rather than special occasions and I'll try to remember that, thank goodness for technology.

We've been lucky the past few years a we've seen each other yearly thanks to everyone getting married, I just imagine with kids in the mix that'll get harder and I'm determined to try to stay close.

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