- Skype or Facetime (or both): The childrens’ relationship with their grandparents no longer has to suffer because they are too little to talk on the phone. While I’m sure my mom would say it is still not enough, we open Christmas present together, sing happy birthday and blow out candles, and just chat while my mom watches the kids play with toys pretty much all the time. I don’t know how people did it before this!
- On-line shopping. Can’t find decent (fill in the blank) in your new location? Birthday gifts for the kids are of very dubious quality (you don’t want to ask) or very expensive locally? While shipping may be pricey and slow, you can still get pretty much anything you need. Amazon prime gets to us in a week to ten days here in Lima. It is pretty easy.
- Instructions and manuals: Ever try to look for the crib assembly instructions when it looks like the contents of a very large warehouse was vomited all over your new house and the baby is crying in exhaustion? Enter Mr. Google, your new best friend. I have downloaded pdf instructions for just about everything we own so we could dump the heavy paper copies too.
- Kindle!! My kindle is one of my most prized osessions. I was a late adopter – I love the feel of books, I really do. Once I got a Kindle though, I was hooked. I’m a much more active reader: looking up new words, making comments, and underlining favorite quotes. Besides, do you know how much books weigh? A lot! And weight allowances simple does not allow for a family of voracious readers. I can buy books (in english!) instantly, or download from the various libraries where we have memberships.
- Pinterest. Ok, so this one is a slippery slope. Anyone remember the heart shaped carrots? Let me explain myself. When you are stuck on evacuation in a small apartment for five months with two small children and limited resources (such as toys) you better get creative. Ditto for the two months the four of us spent in a hotel room. Besides, how else would you find ways to home-make your favorite cleaners when the post office refuses to send you liquids by mail? Basically, I use pinterest as a giant to-do list for all the things I want to try with the boys, or make for the house, or places I want to travel, or … You get the idea. Pinterest only works if you do not use it as a way to berate yourself about other people’s “better” accomplishments. Need help with that? Read this.
Okay expats, your turn. What technology makes you feel more connected?