My long-time friend MJ is my guest blogger today! MJ finds creative ways to keep in touch across the miles and bridge the gap.
2020 brought with it challenges for so many of us. Keeping an active social life and staying in contact with those we can’t visit required all of us to find new and innovative ways to stay in touch. For most of us, being social is an important aspect of our lives. It was even harder, I believe, for those whose health is compromised, or live alone, or the teenagers and young adults who are at the most social time in their lives.
Having lived overseas for over 7 years now, and far away from friends and family back in Canada, as well as having made many friends here who now live far away from me, I found 2020 great for inspiring new ways to keep in touch despite where we live in the world. I must admit, many of these came about through the suggestions of others such as my sisters and friends, or they just grew organically between myself and the other person.
- Reading A Book Together and Discussing It: Though I am an avid reader I hadn’t really thought to read books together across the kilometers. GiftzbyKaren suggested this as her and her mom read books together.
- Zoom and Loom: My sister had suggested that for Christmas we set my mother up to weave a wall hanging. Suddenly it turned into something we did together, my mother, sisters, daughter, and my eldest niece (my 1-year-old and 3-year-old nieces just aren’t old enough yet) participated and I hope we do another one someday now that it isn’t so experimental. This could be done with any craft you enjoy; it doesn’t have to be weaving – but of course you would need to change the name.
- Trivial Pursuit on a Video Call: My sister set this one up for our Christmas call. It was great. The entire family was on the call. My two sisters and I came up with questions. Then my eldest sister broke us up into teams so we could actually talk with each other. Each team came up with their answers together. We then went back together on the call to discuss the answers. Everyone at every age enjoyed it and we plan to do it again.
- Pictionary On A Video Call: This one came about when the Dutch government said we could only have 2 visitors per house per day. We have another family we get together with regularly and we each have 4 people so we divided up between our houses. The parents together in one house, and then our 4 children together in another (though they are not children, they are young adults really). The kids set it up and we managed to find a Pictionary word generator online, as well we used white boards on the computer so each house could see what was being drawn. Thankfully the adults could use their finger on the white board, the kids had to use the mouse – that didn’t work so well.
- Blogging: This one has been a surprise. The response of people to my blogs has been fantastic. Communication with family and friends has really improved. In fact, with GiftzbyKaren it has turned into a learning experience we have shared. With Karen we now discuss ideas, and write blogs for each other, just like this one. She has also been very helpful with the technical side of my blogging. I am not that tech savvy and she noticed things I needed help with. In addition, I’ve reached out to other friends and family to discuss future blogs. My twin cousins even coauthored a blog on their running philosophy with me.
- Doing a Course Together: My sister suggested a course that is currently offered free on Coursera called The Science of Well-being. It is said to be Yale’s most popular campus course and the online version is revamped to allow more people to take the course. I was skeptical of the course but thought it would be fun to do this with my sister. Turns out the course is better than I imagined and it’s fun to share notes. I would love to do another one with her, or a friend, if another interesting course comes to my attention.
- Supporting and Motivating Each Other with Our Goals: Again, this one includes one of my sisters. Her and I were discussing our exercise and health plans for 2021 after she read my running motivation blog and she suggested we support each other with our plans for 2021. It has been a wonderful way for her and I to know more about what is happening in each of our lives. It actually brings about conversations that we would have if we were living closer, but it just hadn’t happened in the years since I left. It has made me feel so much closer to her and I really appreciate the support.
Keeping in touch with friends and family is so important and can be so difficult right now. I think we all need to find ways to make these connections. If any of you have other ideas on how to bridge the distance gap, I would love to hear them and try them out.
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