An Open Letter to West Coast Friends

Dear West Coast Friends,

You are the hardest to communicate with since we moved. The 9-hour time difference is really tricky. If you stay up until 11 or 12, you are up late when we awake in the morning. But do you really want a phone call at 11PM? Sometimes I intend to call you when it is 10 or 11PM our time—and often on weeknights at that time I am sleepy and on weekends either sleepy or not home. I am very sorry for my lack of communication. You are all having babies and job success and getting married and I really want to hear more about it. Please do not misconstrue our communication woes to mean that I/we have forgotten about you.

Take care and enjoy the sunshine.

Here are the ways we keep up with friends and family since we moved to Europe:

  1. E-mail. And blog, Facebook, photo-sharing online.
  2. Hand-written mail. For special friends, and family members who don’t e-mail. Also for holidays.
  3. Skype. With the -6 hour time different to the East Coast of the US, it’s not too hard to catch our families about once a week. I love that Skype is free! We have many times taken the laptop on a “tour” around the apartment on Skype, or out on the deck to point out the scenery, etc.
  4. Google calling/Google voice (What is the proper name?—the feature that pops up in your chat on Gmail and invites you to make free phone calls). Again, I love that this is free, although I realize that with this one it’s probably not free for long. With Google we can call US phone numbers, but we don’t have a phone number ourselves so no one calls us this way. When we call our people it says “Escondido, CA” on their caller IDs.

So while I send a lot of Internet mail these days, I don’t often catch my -9 friends or family on phone or Skype. These days, I think most people have loved ones in other time zones. How do you keep up? What tools do you use? And do you find you have to be purposeful and “schedule” things, or does it happen organically?


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