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hello Darlings,

Just like I promised today I am  back with the LDR (Long Distance Relationship) guide but this time it's based on maintaining relationships with family and friends that are far from where you live. If you haven't read my post about long distance love relationships, make sure to check it out. 

Growing up, my family moved a lot, but only 4 years ago I moved away from home to another country and have not returned, except to visit. In addition, a year ago, I got married and moved even further away to this beautiful island. Needless to say, I miss my family terribly and distance has proved to me who my genuine friends are. I say this because LDRs are not for everyone; not everyone can cope with the idea of not being able to talk constantly and not being able to simply share life. When maintaining a LDR with your family it is sometimes frustrating to find the right schedule considering time change, each other's varied activities, unreliable internet, etc. However, the point is that you try. 
Thank God for technology and for the ways that we can use it to stay connected. Being the oldest of 5 siblings, I stay connected with each one of my them on their favorite social media platform. I have created little traditions with each one of them in order to in some way not miss the important stuff in our lives. My little sister sends me a daily picture of either her outfit or something she did and we briefly talk about it. This helps us stay connected daily without taking up too much time while doing stuff that comes naturally to us. I also abuse international text apps (WhatsApp, TextPlus, iMessage) to write to my friends or use social media to drop a line on their profile or comment on their pictures regularly, that way we keep that ongoing communication. 
Schedule dates 
Even after staying as connected as possible through social media, texting, and messaging, it is important to schedule calls to catch up from time to time. Each friendship is different, and I try to keep that in mind as I strive to maintain the friendships that have literally changed my life and made me a better person. My husband and I try to either Skype or Facetime our families once a week so that we can see each other's faces and just have semi "around the dinner table" conversation. Family is honestly gold, and you don't really know that until you are far away and miss all the annoying stuff your siblings did or the extra spoiling from mom and laughs with dad. Those relationships are important. Don't lose that because of your new life abroad because one day you may regret it. 
Plan get-togethers and getaways 
I don't know about you but I just feel like the world is getting smaller and smaller by the day. Traveling is no longer this unachievable, expensive dream just for a few. Instead, there are now so many alternatives for making traveling not only doable but also really fun. My 2 sisters and I have planned trips together a few times since I left. We look for a place or an event we both want to go and we both travel to that destination from our respective hometowns. It is a way to take vacation and spend quality time together as well. Another thing that is important, is to plan our time wisely for when we are in town. That way we can spend quality time with as many lovely people as possible. I tend to plan group activities in order to get to as many people as possible in one trip but always keep the bulk of my time for my family and closest friends. 
You've got mail!
I personally do a happy dance every time I get a package with stuff that I have purchased or that someone has sent me. I just love the surprise effect, the anticipation as I wait (I am so impatient so I check the mail every day after I make the order) and to hold in my hands something that was especially picked for me. I have received snacks from different countries my friends or family have visited. Some have come through the mail and others have been brought by one of my friends that has travelled to my hometown. I send out cards, gifts, and pictures to my family and to some of my friends for their special occasions (graduations, newborns, weddings, etc.) 
The point is to do something special sometimes. My friend that lives in Madagascar sent me a postcard and a beautiful handcrafted clutch with her family when they visited her. I say this to emphasize that when we send something special, though we are not present, it feels like a piece of ourselves travelled in the box with the item you sent. 
Guilt-free friendships
Yes, life gets in the way, and though I am still not perfect at this whole LDR thing, I am a lot better than I once was. Even when I lived in the same city I was a bad friend in the sense that I was always so busy that I struggled to see them regularly. I am so thankful I have friends who understand my personality, love me as I am, and are so patient with me. All of their love allows me to be in their lives without feeling guilty or making me feel bad for being far. So in return, I try to love them and be in their lives as much as possible. Friends are not acquaintances; real friends are hard to find and as a result, must be preserved like a treasure. 
Do any of you have a Pen pal? How do you maintain your relationships with your family and friends that are away?