When we decided to accept this expat assignment, I knew that I would miss my family and friends. That's only natural. But there was a world of adventure waiting for us in Malaysia, and videoconferencing over the internet would make the distance seem closer. For the most part, it's been a wonderful way to keep in touch and up-to-date. My little girl who would never speak to her grandparents over the phone was more than happy to talk when a camera was involved.
A few weeks before we departed Texas, my father was diagnosed with colon cancer. To actually lay my eyes on him during our weekly Skype sessions was wonderful. I could see for myself if the chemo treatments were taking a huge toll on him, something that would be harder to do via phone or email. Since then, his chemo has ended, and he's currently cancer-free. Amen to that.
Then there's our friend Adam. He's a college buddy of ours who always went on the annual post-college ski trip that my hubby would attend before we had kids. Adam was diagnosed with ALS, better known as Lou Gehrig's disease, a couple years ago. This year, instead of going skiing, a big group of friends went to visit Adam. If we had been in America, I'm sure that my hubby would have gone, too. Instead, we Skyped in and had a chance to see him for few minutes. Neither hubby nor I said it out loud, but both us knew that it was probably goodbye. Adam passed away a few days later. Sometimes Skype just doesn't cut it. It's fine for "until we meet again," but is no substitute for being there in person when it really counts.