Wednesday, January 15, 2014

dragging even the sexagenarians along

Phones are not for talking. Everyone under 45 knows that cell phones are mainly used as tools to avoid speaking to anyone live. I use my phone most for texting, the camera, and facebook. You???

One of the things that is lame about living far from loved ones is missing out on day to day things, as well as the huge life events.  It is part and parcel of the living abroad experience and cannot be avoided. It takes effort to stay tight with our people far away. At times we have utterly failed.

For a long time we annoyed everyone by not being organized enough to do the web-cam Skype chat thing and we confess that life is unpredictable enough that keeping a promised Skype date caused stress so we avoided making dates at all.

I express myself better in writing so it never bothered me to be left to write emails, but I learned that most people I love don't really like writing emails and they preferred I call them. I would write long drawn out expressive emails to my Dad and he'd reply: "Yup. Sounds good. Love you."

We call whenever it works, but the best thing under the sun in this situation is an app called Voxer. (NOT Boxer, which my mom can confirm is also an app name. Ask her LOUDLY.)

Read about Voxer here. 

I started using it in May of last year. Troy mocked. Paige mocked. They are no longer mocking.  They both use it too.

Because of Voxer I get to talk with friends in CA, TX, FL, Canada, and Peru all at once.  (You can create group conversations or do one on one vox convos.) Today I chatted with my family while I ran on the treadmill.  It cost nothing.

Voxer allows me to hear their voices and allows for far better expression than texting. If I am busy when it comes in, I can listen and reply later. Even my 60-something year old Dad who refuses to engage the social media due to his superiority over our modern day world is promising that he will use Voxer.  Now I can hear my Dad say "Yup. Sounds good." That's gonna be way better. 

They haven't yet come out with a way to use it on your land line rotary dial phone, but I'm sure that will come next, Dad.

Our kids use it to talk to cousins and their big sisters and they don't need our help to do it.

This app is the best thing since sliced bread and I am sharing this so that my friends abroad can also have better communication with their loved ones "back home".

These kids of ours just cannot comprehend it, but I keep telling them that I didn't carry a cell phone to school and I didn't look up information on the Internet. I remember getting a pager and thinking that I was really very important to have that little black box beeping for me.  (... but then to drive to payphone to make a call...) Hope just said, "What is a land line?"  I asked her to take a guess and she said, "A person has their land and you have your land and you make a line to show you which land belongs to each person."