Written on April 5, 2015
My mom shared this photo on Facebook yesterday:
(Photo by Astro Ulagam.)
Upon seeing the post last night, I left a comment, saying that I would call her today. (Due to the 7-hour time difference, she was asleep when I saw the post.)
I have to admit that I am really bad at this. Ever since coming to the United Kingdom, I have only been calling home about once a month.
We have this joke in our family that I would only call home when I needed money. Well, it’s not entirely true, but it’s not entirely false too haha.
Finding A Balance
I used to think that calling home so frequently is a waste of time. I felt that I could use the time to do more productive things. I think that I can count the number of times I called home in my first year away from home with one hand.
When I went home that summer, I spent almost every day with my parents at their shop. I felt that I should spent more than with them since I only go back to Singapore once a year. I really enjoyed it, but I also didn’t managed to do many things I planned for that summer.
So this year, I set myself a goal to balance work and family — more “family time” when I’m in the United Kingdom and more me time when I’m in Singapore to do the things I want to.
Being overseas, away from my family, family time takes a different meaning.
When I’m back in Singapore, every Sunday is family day. We would have breakfast together and visit our grandparents.
Now, video call is our family time.
(Chatting across 3 continents when my sister was in the United States.)
(Calling home during Chinese New Year. My cousin shipped my zodiac shirt to me so that I can join in the fun!)
Apart from FaceTime calls, we also have a family WhatsApp group chat, called “37 联络站 (Network)”. My dad named it as that because our house number is 37.
While we chat quite often in the group chat, I think that there isn’t as much serendipity as from “face-to-face” conversations. We mostly communicate in Mandarin so there is a slight friction as typing in Mandarin takes much more time than typing in English.
As it is much faster and easier to speak than to type, we chat about much more things through FaceTime. Although some are random conversations, I really enjoyed our chats.
Yes, I could spent those hours calling home on more productive things instead. However, I learnt that family time is something that cannot be compared this way.
If you are living away from your parents, find some time from your busy schedule to call home. You will always be “very busy” so don’t say that you would call home when you are less busy.
I think that the frequency of the calls is more important than how long each call is. Like my girlfriend puts it,
make it a regular sunday thing or sth (: it doesn’t take long sometimes, but make it regular
(Upon reflection, I just added a recurring entry in my calendar to call home every Sunday morning ☺)
Call your family. It would make them happy ☺
(This is my 23rd blog post of my 30in30 challenge — 30 blog posts in 30 days. Through this challenge, I hope to feel comfortable and more confident with writing and become better at writing.)