Today was a day of mixed emotions for me and my family. We said goodbye to some very dear family members who are moving to Jerusalem permanently. They are going to do a noble work there and we know they will be happy and prosperous in their new home, but we will miss them so badly. It was hard to kiss the babies goodbye and know that the next time we see them they will have changed so very much. We cried more than a few tears and I even bought us some of the babies special shampoo so we can have it at home and remember how sweet they smell (maybe we'll bathe our puppies in the shampoo so they'll smell sweet, too!)
We do have a major consolation and that is the wonderful invention known as Skypes. By going to http://www.skypes.com/ we set up an internet account and can "talk" to our loved ones abroad for only pennies per minute! They accept all major credit cards and you can load your account with the currency of your choice. TIP: if you accidentally load with Euro, then don't convert to U.S. Dollars in the middle of the plan. Instead, use up all your Euro, then charge the new amount in dollars. This will save you the conversion costs.
We've got a webcam and so does our family in Israel, so the babies will be able to see us to remember who we are and we can watch them as they grow and hear the new words they are saying (in both English and Hebrew). We've also got a headset, which makes the sound much more clear. Sometimes Skypes will drop a call or there may be a delay in the transfer, but for the most part it's a marvelous and cost-effective way of staying in touch.
We not only use this to keep family close, but I use it when I'm away on business in a foreign country and want to call home. I used it when I was in China this past spring and it sounded like my family was across the street! Of course, when I accidentally called them at 3:00AM, they didn't sound quite so clear. The only possible problem is that Skypes comes into your phone system as an "unidentified" caller, so you might not be able to accept calls if your phone is set up to block unknown callers. I'm going to be going to Europe this coming week and plan on blogging and skyping my way through several countries.
Until next time!
"America's Family Financial Expert" (R)