10,304kms isn't that far

Technology can be a wonderful thing, especially when you are in a long distance relationship. 

I am in Calgary, Canada and Claudia is in Santiago, Chile. Aside form this being a great distance, there are some subtle differences in how we use technology - very few people use SMS in South America for instance. There is also a time difference, 2 hours for some of the year and 4 hours in the balance. It's also summer for me at the time when it's winter for her. This is especially noticeable when she is relaxing in her backyard pool while there's 2 feet of snow here. 

Over time, Claudia and I discovered many great 'hacks' to use technology in keeping our connection strong. We text, talk, video call, watch movies, cook and eat together.

Here are some of the tricks we've learned to help do these things:

For texting, talking and video calls, we use Whatsapp exclusively. It's pretty simple and obvious, but there are other choices for this functionality such as Viber or SMS/Facetime. We chose Whatsapp mostly because it's the one used by everyone in South America this one has been very reliable for all three uses. We communicate every day, sometimes just some texts, other times we talk or video call. It's pretty cool to connect with your loved one across the world and say, 'hey, look at this!' and then connect via video while you're looking at something in a store. 

For watching movies, we use Netflix and Whatsapp. The selection is different for both regions because of distribution rights but there is some crossover - so like most people, it takes some time to select a movie we can both agree on. We save some time by selecting movies ahead of time and putting them in our favourites. While on video mode on Whatsapp, we start playing the movie and sync it up by having one of us pause or play until the movie is synced. Then we turn whatsapp video mode off and stay connected with one ear in voice mode, then we can talk to each other, hear each other laugh and communicate during the movie. 

For cooking and eating we use Whatsapp and Appear.in. This has become one of our favourite activities and something we look forward to every week! We typically do this on Friday nights, we look for a recipe ahead of time and share it so that we can do some grocery shopping before Friday. We connect via our dedicated chanel on Appear.in with our laptops to establish a video connection and mute the mic and volume on the laptop. Then we connect via Whatsapp for audio, this allows us to put in headphones and move about the kitchen freely. Once we have the connection all established we begin cooking the same recipe at the same time, walking each other through the steps - when complete, we move the laptop to the dining area and have a nice candle-lit dinner together. This is sometimes followed by a movie. The time difference works out pretty good as they eat dinner much later in South America.

For document and file sharing we use email or share screens on Appear.in. When we are traveling and need to share itineraries or walking through cashflow projections for Franco Silva we can easily do a video call and share screens to walk through the details. 

What we have found is that our connection through these different apps have strengthened our bond and have made 10,304kms feel a lot closer.