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Stay in touch the high-tech way

When I moved to Seattle from Michigan 10 years ago, I didn’t give much thought to the fact that I was transporting myself almost 2,000 miles from my family. Going back home, I reasoned, was as simple as hopping a couple of flights.

It wasn’t long, however, before I married a Seattleite and birthed two children. Now, living so far from my parents and sister is, I can assure you, a huge deal.

Getting to their rural abode is a full-day affair–exhausting with two small kids in tow. Expensive too.

I was exhilarated and surprised to learn how easy it is to set up a video chat with far-flung family and friends. My husband purchased two web cams for $20 each at an office supply store, set up an MSN messenger account, asked my dad to do the same and now, when we’re jonesing for some face time with the grandparents, we call their computer from ours.

The only drawback is a small delay between audio and video (much like watching Britney or Paula lipsynching their way through a performance) but the gut-wrenching homesickness that occasionally overtakes me is now, if not remedied, then easily assuaged with a video chat.

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