Lucky me, by the time I returned to Taipei, I was eligible to upgrade to a new phone so I set myself up with an iPhone 4S. Hallelujah! Despite the slower pace of my blogging lately, believe it or not ~ I am actually more connected now than ever before!
Nowadays, it is not only easy to keep in touch across the distance. Some might say it is a little bit too easy... Instead of knowing which solution to choose, I'm constantly faced with new "great ways to keep in touch" with friends and family overseas. How to choose???!
[On a side note, one of the phone companies
here uses a song in ALL of their commercials
and advertising that goes like this...
"Don't forget to keep in touch,
Remember to keep in touch,
Keep in touch,
Oh, Keep in touch..."
Get the idea? Yeah... It's a bit much!]
My new iPhone is equipped with typical smart phone features of course (phone call ability, text messaging, and email synchronization, Facebook)... in addition to... iMessage, FaceTime, Skype, WhatsApp and as many game apps as I am willing to download!
What does that all mean?
iMessage: iMessage is a "text" message service for all iPhone using the newest operating system. It allows iPhones to message each other using the Internet instead of traditional SMS/text, therefore ::: free text messages to other people using a compatible iPhone. Like my sister!
FaceTime: FaceTime is a video chat program that is compatible with Apple products, again for me as an iPhone user, and a Mac owner. The program is free (or can be downloaded for less than $5 USD, no monthly fees) and works over the Internet. For those without unlimited Internet service on their phone, you can also use it over wifi. This comes in handy when talking to other Apple owners. Like my brother, sister-in-law, and adorable niece Zoe!
Skype: Skype is a video chat program for any computer user (not limited to Apple products) and can be downloaded for free. Skype users can make free voice and or video calls to each other over an Internet connection (when both users are logged into the program), or for a minimal fee, users can pay to call anyone not using Skype. For example ~ my husband and I pay $6 USD for unlimited calling to any US phone number. This means, when I am anywhere with my iPhone and Skype I can call anyone back in the States at my convenience... Like my Mom, Dad, and best girlfriends!
WhatsApp: The final communication program mentioned (that I actually have not yet downloaded) operates similar to the iMessage - it allows users to "text" message each other without being charged for the texts - even internationally. As someone who rarely needs to text, with the exception of messages to my husband and sister who both use iPhones, I have not downloaded the program, but I have heard of it many times. So for all of you passionate text-ers out there, if you can get your friends to use the same app, you can all chat for free as often as you'd like.
I like to think that I have always made the effort to keep in touch despite the distance (Who else do you know based in Taipei that talks to multiple people in the US every single day?!) I've always loved emailing, Facebook-ing, and keeping up with the people who are important to me in any way I can... but my iPhone certainly does make that even easier.
For those of you on the other side ~ I'd love to know how much it costs for you to buy an unlimited Skype package to call Taiwan??? After all, if my phone rings... there's a 90% chance it's my Husband <3. [PS... If that doesn't work for you, getting personal emails and Facebook messages still makes my day every time!] :)