I decided not to go home for Christmas in 2013, and while I don't regret that, I definitely want to go home for 2014 if I can afford it.
To be honest, I could talk to my family everyday if I wanted. The site I live in now has pretty good signal and my old site, while it didn't have great signal, still worked. I could spend the pesos to call my family on my Peace Corps issued cell phone. I could buy Skype credits and call my family. I could use any of the many texting apps to chat with my family.
The options I tend to use are as follows:
1. Viber. If I want to call and hear my family, but my internet isn't going great I use this app. I only need a 2G signal for it to work, and my Mom and sister both downloaded the app.
2. iMessage- I use both my iPhone and my computer to iMessage with my Mom, sister, and best friends almost daily. I even use iMessage to chat with fellow PCVs in different parts of the island. Actually, I've used iMessage many times to chat with other PCVs in the same room.
3. FaceTime- I use FaceTime on my Mac and my iPhone usually to talk to my sister and best friend, but I have used it with my mom sometimes as well.
4. Facebook- I use it. I creep on my distant family, exactly as I would if I were in America.
That said, I CAN NOT WAIT, to go home. It will have been over a year since I was in the same room as my mom and sister and I just don't like doing that. I am going to cross the southern states with my sister and hit up the Grand Canyon. It really is nice to talk to my family, but it is much different when you are in the same space.
There are times when I wish I could just go sit in a room with my sister and complain about my love life, or her love life, or the future, or the past, or the present. I want to sit around a table with my mom, having just finished a great meal, and catch up about my future plans. I'm in such a nice place in my life, and I am lonely to share that with the two most important people in my life.
My final thought about the lonely factor is to simply point to my Peace Corps friends. I have some people in my life that I am so close with and when I think back on this time I know they will be in all of my memories. We use and abuse our flota minutes calling each other, and I wouldn't have it any other way. We have to use this time now, because Peace Corps is one of those adventures that is timestamped. Most of the great friends you make here are only going to be this close for so long. I won't be able to have a beer on the roof with 10 other PCVs for the rest of my life. In the end, it'll be one or two that we keep in our forever daily. The rest will be wonderful reunions and Facebook stalking.
At least until we realize Facebook is no longer a thing. I'm fine with this. It has to be this way. But because of this, I am going to spend all of the time I can now not being lonely without my family, but rather being happy that I have such amazing friends to talk to.