Way back in 1994/5 when the internet was first beginning to take off, modems speeds were slow and my children very young, my mother's partner wrote a paper for a class he was taking. It was all about how in the future, the internet would be used as a video link so people could keep in touch. He got a low mark and was laughed at. The paper was called the Grandeer Connection after the pet name my children had given my mother.
For a number of reasons, we have never used video links, even though they have become common place. (Among other things we both hate having our picture taken!) That is until now.
Today, I waved my eldest goodbye as he starts his first leg of his 16 month adventure which includes spending time at my sister's and doing an exchange programme at the University of Illinois for the academic year. He's 19 now and will be nearly 21 when I next see him in the flesh again. I am very excited for him -- after all I did the same sort of thing 25 years ago and know how thrilling it is and how much it change your life -- but I will miss him.
One of the things he has done is to ensure we have a webcam and are connected to skype.
It will be good to see him. But I rather suspect that he will want to see Tess, Hardy, Chile and the kittens far more than seeing the rest of us! Did I mention that I hate having my picture taken?
Anyway, my mother's partner was right all those years ago -- the internet does provide a great way to keep in touch with those people who are far away.