My wife, Cida, is in Brazil visiting her family but due to some great Apple technology we've been in touch every day almost like she wasn't actually 4300 miles away. Now, before the Android fans jump all over me, this isn't the only way to do things. It just happens to be the way we're doing it.
The last time she went to Brazil without me things weren't nearly this good. I was reduced to guessing where she was, calling her sister's house, and hoping that whoever answered the phone could understand me well enough to go find her (my Portuguese is awful and most of my wife's family's English is non-existent.)
Fast forward to this trip and Cida's iPhone 4S. I was able to unlock the phone through AT&T so she could buy a local SIM card in Brazil rather than paying exorbitant roaming rates. When she first got to Brazil, though, she just popped the SIM out and got on the airport's WiFi. She called me with FaceTime, which worked remarkably well, especially for free. No international phone calls at ridiculous rates. And we got to see each other.
If the Internet connection isn't great FaceTime still usually works but sometimes the audio and video get a little choppy. If it gets really bad then the video drops out. Sometimes we will intentionally pause the video just to get better audio.
One interesting thing we have noticed - there's virtually no delay with FaceTime. Cida calls Brazil using various VoIP systems for inexpensive phone calls but there is often a delay or bad audio which makes the conversation flow difficult. We had very little of that with FaceTime.
We also did a quick experiment with the fairly new Facebook "free call" feature in Messenger. Interestingly, Cida didn't have the free call button but I did and was able to call her. The phone call had no video but it was crystal clear with no delay.
We have also been able to text each other via iMessage over the Internet, also for free. I set her up to iMessage from her email address rather than her phone number since that number would be changing when she bought a Brazilian SIM card. Texting internationally is usually quite expensive and I don't even know how well it works. But via iMessage over the Internet it works great and lets us keep in touch extremely well.
Another interesting Apple technology is Find My Friends. Usually when I look up my wife she's at the mall, but it also worked when she was online in Brazil (and yes, I did spot her at the mall down there, too!) Find My Friends works via GPS location and Internet and has been helpful for me to see what she's up to. And not in a freaky stalker kind of way - she knows I'm watching.
Finally, we've been having fun with Photo Stream. Cida left her iPad here but it's connected up to the same iCloud account as her iPhone. So when she takes pictures in Brazil they get uploaded to her iPad automatically the next time she's on WiFi. I check the iPad a couple times a day to keep up with her trip.
So technology has been a huge help with this trip. Between iMessage, FaceTime, Photo Stream and Find My Friends it's almost like I'm there. Except that it's 90° there and another major snowstorm bearing down on us here. I think next time I'm going to Brazil with her!