Both my sister and a friend who lives in Germany have cheap international calling plans. I think my sister has VOIP service that makes her international calls free. The only thing limiting our phone calls to each other is our schedules!
Helen enjoys getting Mexican food when she's in the states - it is very difficult to find in Paris. (There is a tex-mex restaurant in Paris called the "Indiana Cafe" that she says makes it pretty clear that the French have no idea what tex-mex food is!) The immigrant influences on food in Western Europe are more Middle Eastern and North African.
You might want to look for forums on Ravelry that are for ex-pats. There's a Swiss Knits group http://www.ravelry.com/groups/swiss-knits
and an American Ex-pats group http://www.ravelry.com/groups/americ...rafting-abroad
They might have some hints, too.