Living abroad with no phone and nearly no internet

My adventures being disconnected continue. The temporary internet connection slowed down significantly after the first weekend to the point where I can just barely use it to check my email (in basic html format) and the weather. As a result, I haven’t been posting on my blog as much as I’d like. Websites load like they did in the 90s (slowly), and internet pages are so complex now, so sometimes it’s too much for my weak connection.

The lack of internet has made me realize how okay and not okay I am being disconnected.

The good first:

  • I’m reading more than I have in years. Okay, it’s on a Kindle, which isn’t exactly like pre-internet days, but it is a very useful gadget when you are living abroad. I wasn’t sure if I would be able to obtain English books here, so we bought a Kindle before we left. I’m not a big fan of buying books and I love using libraries, so I wasn’t sure if I would like it. However, Amazon offers thousands of classic titles for free, and there are other options to get free books. For instance, through Amazon Prime, we can get one free book per month. Domestic disputes may break out as a result, but it’s all in the name of reading. The current classic I’m reading is The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes. It makes me want to go to London and take literary walking tours.
  • I get outside more. Without a telephone (see below), in order to make contact with people, I have to get outside. Sure, my interactions are confusing and awkward, but at least I’m talking to people (or giving confused looks back as they ask me questions). I also can’t call for doctor appointments, so I just walk to the doctor’s to make appointments. Again, this is awkward: the receptionists don’t understand why I walked all the way there and didn’t just pick up a phone. But awkward or not, I’m getting exercise and talking to people in my neighborhood.
  • I might be learning German. Over the last year, I had gotten addicted to grooveshark.com, which allows you to stream music to your computer without purchasing songs or albums. However, I can’t go to this site now. As I tire of my iTunes library, I have brought myself to listen more and more to Pimsleur German mp3s. They are actually quite effective in teaching you how to respond to German questions in German.
  • Chris and I play cards every night. When we lived in England 6 years ago, we only had one computer and no tv, so we played games nearly every night for entertainment. It’s good for a relationship, because both people can’t retreat to their electronics. We are addicted to double solitaire, and Chris keeps me awake to play so he can try to beat me.

The bad:

  • I have no phone. We’ve ordered phones, but we can’t hook them up until our internet package starts, since they are on the same plan. Skype doesn’t work very well when you don’t have a strong, constant internet connection. On a fluke last week, I was able to talk to my mom. Though, the call dropped several times, and she could only hear every other word I said. It’s annoying not to have a phone, and it also makes you feel vulnerable.
  • I can’t plan my travels. Some of my favorite travel websites (Kayak, Trip Advisor) won’t load with a slow internet connection. My parents are visiting in a few months, and I want to plan where we will go. I also want to get inspiration for other vacations or day trips.
  • I can’t watch Glee. I can’t watch any tv shows online, and I know a few were set to start up again in January. I was also streaming a Detroit radio morning show during my afternoons, which helped me feel more connected to the U.S.
  • I can’t play WWF. I miss my iPod apps, like Glee and Words With Friends that require wifi. It seems ridiculous, because I didn’t even have an iPod Touch a little over a year ago. But, somehow, playing WWF with my family and friends became part of my nightly routine, and now I’ve had to resort to playing the handful of games that do not require internet access. And, that gets boring very quickly.

The box containing permanent internet should arrive this week. We’re not exactly sure where in the wall it hooks up to. We’ve moved furniture and looked at outlets, but there hasn’t been one that looks like a cable connection. It’s quite the mystery. Maybe my Sherlock Holmes reading will help me solve it. And if not, I guess I can walk over to my landlords’ house to awkwardly ask about it.

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One response to “Living abroad with no phone and nearly no internet

  1. Pingback: The kindness of the multilingual stranger | The Traveling Times·

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