Friends with Wires

A mushy post reflecting on my over-attachment to my camera, computer and Kindle. Really, it’s like a love letter to inanimate objects.

Considering their importance in my life this past year, I have not written much about the electronics that accompanied me to Romania. The three major pieces of technology that came with me were my digital camera, my Kindle, and my computer.

my beloved kindle

I realized how important these electronic items were in my life when my camera broke in February. It was like I lost a friend. I cradled it and spoke to it softly telling it I needed it come with me and document my travels. It wasn’t allowed to die an early death. My camera had been everywhere with me since I arrived—riding in its padded carrier in my purse. It was my friend. The thought of living without it is terrifying. The first time I stepped out of the apartment with no camera I felt like something important was missing.

The technologically obsessed are probably thinking, of course, one should always have many electronics at one’s fingertips—but that’s not me. I didn’t have a cell phone until about 2 years ago. No internet at home and an old laptop I, therefore, rarely used. Electronics are tools I use, but generally don’t invest in much.

my computer friend and I at a coffee shop

Until this past year. This year my electronics were my bridge to home. I spent a great deal of time on my computer. The thought of losing this piece of plastic, silicone, and rare metals gave me nightmares. I would have been utterly lost without it. Despite its weight and bulk it came with me on every trip I did over the past 11 months.

RAGBRAI comes through town

As I transition back into my life in the U.S. I find myself only slightly less attached. My camera is at my elbow, though it hasn’t taken a picture since Sunday when RAGBRAI came through town and I have gone to the grocery story without it. My computer now does more to connect me to friends in Romania than people here at home.

All of this makes me wonder what it might have been like to be a Fulbrighter 20, 30, or 50 years ago. Going abroad would have been much more frightening. Connections to home would be few, small, and infrequent. Former Fulbrighters, I admire your courage!

Now, if I could just get Google to realize I am in the U.S. and switch from Romanian to English.


One response to “Friends with Wires

  1. We’ve often talked about how different our trip through asia would have been had we had smart phones with us. We took no cell phones at all. I think it would have been easier in a lot of ways, but lacking somehow. I think the isolation of the road made the experience richer for us. However, we were tied to computers- blogging and all that, and in England, I can’t imagine not being able to call on my mobile or email! What a different world it was just 20 years ago!

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