One of the best things about our recent Romania travels is that we were able to unplug for two weekends in a row. Even though our hotels had wi-fi, we brought books to fill our spare time and left the computers at home.
Posts tagged ‘Internet’
You watch your social media feed get cluttered with other people’s baby pictures and you say to yourself, “That won’t be me.” Then the big day arrives, you take one look at your newborn child, and you fall so instantaneously and completely in love that your brain gets warped a little. You find yourself skipping meals, ignoring your body’s feeble pleas for sleep, and losing track of time, holding — or just simply looking at — this tiny person who is so beautifully fragile and so completely dependent on you. You can’t be blamed for knowing in your heart that yours is the most adorable baby ever to be born.
For well over an hour last night, the Chisinau skyline gave the impression of a city under siege. It was virtually impossible to distinguish the official fireworks from those purchased by the general public. A thick cloud of smoke hung over the city center, as a myriad simultaneous explosions pierced the night, spreading their radiant starbursts above the Moldovan capital as far and wide as the eye could see. People were still setting off fireworks at 2am, when we called it a night.
A few friends have asked whether our soon-to-be-born child will have Moldovan citizenship. The answer is no, unless Moldovan authorities have begun handing out citizenship documents to newborns upon arrival at the airport. With the exception of a handful of posts, mostly in Western Europe, the State Department encourages expectant mothers to deliver either in the United States or at a medevac hub, which for us is London. To do otherwise would be “acting contrary to medical advice” and would require us to sign a liability waiver, which we see no reason to do. This means that we will trade in a few months of cold Moldovan winter for cold New England winter as we return home early next year.
There is a whole wide world out there — a cosmos we have only glimpsed, but which we are soon about to enter. It is the world of sippy cups and diaper accessories, of nipple butter and snot-suckers, of teethers, pacifiers, and training potties — and navigating it is both exciting and absolutely terrifying. In Kenya, juggling our own safaris and a nearly endless parade of visitors, S felt like a part-time travel agent. With her ever-expanding waistline and the knowledge that soon our little guy will make his entry into this world and forever change ours, S has become a full-time product researcher.
There were a couple of great Onion articles recently lampooning the modern-day societal obsession with our digital lives. We may not Instagram every meal we have, but we too are guilty of wasting more time than we should on Facebook and sharing snapshots of our life through this blog. And the more one shares, the greater grows the itch to keep doing it. What started simply as a way to stay in touch with friends and family while we served abroad has taken on a life of its own, with the number of strangers who follow our blog outnumbering our friends and relatives by a ten-to-one margin.
Thanks to a friend, D was recently able to watch one of the Yankees’ postseason games. It was a miserable experience all around. For the first three innings, the internet connection was so slow that the feed frequently froze. So D spent a lot of time looking at still images of baseball players adjusting their uniforms, fans making goofy faces, and managers chewing tobacco in the dugout. After midnight (towards the end of the third inning), the feed improved, but the game deteriorated, with the Yankees playing so poorly that D nearly found himself wishing for the still images he had spent an hour cursing.
One of our readers recently nominated us for a Versatile Blogger Award; a few weeks later our blog also received a nomination for a Reader Appreciation Award. We were flattered, naturally, but it also made us reflect on our year of blogging.
Our intention in launching this blog a year ago was to provide an easy way for friends and family to keep up with our adventures. D’s career choice has pretty much ensured that we’ll go for long periods of time without seeing our loved ones, and this seemed to be the best way to stay in touch. S had blogged previously during her travels. For D, this was his foray into the blogsphere, but he had similarly felt the need to share his stories, writing mass emails during his Peace Corps days whenever he could get to a computer. Living abroad for long stretches of time tends to have an isolating effect. Sharing one’s stories makes it easier to stay in touch and reconnect when one returns home.
Since S started her new job this year, we have had few opportunities to get out of Nairobi until our friend, Cam, came to visit for two weeks. Exploring Nairobi together, going on safari, and spending a weekend at the beach, we accumulated enough stories to fill half a dozen blog posts. Unfortunately, when we finally sat down to type some of them up last weekend, the internet was too painfully slow to use. It was like being transported back to the early 90’s as web pages took several minutes to load, videos were impossible to watch, and uploading photos to accompany our stories was clearly out of the question. When we read the news on Monday, we found little solace in the knowledge that the rest of East Africa was also feeling our pain.