Living in the Dark Ages

Me, after a successful hike down to the edge of the sea near campus.

Me, after a successful hike down to the edge of the sea near campus.

I realize it’s been a bit quiet on here lately.  Unlike the last time I posted, I’ve actually been wanting to blog more, but it hasn’t exactly been easy.

When we initially arrived, we were told it  might take a week or two to get internet, so we weren’t too worried.  Since then, we’ve discovered that there are not enough physical ports with which to install our internet, so we could be waiting as long as six months – and that’s only if they’re not lying to us (I am finding out very quickly that getting stuff done is not a strong suit of Turkish culture).

This has been a HUGE source of frustration for us.  While we certainly don’t need to be as dependent on it as we were back home (because there’s a lot more to do here), it’s still a major necessity.  The internet is how we stay in touch with family and friends.  The internet is where we look for lesson inspiration and enter grades.  It’s where we read the news, browse Pinterest, and most importantly, get our Netflix fix. I could just end this paragraph with a series of expletives that describe my frustration, but I’ll just end it by saying that it sucks having such limited access.  It makes home feel a lot less like home and more like a hotel.

In addition to living with very minimal internet, we also spent our first two weeks here without a cell phone, which isn’t nearly as big of a deal as the internet (at least to me), but it is definitely an adjustment.  We finally bought one after our trip to Antalya (which I promise to post about soon), but it is a very basic Nokia, reminiscent of the “family” cell phone we shared when I was in 7th grade, circa 2003.  I never realized how much I depended on my smart phone until we started going out and about more here.  I had become accustomed to looking up recipes while grocery shopping, using the GPS app to find my way around unfamiliar cities, and browsing through Facebook while standing in lines.  It almost feels like I’ve gone back in time.

I can’t say that it’s all bad though.  Without the constant distraction of technology, I feel like I am a lot more present when I’m taking in my new surroundings.  I’m a lot more likely to engage in conversations with the people around me, even in my extremely basic Turkish.  I spend more time walking around campus getting to know my students, listening to them play music, and thinking about the kind of teacher I hope to be.  I’ve explored the campus more and have definitely spent more time in the gorgeous weather than I probably would have if I had 24/7 access to The Office. While I certainly cannot sustain this level of being “unplugged” indefinitely, I am hoping to walk away from it with something positive.  I have already noticed a small shift in the way that I think about my time.  I feel more focused on the things that matter and less worried about simply being entertained all day.

In the meantime, I plan to spend the rest of my Sunday getting my internet fix in the office, catching up on a bit of grading, and going for a jog around campus for some exercise and fresh air.  I’m hoping to get into more of a blogging rhythm soon.

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