Last night I skyped with my mission’s Pastor and the joy of connecting and the ease of planning a missions project through a skype conversation made me think back to the dark ages of technology. I have lived through the entire change here in Ukraine.
Can you believe I spent my first year here with NO computer, NO cell phone, No internet except for an internet cafe which was weird and SLOW. I had a FILM camera and it was hard to get photos printed because the water here is so bad that the development was horrible. I mean, how do you communicate to people back home when you have nothing to work with?
I sent newsletters via email (no MailChimp) and no photos were attached. I went back to the states with my head spinning and brain numbed down trying to explain my life, what it looked like, felt like, tasted like.
My second year I had a laptop and wow, DIAL UP through the telephone line. SLOW. SLOW?
Then along came a digital camera. I still have it somewhere. I’m going to put it in a museum. It was box like and used COMPUTER DISCS to record digital photos. I would take the discs out and then upload them to my computer then WAIT 20 HOURS, well it felt like that, FOR ONE PHOTO to attach itself to my newsletter. Oh those were the days.
I still remember when my Ukrainian friends took me out and DEMANDED that I buy a mobile phone. It was a HUGE decision, partly because of the price and partly because I was like, “Yes, but do I really NEED it?” Then they dragged me back AGAIN because the phones were becoming smaller and smaller and I needed to not look like I was in the dark ages when I whipped that puppy out to use it.
I remember when my friend told me about electronic books. I was like, “No. Stop!” I could not comprehend downloading a book. I figured that would take five hours and cost $100 a book. Now I have to practically put a LOCK on my amazon account because it’s like crack to me to be able to download ANY BOOK I WANT through whisper sync, in a MATTER OF SECONDS.
I remember my friend telling me about blogs. I was like, “WHAT?! A website where you can write and it keeps adding info and you can post photos???!!!” I WANT ONE. And low and behold, I became the Blogging Queen of Kyiv.
I remember when dial up went high speed, then higher and higher. Finally one day I had the cable man at my flat and we were deciding how to set up the internet. It was my babushka landlady who came up with the bright idea that I should skip the cord and go for the cordless wifi, “That’s a great idea, you can sit in the kitchen or in the front room and use the computer anywhere. That’s what you need to get. That will be comfortable for you.” This, from a woman who had never turned on a computer. Brilliant. I was worried about cost, she was on the cutting edge of modern technology use.
I jumped in fast and hard with the DSLR camera, social media, skype and finally, MailChimp for my newsletters. Finally, someone blessed me with a smart phone. I charged it up every day and stared at it while it made buzzing and hissing noises as people activiated all my social media sites. My internet world was at my finger tips 24/7. It stressed me out for about six months.
Now we communicate differently. No longer do I have to rely on describing my life only through words in an email. I use a template, add photos, have instagram, a blog, (a whole other technological jump) social media sites of all kinds. Now when a revolution or war pops up, we can post status updates on what’s going on around town on Facebook to help people navigate away from dangerous areas and keep people outside Ukraine aware of what’s going on since journalism has pretty much disappeared in the world.
These are the days of wonder on the internet. Sometimes it makes me feel batty and I can’t process it all, but most of the time I am so glad for it. I am so glad to be able to see my friend’s lives even though they are far away. I have new internet friends from all over the world to share ideas and thoughts with….. I love technology most of the time, when I’m not trying to process it.