As I make myself sit down to write this post, the first thing that sprang to my mind is ....."INTERNET"
The next thought that came to mind was how shallow is that? But then you have to look at why I couldn't imagine life without the internet.
I grew up without internet. There were no mobile phones. Friends abroad were penfriends. I remember getting contact lists and eagerly sending off letters. I didn't have much success. Was it because I wrote mainly to boys and included my photograph?? I grew up in a house of boys. It was girls that were an exotic species to me. Who knows?
Growing up we had a house phone, the calls were rarely for me. It wasn't the done thing to spend hours chatting on the phone though I do remember one boyfriend ringing me regularly. I asked him to ring about 8 in the evenings, dinner would be finished and the family kneeling down to say the rosary. That worked a couple of times before the parents copped on and calls were banned during at this hour. After I got married, we hadn't a phone for over 18 months. Getting a phone connected was a long, arduous, expensive business.
But life has changed dramatically. There has been a technology explosion. From not having any phone I now have two mobile phones as do several other family members. Then there are the computers, laptops and iPads! At one stage instead of the one car of my childhood there were five family cars.
In addition to this, I moved on from being a rather solitary child to being blessed with a cornucopia of good friends.
So how have I moved from what we might call a simple life to being unable to imagine life without the internet?
My family grew up and moved away. I also have moved away. We are far flung, Five countries, three continents. The internet is our lifeline, our umbilical cord. We send instant messages that all the family can read together at the one time and carry on a conversation as if we were in the one room. We check in with each other all the time. It is our modern day tomtom drums.
When I began to learn Turkish I used the website LiveMocha. I made several good online friends there, many of whom I have since met and stayed in touch with though I no longer use the site.
I have reconnected with school friends that I hadn't seen for many years. I even discovered one has a place not too far from me here in Turkey and we plan to meet again in June.
I have been able to stay in touch with people that I have worked with on school projects and that I have met on my travels. Some people you meet you know you just connect. Often times life and busyness makes us neglectful of this connection. But whatever one may say about Facebook, it allows us to keep that connection alive. It may be just liking someone's post, a comment on a photograph or a timely birthday reminder or a brief chat on Messenger. It keeps those connections alive.
Recently here we had a power cut, nothing new in that. Previously power cuts could last for hours. In recent times that has been reduced to 30 minutes or so. But on this day, time crept on, no power, no internet. Eventually my phone went down too. Rumours began to fly. It wasn't just our area, the whole of Turkey was out. A terror attack, bills not paid, an effort to promote nuclear power? Who knew? But then this led to the certainty that we had no idea when the power would return.
I cannot begin to tell you the feeling of being cut off. I had water, I had lots of candles, I have an open fire. I could survive without telly. I could pass the time easily, reading or knitting but what if my family needed to contact me? What if my mother became ill? These were the thoughts that were tumbling around in my head. The whole of the country was out so what would I, could I do?
The lights came on at 9.30 that evening. The first thing I do was check my phones to see if anyone had tried to reach me. I put everything I had on charge and settled in to answer emails, Viber messages and browse the net to see what family and friends had been up to for the past 12 hours.
The internet is my lifeline to family and friends and as such I could not imagine living without it.