Thursday, August 23, 2012
Power of Technology
I love technology. I love having magic boxes that connect us to far off places. Here is where I give mad love to companies like Logitech, Samsung, HTC, Gateway, Apple, and Skype.
Several years ago, in the early days of Skype, we tried video chatting with my folks who were on DSL, not completely broadband. There was break-ups and stop-motion video. I knew someday the technology would catch-up, so I didn’t give up hope. We tried using a few mobile device apps during the past year to stay in touch, but again, sometimes the connection was great other times, the camera wasn’t up to par.
And then this year, things changed. We were able to get a clearer feed. I was able to chat with one of my friends who was a new mother. She hadn’t been able to leave the house much, but we were still able to talk and catch up as if she was in the room with me. Before we took our big trips, we made sure that we would have some connection, some way. When we were in Costa Rica, I was able to fire up my computer, connect to wi-fi, load up Skype and stay connected to dear ones back home. What a thrill it was to talk to our little ones from so far away and see that they were having a blast! I saw many of our Costa Rica schoolmates talking with their friends on Facetime or on Skype, too. I really enjoyed the time I had to write at breakfast at the little shop in Costa Rica. I also enjoyed talking to some of my most special people in that same shop! When Don and I traveled to Northern California with friends and our girls stayed back in SoCal with their grandparents (Hi Carol! Hi Mom! Hi Dad!), each night, they fired up Skype on their iPad and we connected to wi-fi to talk to them. So very far away, yet so close.
My girls have been sick this week. This is also the first full week of “normal” as we know it. Normal is where we all get up by 6:30AM. We all rush off to our schools/work, then we come home, eat dinner as a family, and then my husband goes to his part-time job (What, he has a second job? Yes, he does. You didn’t think that the sabbatical trips were free, did you? *grin*) while the girls and I clean up dinner (he and the girls prepare it) and do our night routine. He does have a few evenings off where we can enjoy it as a family, but this weekend, he and I are having a weekend date (thanks Mom & Z!!!), so he is working different days to maintain his hours. Needless to say, I was on the brink of a serious pity party in the evenings (hello, extrovert doesn’t do well alone). Since the girls had the nasty coughs, there were a couple of times where I had to sit quietly and do my best to revisit the magical memories made in the past few months. I held my little blessings tightly and just as they slumbered, the blue notification light on my phone lit up, notifying me of a message. During this time, I keep my phone on silent to not disturb them.
“Get online and let’s chat in a bit!”
My fabulously talented cousin who is an esthetician and a professional make-up artist…on real-life Hollywood stars…like at awards shows like the Oscars…for money…was wanting to have a video chat with me to give me the requested tutorial on the list of products he’d recommended to me! (I’ve committed to taking better care of my skin and wearing more products, but more on that another time.) That night, I was having some brain issues (light-headed/dizzyness/spots), but when we connected on that phone and were dressing up my face, I felt brighter and happier! Heck, after the conversation, I felt beautiful even, because my face was wonderfully painted! Tesla had awoken during that call and was happily busying herself with my meager bits of makeup. I got to see his new addition to the family, the beautiful and furry Thor and hollered hello to his partner.
Another time, I saw this on my Instagram feed…
I’ve been hanging with these boys for years. They come up for a visit a couple of times a year and we get to hang out when we go to Lubbock for visits. It was night time, I’d put the girls down and they were sleeping, so I responded with this…
Satellite Party! (Malibu for me…American Honey in honor of my cousin on the left in the above picture…Crown Royal Black for my Brother, in his shot glass that I bought him in Costa Rica that lives at our home—I didn’t actually take their shots. I’m saving them for when they come visit.)
“Where are you online? Get your webcam ready and let’s do this!”
Cheers! Oh but wait, another buddy showed up on their end…
And then our favorite San Diego gal had seen the images and texted me this…
In those ten minutes, we were all giggling, laughing, telling jokes, taking shots, toasting and you know…being social.
I couldn’t wait for Don to get home so I could tell him all about it. He said it best, “This is what social media is really about.” You know what, it is! There are wonderful causes to support, that can unite and divide equally. But this…video chatting with some loved ones in other time zones, in other parts of the world, it’s what connects us. All of the crappy snark, political comments, self-loathing, you know, the stuff that mucks up my social media feeds (thank God for the hide features on those things so I can respectfully remove myself from the negative without completely deleting) is not what it is about. If I want depressing, then I just go to the news site.
Having a quick date from far away just to see live-motion, hearing the words, simultaneously seeing the facial expressions…you know all that non-verbal communication…is awesome! Adding video chats with my faraway (and not-so-faraway) loves to my list of weekly to-do’s.
How do you all stay in touch?