If this post were a Sesame Street episode, it would be brought to you by the letters H and P and the number 12. And, after seven weeks of living abroad, I’ve determined that neither the letters nor the number are the ideal sponsors. To make the magic seen on this blog I need a whole lotta gadgets. Ok, fine, I need a lot of gadgets for work and daily living, too. My dependency on them is a little surprising; I’ve never been a gadget person! But my long run on Sunday morning just about killed my trusty iPod and that’s got me thinking about replacing the entire set of techie toys below with the full Apple suite when I return home. Having every item “talk” to one another? Remarkable! So, speaking of sponsors, anyone feeling generous?
- HP laptop. Work issued and not really adored. This thing is big, bulky, weighs a ton, and is not at all easy to juggle when running through foreign airports. I’ve never given much thought to laptop size until now but to illustrate how bad this one is, it is tearing the straps off my six week-old bag.
- Mini mouse. Not the Disney kind.
- Tata Photon Stick. This is quite possibly my least favorite item in the bunch. Hotel internet is exorbitantly priced so we use dial up – yes, dial up – internet sticks to connect anywhere outside of work. 1998 called and it wants its connection speed back.
- Plug adapters. I have a small stash of these but find that I rarely need to use them. Most places have universal outlets that handle US plugs just fine, even if there is a sizeable spark each time I go to use them.
- iPod Nano, first generation. Oh, iPod, how you’ve seen me through so much. Long runs, slow weekends, noisy flights, open-air office conversations. I really don’t know how I lived without you.
- Blackberry Curve. Oh, Blackberry, I do know how I live without you and it’s because you take too many steps to do any one simple task. This archaic item has me seriously contemplating a proper international cell phone plan at my own expense just to avoid the hassle. Most people do nothing but SMS/text here so it’s not like I’d need a lot of voice minutes anyway. (Sidebar: SMSing here is taken as seriously as Americans take email, meaning, if you commit to something in SMS it’s about as good as blood on paper. This has taken some getting used to because I’m not really one to conduct business via text message. And, don’t get me started on the degeneration of proper communication thanks to emoticons – from grown adults! I’ve fallen so far into the SMSing culture that I’m ashamed to say smiley faces have weaseled their way into my texted parlance. Oh, the shame of it all. )
- iPhone, not pictured. Is it sad that one of my favorite moments in the return trip home is the second those airplane wheels touch down and I get to go back to using my iPhone for things other than pictures?
- Kindle Fire. This item is also known as your guaranteed dinner date when traveling alone. I didn’t think I’d take to an e-reader and I still don’t adore the reading experience it provides. However, the convenience and ease of getting almost anything I want to read is unmatched. My alternative looks like this and trust me, this “bookstore” isn’t what I would call user-friendly.
- Headphones and USB. Nothing fancy, just necessary.
- iTunes. Did you know the world wide web isn’t truly world wide? I cannot stream American TV shows from network websites or even rent movies from Amazon.com, which means the Kindle is only good for reading while the laptop is the TV stand-in.
There it is, kids. A full Best Buy worth of plastic buttons and screens, all in the name of keeping up with life while you leave it behind.