Wednesday, August 6, 2014

The Dark Ages

It boggles my mind that we once survived without internet. Or smart phones. Because now, I cannot seem to live without those amenities.

It’s not my fault. I live in China and although I’m in a big city, I’m pretty isolated. My friends live on the other side of town so it’s not like I can walk over to visit or anything like that. Getting together with people we know requires a great deal of planning. And sometimes those plans get ruined because one of us gets a sick kid or something comes up.

So the internet has become a big thing for me here. I can’t function without it. When I lived in the US, I never cared about having internet at home. But here, I need it. It’s my lifeline. Without it, I can’t stay in touch with family and friends back home. I can’t even do what I need to do here, like finish writing my articles for the next issue of Redstar Family Guide, for example. I can’t use my phone to access WeChat to talk to my local friends (it’s free and doesn’t use up my balance like texting does). I can’t do diddly shit.

Over the last 5 or 6 weeks, we’ve been having a plethora of internet issues. It started with the mangled line courtesy of our upstairs neighbors. Then, it was something else. And then it was our router. Thankfully, each time it’s gone down, the internet company has sent us a helpful employee who is the kind of person you are grateful to meet anywhere. In Qingdao, it’s pretty hit or miss with how people are. Some of them are kind and helpful and others are rude jerks. We were lucky to make friends with this guy. He’s come over about 5 or 6 times now to attend to our recent connection problems. On Saturday night, we had more connection issues. He came out on Sunday while we were at church and replaced the line in the building. We thought that would be the end of it.

But then this morning, it was going crazy again. It was up. Then down. Then up. Then down. Repeatedly. I tried unplugging the router a few times and texting Jeremy who thought I was just bothering him over nothing because after 20 minutes of unstable behavior, it stayed up. He said it was probably due to the heavy rain.

I thought maybe he was right. Until this evening when I was watching our satellite TV, which runs through the router. Suddenly, it cut out. I checked and my connection was gone on my laptop. AGAIN. I unplugged the router again and it came back. I prayed it would stay up because at this point, MIL was here and I cannot sit in this house with her on a good day so imagine me being stuck with her sitting like lump on a log while the baby sleeps, hoping she wakes up so she can hold her and say stupid things like “e” (pronounced like “uh” which means hungry and is probably one of the most annoying Chinese words) or “chi far fe le” (which is actually even more annoying than “e” and makes me far stabbier, actually) with no TV or internet to help me escape. Gah!

Fortunately, luck was on my side. But soon after Jeremy came home, it went ape-shit and it stayed that way, all night. Up, down, up, down. And again, our internet friend came over and worked his magic. He says he thinks it's a faulty line inside our home. They will replace that one too and hopefully, God-willing, that will be the end of our internet woes. 

I still want to blame the people upstairs. This all started when they came along. Bastards.

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