Communication Breakdown

“I’m a great believer that any tool that enhances communication has profound effects in terms of how people can learn from each other, and how they can achieve the kind of freedoms that they’re interested in.” -Bill Gates

“We’ve arranged a civilization in which most crucial elements profoundly depend on science and technology.” -Carl Sagan

Let me first say that I am very excited to now be posting from inside my new home. As I mentioned  in my last post, we have moved to Angra Dos Reis. For almost a month I lived (a sort of life) without Television and internet. It was a long, slow, tedious and frustrating journey to connectivity. First, we tried satellite and they couldn’t install it here because there was no way to get onto the roof. Not that I’m one to gossip… but MGFI’s new hairdresser insinuated that that might have been intentional so that  one provider would become the only possible provider. I don’t know about that and Brazilians do seem to have a lot of conspiracy theories especially when it comes to American tourists, activists, reporters and the CIA but I’m getting off topic. The satellite people couldn’t put the dish on  the side by the window either  because it wouldn’t receive the signal there.  We sighed, pouted a little and  then  went to a cable and internet provider. We were all set when, tada! another twist. They informed us that  we would have to first pay to make the whole building cable ready.  It’s a new apartment building where we were the first tenants to move in and the only ones for three weeks. We decided against paying for everyone and started to look elsewhere for internet service. Off to a cell phone service who offers a seven day trial of their usb plug in internet service we went. It was so slow that I would rather not have internet at all compared to that. It’s more frustrating waiting and waiting and waiting and waiting. I felt like I had gone back in time (like I do when I go to Angra Shopping, one of the malls here or I watch certain channels that look like they are broadcasting sports from the 80s but it’s actually a live game).  I had forgotten what life is like without broadband. Let me tell you that going off the grid voluntarily my be fun for a time but being forced to feels archaic, wrong and very isolating. Everyone I know now lives at least a quarter of their life in the computer to some extent. Is that good? I’m not arguing that but is there any other way to communicate with them when they live all around the world? Oh, and we didn’t have a phone either so that wasn’t an option. Going outside and making small talk with the locals and exploring would have been an option but my Portuguese is unfortunately coming along a lot slower than I had hoped. I actually did go the padaria, gas station and mercado by myself  (MGFI was working) but most of those trips ended with me either chickening out and speaking as little as possible and/ or mumbling or utter confusion and frustration with me close to tears on the way back to my lonely tower…erm I mean apartment.  Finally after thoughts creeping in about me returning to America… land of actual comfy, not hard furniture, broadband, shampoo in big bottles, free refills, taco bells and general convenience …. the owners of the building paid to have the building readied for cable. However, after only four months in Brasil even I knew it would not be that simple. We had to wait for them to come, ready it (which looked to me like just plugging in a wire outside.) They plugged it in or fiddled with things here-

Order and Progress-The powerlines outside our window.

Finally after about another week of waiting for them to come to make the building ready and then set us up, we had cable and internet. It was a good day. It was a great day in fact. It was sunny and not too hot. Birds chirping and the stray dogs seemed to almost be dancing in the street. I was happy. The internet is not super fast but I can have more than one window open at a time and one of them can be youtube. High five! So, it’s all good. Next post I’ll tell you more about Angra and why we’re here now. But first-


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