I have often written about our desire to unplug and spend more time connecting with each other and less with our devices. It seems my oldest son’s desires are sometimes stronger than mine! He won a Kindle in a little arcade in Connecticut when we were on our way out of the country. Although I still favor face to face connection, some events from the past few months have increased my admiration for the digital world.
The ethnocentric American in me somehow thought that it would be easier to find books, workbooks, and magazines in English while we were traveling in non-English speaking countries. In hindsight, I realize how ridiculous my expectation was, but that is the part of this journey that is so valuable. It was hard to know in what ways I was ethnocentric when I was not traveling. I love those awakenings but I also love to read and I get edgy when I don’t have a good book and a few in the pipeline. My son’s Kindle has been an incredible resource for all of us. We have downloaded language dictionaries, maps, books for all reading levels and we recently had an amazing breakthrough. . .
We can check out books from our hometown library and download them onto the Kindle for free. As we sit in our temporary home in Southern Italy and we virtually scour the bookshelves, I am overwhelmed with gratitude to our library system in the USA and to Amazon. How can this be possible? This is the genius of technology at its best.
Nothing will ever replace the smell of a book and the weight of its artful sleeve in my hand. I even enjoy collecting pillows to support especially lengthy novels that I can barely support while reading. All of that does not change the magic of having the library experience in rural Italy, or the joy of a new release downloaded instantly.
This holiday, when we felt really far from home, iTunes Classic Holiday allowed us to sing along with our favorite carols in English. The kids were able to track Santa on Norad and we were able to Skype with friends and family. All of these things were beautifully woven with completely foreign melodies, flavors and experiences and the result was the perfect tapestry.
I am grateful to technology for comforting us this season when we needed the familiar and for having an off button so we didn’t rely too much on what we already know.