Tag Archives: connection

A Day for Catch-ups

Spring Break, Quarantine Edition began today. I was able to catch up with so many of my favorite people throughout the day. This is definitely a perk of being in isolation…you have time to talk to people without being too busy. Silver lining!

My morning started off in Texas with Lisa, my sister-in-law, and my niece and nephew, Randi and Logan, where I got to hear about how their week off from school has been going. Lisa’s a teacher, too, so she has the tough job of teaching online while homeschooling 2 young children. I can’t imagine how she’s going to do all that and stay sane!

Next up in Vietnam was Michelle, whose birthday is today. It’s such a bummer that she doesn’t get to properly celebrate it now, but she is getting together with a small group of friends later tonight. We commiserated about online school and how much we miss having our kids in the classroom and debated whether it was safer to go back to the states or stay abroad. The verdict was it was probably safer to stay rather than braving the trek home.

Late morning took me to Canada to see Shaggers, who also just finished her first week of online learning, and like me, is on Spring Break. With both her and her husband teaching, Marlowe (their 4 year old daughter) is struggling to understand why her parents are preoccupied and not able to devote all their attention to her while they’re home. They’ve been working on an alternating schedule to make sure she gets what she needs. I imagine that’s a tricky line to walk. Of course, we also talked about Marlowe, her budding writer!

This afternoon I got to catch up with Annie, my temporary roommate, who moved back to her place once the self-quarantine went into effect. While we are both glad we have a week off from school, we both plan to take advantage of the week to get ahead for the next week of virtual school. We also weighed the pros and cons of going back home during this uncertain time. The verdict’s still out.

After Annie, Vanessa was on deck. Since we usually chat on and off during school days, it was weird to not talk to her all day. We briefly chatted about her fun family day spent in PJs, where they watched movies, ate yummy food, and played Monopoly. Everyone is glad for a brain break from school!

Wendi, my friend I originally worked with in Albania and who now works with me here in Jakarta, called to talk through whether it’s best to stay put or go back home. She’s got more to consider, with a baby and a dog, but no matter the reasons we came up with, there was no clear answer. She’s going to sleep on it tonight.

Rounding out tonight was my parents in Texas. We discussed whether or not I should come home (sensing a pattern?), but again, there was no clear decision. I have to weigh up whether it’s safer to stay here, where I am quarantined in my house, or risk the airports, airplanes, and long lines once I arrive, plus the 14-day quarantine in a hotel once I am stateside. I’m likely to catch it on the way home, but the medical care is better at home, I’d be near my family, and I’d be guaranteed to get out of Indonesia. Who knows if/when flights in and out will be shut down…with so many unknowns, there’s no easy answer. Our conversation ended on a positive note, where we talked about non-Coronavirus topics, which was pleasant.

Our Obsession with Connection

Something that’s been ruminating in my head for a little while is this obsession with constant connection that we all seem to have. I know I’m guilty of it. I have Facebook, Facebook Messenger, Instagram, WeChat, What’s App, Line, iMessage, Facetime, Skype, my WordPress blog, and of course, email. I have resisted getting Twitter and Snapchat because I just can’t manage one more thing.

In my opinion, social media is a double-edged sword. One one hand, it connects us to people we love who are far away, which is super important when you live abroad like I do, and it helps us form connections with others who have similar interests who we might otherwise never meet in real life. But on the other hand, being so connected and easily accessible means you can’t shut it off. You are constantly barraged with messages that you want and need to respond to, yet sometimes you can’t keep up. I sometimes feel like I’m drowning in messages, wanting to respond, but not having the time, then feeling guilty about not responding quickly enough, so much so that I become paralyzed and don’t respond or take even longer to respond.

And then there’s Facebook. To me, Facebook is a completely different animal. Facebook, in theory, is a great tool. It allows me to share my life with people who are far away, see what’s happening in my friends’ lives, particularly major milestones like marriages, new babies, kids growing up, trips people take, etc., and connect with people professionally, such as the PYP groups I have joined. But in reality, Facebook has become a burden. It takes up way too much of my time. I find myself checking it too often, only to find not much has changed. Ugh…and the political posts…they’re the worst. I think it boils down to the fact that what I get out of it isn’t worth the cost.

The first thing I did was turn off notifications from Facebook. That constant ‘ding’ informing me that someone had ‘liked’ my photo or status, commented on my status or a status I had commented on, or that one of my friends recently posted something, was so distracting and took me away from things I wanted to spend time doing. No longer receiving notifications helped a bit, but the problem still persisted. I still checked Facebook way too often. A couple of weeks ago, I deleted the Facebook app from my phone. Removing the temptation to constantly check it has helped me take a step back.

But there’s still this gnawing feeling that I just want to step away. I want to disconnect a bit. Not completely, of course, because I value connection, but this constant connection is not something that brings me joy right now. And to be honest, I feel guilty about that. Like, really guilty. As a people pleaser, wanting to step away makes me feel like a brat. Am I saying that I have people who want to connect with me, and I want less of that? I think that that’s not entirely the case. What I’m craving is real, authentic connections with others…sitting across the table or on the other end of the phone with someone, listening to them telling me about their life, in a conversation, rather than reading messages on a screen.

When I reflect on why I am feeling this way, it boils down to constant connection not being in line with my goals. This past year has been one of the most stressful and saddening times of my life, and having removed myself from that situation in order to focus on becoming ‘me’ again, I have created goals that allow me to do just that- get back to who I really am and the things that bring me joy in my life. Things like reading more (which I am doing a ton of lately), getting back into writing and blogging (yay…I’m doing that, too), healing from the past (working on it), going to bed early (like, super early), diving into my new job (I’m learning everyday), and doing more of the things I love. Engaging all the time with Facebook and other forms of constant communication take time away from pursuing my goals.

So, while I feel selfish and kinda like a jerk, I want to step away from it for a while. I’m not making one of those sweeping ‘I’m never getting on Facebook and I’m deleting my account so you’ll never see me again’ statements, but I am making a conscious decision to do more of what makes me happy and less of what takes my time away from that. I’m not sure what this will exactly look like, but I’ll be less accessible than I normally have been in the past. I’d still love to hear from you, but it may take me longer to respond.