30 September 2006

China and Technology

Because of some recent events, I feel the need to discuss the positives and not so positives of China and its current technology.

Positives: Most of what I see in China on a daily basis isn't so different than the US (or at least it is becoming more normal to me). Because I live in a big city, it is easy to forget that China is still classified as a developing country. I have the comforts of a TV, frig, washing machine, running water (albeit often scalding hot water, but water nonetheless), DVD player, air conditioning, internet, and electricity in my apartment. I have a cell phone, something I didn't even have in the States. The best part about my cell phone is there is no complicated plan or carrier to chose from (one of the perks of government monopolies) and I just put money on it whenever I run out. The battery lasts for at least three days without even losing a bar and it only takes two hours to charge back to normal--how many cell phones do that in the States? None that I know of.

Not so positives: Nothing seems to be standard! There are no such thing as fitted bottom sheets here, so I've been doing the whole hospital-corners thing the past few months. My parents were kind enough to send me a double fitted sheet. I slept on a double bed in Colorado and I was positive my bed here in China was a double bed. As I put my wonderful new fitted sheet on my bed, it wouldn't fit. Apparently there is no such thing as a standard double bed. All I want to do is not have to remake my bed every other day. I was so frustrated that I just cut through the elastic and forced it to fit and so far I haven't had to remake my bed, but it certainly does not fit they way it should. Oh well!

What prompted this posting was an incident at school. Apparently, the government thought it would be cool to turn off the power to our school on Friday. Something about checking the electrical grid or something. Not a huge deal with a little bit of notice. Bad news: there was no notice. We were told Thursday evening that when we showed up to school the next day, we would have no power for the whole day. Slight frustrations. I'm fairly good about planning ahead, but a day without the internet, a printer or a copier is a teacher's worst nightmare. Good news: I survived! It was actually not so bad, I just used the whiteboard all day.

Days like that are good for reminding me how much I rely on technology. I need to not forget how lucky I am to be overseas with all the comforts of Skype and the internet, among other things. This all goes to say that I am very thankful for technology, even when it is frustrating not to have it at school. I just hope they give us a better heads up next time the power goes out!


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