a girl, a guy, a tomato, a bean, and a bear

Sunday, June 21, 2009

In which I want an iphone so bad I could burst...

I can't believe that it's Sunday and that tomorrow is a week from when Evelyn turned 11 months. All week long I've been meaning to take her "official" month marker pictures, and have not done so. I've been busy, well, making busy work for myself mostly--obsessively planning things that are still too far out of my control to have any sway over (in this case, the PCS move), and yet still I plan. I research, I make excel spreadsheets (I'm not kidding), I organize my thoughts and print things out to put into page protectors and make little binders of crazy organization because it makes me feel like I'm doing something productive. In a way, it does end up being productive. I become really well informed about whatever it is that I'm obsessing about, but if I'm being honest, there's got to be a more streamlined, time-effective way of going about this all.

I've been meaning to post more lately, but I'm still soaking in all of this "having my husband living with me thing." It all seems totally normal now, but in a large part, this blog was a means to express myself in his absense. I came here to chronicle Evie moments for him to see or to chronicle ideas when I didn't have anyone else to act as a sounding board. In all of that I really found that I enjoy writing as an outlet, although I'm still horrified that I'll come back in a few years and cringe at all of the things I write about...that ALWAYS happens. But as trivial, mundane, eccentric, or silly as any of what I write about may be, it helps me to keep moving forward, to serve as another mechanism for organizing my thoughts and motivate me to do more, do better.

In the coming weeks, I'm bound to blabber on about our coming move. We're about 12 weeks out now from moving back to America and are starting to make concrete plans for shipping our belongings home, our travel arrangements, where to stay, what to buy, etc. It's now been over 3 years since I've set foot on American soil and as I make our preparations I've started to have this creeping feeling of apprehension...I think I may have a bit of culture shock upon returning to the states. Of course, I have researched this too:

Honeymoon Phase - During this period the differences between the old and
new culture are seen in a romantic light, wonderful and new. For example, in
moving to a new country, an individual might love the new foods, the pace of the
life, the people's habits, the buildings and so on.

Negotiation Phase - After some time (usually weeks), differences between the old and new culture become apparent and may create anxiety. One may long for food the way it is prepared in one's native country, may find the pace of life too fast or slow,
may find the people's habits annoying, disgusting, and irritating etc. This phase is often marked by mood swings caused by minor issues or without apparent reason. Depression is not uncommon.

Adjustment Phase - Again, after some time (usually 6 – 12 months), one grows accustomed to the new culture and develops routines. One knows what to expect in most situations and the host country no longer feels all that new. One becomes concerned with basic living again, and things become more "normal".

Reverse Culture Shock (a.k.a. Re-entry Shock) - Returning to one's home culture after growing accustomed to a new one can produce the same effects as described above. The affected person often finds this more surprising and difficult to deal with than the original culture shock. (via Wikipedia, that most reliable of sources)

I love the little casual throw away addendums, "Depression is not uncommon" or about reverse culture shock being "more surprising and difficult to deal with." Sweet. ;) Oh, and I almost forgot--not only is this returning to America from Germany, it's returning to civilian land from army world. I never knew it was different until I crossed over. It's a happy and sad thing, but I'm not sure I quite fit in anymore.

But seriously, Justin and I were watching the previews on a borrowed DVD the other day and I was taken aback. Not only had I not heard of any of the movies (or some of the actors), but there were tons of cultural references being thrown around that simply flew over my head. And then there are the phenomenon I am aware of, but completely detached from--Twilight? Yeah, couldn't care less. Highschool Musical 3? 4? What are they on now? Sorry, I haven't watched television or most movies in over three years. I think there may be some catching up that is possible, but really, I'll just have to get used to having a pop cultural reference gap from the years 2005-2009. I missed those years. Sorry. Ask me something about schnitzel or Belgian beer.

And THEN, (and this is really another post in the making) I've started researching things we'll want to buy on our return to the states. We're going to be in the market for a car, cell phones, a dining table, a washer and dryer, etc. Tons of stuff. These are all normal purchases people in America make from time to time in their lives, but I am totally overwhelmed by all the new cool stuff that is out there. The iPhone?? So what if I haven't used a cell phone regularly since 2005, I need a phone that can voice recognize and answer my questions and has a built in digital compass for when I get lost in the woods. I have such gadget lust, it is hard to describe to you. I vascillate between being totally convinced that this phone will CHANGE MY LIFE to realizing I'm being seduced by the dark side. Not that there's anything wrong with the iPhone--not that I wouldn't love to have one...I'm just thinking it may be overkill to jump straight from training wheels to a corvette. I've been living a very laid back lifestyle over here, not so much by choice as by necessity, but it is what I've become used to.

Anyway, it's all stuff rattling around in my head. If any of you would like to give me product endorsements on things I really should look into getting, please by all means send them my way! ;)


Write Softly said...

Ok, girl. As an iPhone user myself, let me tell you -- bite the bullet and get the iPhone. I love the thing. You may remember some of my posts about how it frequently ends up under my pillow at night. There are GREAT apps for moms, like grocery list apps, apps that help you keep track of how long it's been since you fed your newborn and what side you last nursed on, not to mention awesome games, plus music and video capability. It's like having a laptop in your pocket. I read books on mine, update my blog and twitter from it, and so much more. I've even downloaded some preschool apps for boy to play with -- flashcards, alphabet games, colors and shape recognition games, you name it.

Totally worth it. Think of it as treating cell phone reentry as jumping into the deep end. :)

Christa L. said...

I am the Anti-iphone spokes person. I don't own one. Never have and never will. I can tell you exactly why. Perhaps it's all personal preference. Thing is, when it come down to it - I want a cell phone that will cover the basics and get an A+ doing it. It doesn't matter to me that it has games, apps, fake glasses of beer, navigation systems.... here, let me explain. First off, round these parts (and most every where) the only network worth having is Verizon - and they don't have an iphone. AT&T/Sprint service is crap. So if you want cool apps - sure get the iphone. But you'll be getting tons of dropped calls, roaming signals, extra charges on just about every minute you use it. Everyone I know that has an iphone (about 10 people from varying backgrounds) claim that they enjoy the "cool stuff" and checking they're email but the one thing it really sucks at is making phone calls. HELLO?? Did I miss something? Isn't it an iPHONE, a cell PHONE. Maybe I'm just old fashioned, but if I have a portable phone, it's primary and most important function should be to make PHONE CALLS.

I think you should tap into your rational side. Think about cost - cause it's all long term. With all the contracts and cancellation charges, up grade fees, cost-per-minute and other money sucking traps in cell phone plans, you really need to do your research on the service, which, I think, is far more important than the phone itself. Find out what service most of your family and friends have. It's cheaper with every service to call within that service (aka ATT to ATT, T-Mobile to T-mobile, Verizon to Verizon) and knowing who your key contacts use could be helpful. Start looking at who has towers where and if they're service is strong in areas of the country you plan to be in frequently. Look into how long the contracts are, bonuses, family plans ... (not for nothing but Verizon is the service provider for all US Military).

The iphone is attractive. I get it. But it's also had a dramatic effect on how we choose our primary form of communication. Prior to the iphone, everyone valued their service provider over the type of phone they got, and the iphone is altering that way of thought. In my opinion, this is not for the better. The iphone is the ultimate gadget of it's day, appealing to the masses for it's style, fun, and keeping-up-with-the-Jone's advertising. Don't be a sheep, be wolf. Do your research on what matters, not what appeals to your natural American sense of consumerism. Oh, btw, the fact that you are obsessing over all the things you need to buy and only want the best and coolest out there means you are still very much an American and I think you'll fit right in when you get home.

Don't worry - we've got gadgets and gizmos a plenty. We've got whose-its and whats-its galore. Thing-of-a-bobs - we've got 20...but who cares, no big deal... we still want more....

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