Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Computer Challenges

Living without a computer has left me unsettled and disjointed. My computer has become my constant companion this year. I open it first thing in the morning, check it several times during the day, skype my parents each evening, make telephone calls, answer emails, download photos, write regularly; it has become an essential tool, especially during this year far from all that is familiar.

I am not sure what happened a few days ago. I had brought my laptop with me to Peru (as did Eric, and both my inlaws had their iphones which served as internet access for them almost everywhere ). I had imagined that I would find internet in most places and thus I could keep current on my email and writing. However, when everyone else was able to get online, I was having recurrent difficulties and finally simply gave up on my errant machine and decided to take a short break from constant contact with the rest of the world. Of course, if necessary, I could check Eric's machine, or even those of Sherry and Jeff. I was still able to write, but I could not connect to the rest of the world.

I expected that once home, I would get back on track, but my machine continued to be uncooperative. I could not get online. Eric is very knowledgeable about computers, but on examination, he could only tell me there was something seriously wrong, that perhaps I had been hacked and my identity and passwords and banking may be compromised. I wondered if I needed to make a dozen phonecalls and cancel all accounts. Whenever I tried to get online, the computer would become a different computer and follow its own agenda. Had it been infiltrated? What could I possibly do?

Eric decided to back up my computer and then try to install a new operating system, which would negate the supposed virus or hack. But the back up procedure was unsuccessful several times. We walked to Quicentro for coffee and a visit to 'Super Paco' ('everything for computers-co and paper-pa') and bought a 1.5 terrabite (big) device and tried to back up my computer again. It failed several times until much later in the day. It appeared not to be possible to install the 'SnowLeopard' operating system.

I was desperate. I could check my email on Maya's little computer, but typing on it was awkward and I could not add photos. Eric was on his computer all day and had his other computer in his office and unavailable. I accomplished very little. Eric accused me of opening a virus, but I could not remember doing anything like that over the past few days.

The treat of the day is that I directed my energies to simply reading. I finished half read books, I started a new book, and it was entirely satisfying.

Finally, we remembered that several days ago when we could not get online at 'Sol y Luna', a young IT fellow adjusted both our computers. Eric decided that he may have reconfigured mine, so he retraced the steps necessary to reverse the adjustments, and the computer finally worked normally. I am sure I could have never figured the problem out on my own, so I am very lucky to have a knowledgeable computer expert at my fingertips. I felt guilty that he has so much work to do, but has devoted so much time and energy to fix my problem.

I am feeling awkward that I am entirely dependent on this little device, that any time away from it brings on withdrawal pains, and that I am unable to function without my computer.

Today was a day to stay close to home and rest and recover from the intense activity of the Peru trip. I tried to nurse my cold and feel better, so I stayed close to home and ventured out only to pick Maya up from her first day back at school, ferry her to her orchestra practice and violin class and back home.

I packed two huge bags full of belongings to give to my inlaws, who left for St. Petersburg this morning. After bringing two full duffel bags to Baltimore when I visited for my medical appointment and leaving them with Emily, giving one to Emily when she left and the two to Sherry and Jeff, I expected my apartment to be empty, but my impression is that I will have to pack many more bags or leave several of our belongings behind. The packing brings our departure ever nearer and I am feeling sad and not at all ready to leave Ecuador. Eric found it painful to go to Megamaxi and buy food, and Maya assured me that she would rather stay and continue the life we have here, than return to Baltimore. It took so much effort to adjust to this place, and now our looming departure date has arrived before we are ready to go. I tried to take advantage of this slow and uneventful day to start organizing our belongings, but it wasn't any fun, so I left several piles lined up on one side of the bedroom. I do not feel ready to go!

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