one bar of wifi, i'm ok with it

in case you happened to miss my instagram stories or posts, my family spent most of december 2018 in our motherland islands of the philippines. besides the jaw-dropping oceans and drool-generating dishes, I couldn’t help but take notice of the effect of wifi—or rather, the lack of it—upon the people and their culture. as something we Americans consider both mundane yet vital to our day-to-day existence, it didn’t take long for me to give all my attention to the single—and sometimes nonexistent—bar on the upper right corner of my phone screen. within the first few days of our stay, I soon grew frustrated at the weak signal from our own house—how could I go on for almost a month without updating my instagram story ? I thought. living in a country with an unwavering wifi signal has cut me short of patience and the will to connect to people in real life—I had grown dependent on three little bars to connect me to both the world and others.

days into the trip, after embarking upon adventures on mountains and deep in the Pacific Ocean, I realized that I was enjoying life way more than I have ever via my phone. finally, I understood how the filipino people could live lives of enjoyment, even without three bars of signal. I found beauty in walking through streets of people, every single head facing forward rather than swooping down at a screen. living for three weeks 8,522 miles away in the city of my childhood reminded me what life is really about. it’s not about asking “what’s your wifi password?” first thing after walking into a friend’s house. it’s not about putting headphones on and tuning into the virtual world powered by three bars. the filipino people taught me that life is for spending late, lazy afternoons with your great-aunts and chatting about anything and everything. they taught me that life is for going out to eat with the people you love, hands too full of food to bother about posting an instagram story.

suddenly, I am so thankful for a month of weak signal. life is so much better when you’re looking up rather than down. x