If the iPhones, iPads, and tablets of today existed 30 years ago, then I could technically not exist right now. To further explain, I must tell the tale of how my parents found each other. My mother, born in Argentina, spent her childhood and adulthood living in both Argentina and Columbia with her family. Her entire family’s native tongue was Spanish, and the only family member who spoke English was her brother. He happened to be marrying an American girl in the United States. For the wedding, my mother’s entire family flew to America with their suitcases and Spanish-speaking tongues. At the wedding, the bride’s sister had the courageous idea to ask my mother if she would have an interest in dating her husband’s brother: my father. My mother, being the spontaneous Latina woman she is, said yes. There, she exchanged mailing information and was eventually put into contact with my father who was studying in a Medical school in Kirksville, Missouri. My dad, not knowing one word of Spanish, and my mom, not knowing one word of English, wrote letters to each other copiously studying the translation dictionaries they each bought for the sake of their communication. With the once-a-week international phone call they exchanged every Friday, they sent letters to-and-fro falling in love with the personalities they projected in the sounds of their voices and words in their letters. After eight months, my father bought a ticket to Argentina to meet my mother face-to-face for the first time. With a packed luggage and sack of bagels, my dad came off the plane with my mother ready to greet him. From there, my dad stayed in my mother’s apartment for nine days as they spent the week and two days exploring the area. At the end of his stay, he gave her a photo with a note written on the back saying, “Silvy, I have just spent the happiest days of my life with you. You are to take care of this picture as we will take care of each other for the rest of our lives. I love you. Te Amo. Te Quiero. Te Adoro. Kisses, Howie.” After those nine days, they both knew they were soul mates.
If there had been facetime, texting, or instant messaging, the sincerity and insanity of this love story would not nearly be as astronomical. This breathtaking tale would have been tainted with a swipe right on tinder or an Instagram direct message if my parents were to have met in 2018. My parents had no choice but to present themselves as who they were. There were no Facebook profiles or Instagram bios to hide behind. Today, I feel that technology impedes our ability to relate to people based on authentic connection, however, I feel that the technological advances of our time greatly aid in overall communication.
My childhood is strongly associated with the forms of the technology of that time. Thinking about the Leapsters, the flip phones, the voice-activated password journals, and all other devices of the early 2000’s throws my mind into a cloud of nostalgia. I reminisce about my daily elementary school life as I remember safely placing all of my finger paintings, stories, and sticker journals in the Manilla Folders I so greatly cherished. The folders were the old iCloud as the most prized and valuable documents of my elementary school career was stored in that folded cream-colored paper.
Even though I am living and thriving in the digitalized present-day, I still crave doses of wirelessness and freedom. There is a lingering pressure that forces us to constantly stay connected as our eyes are glued to our cell-phone and computer screens. However, sometimes I would prefer to be unchained from the touchscreens and wifi networks, as I wish I could live in a simpler time; a time in which people did not hyperfocus on the pictures we posted on the videos we shared on social media. Although, I could not be more grateful for the advances that we have today. Through the media sites, messaging apps, and calling apps, I can be instantly in-touch with my relatives and friends that live in Brazil and Argentina. In addition, being a college student and going to a university has physically disconnected me from my friends in New Jersey, so having applications that allow me to communicate with them is a privilege that my parents did not have when they were my age.
As I use technology every day in college, I would consider my technological literacy to be quite proficient, however, I was not always this way. As a child, I feared computers. I was scared of the buttons, the keys, the digital sites, and anything you could click. In contrast to the present day, I do not think I could last a day without my iPhone or computer. My calendar, my class and homework information, and my communication systems are all linked to my portable devices. In addition, a large number of educational documents and assignments are given on the internet or through class websites. In my opinion, technology has revolutionized education to make it more accessible and efficient for the general public, however, the outrageous prices of these devices created a visible division in our society.
As technology aids in the overall connectivity and togetherness of the globe, I am pleased to be living in such a modernized and digitally advanced world. While I still wish to have lived in a wireless time, I am content and grateful to have access to these advances.