United States to United Kingdom: The Virtual Experience

We’ve all used Skype and many users find it increasingly effective. Not only individual users who use it to call others, their families or people overseas but also companies, firms and businesses who use it for conference calls. In my case, I use Skype to call my family across India and my friends in England. It is great. Super! It would be difficult to keep socializing across continents without Skype. I wouldn’t have had the chance to celebrate my Cousin’s wife’s birthday without it. I wouldn’t have had the chance to talk to my Red-headed friend about ages, school, the future or our favorite TV show of the year. Skype has done good for many people and some rely more on it than others. This is an account of how Skype allowed me to reconnect with old friends and helped me get done formal procedures across continents.

The other night I was well in my dream world, lying calmly on my bed and realized that my life is really calm. Don’t get me wrong. I love  my life and I am very grateful to a lot of people for how I turned out to be and where fate has led me. Since I moved to United States it has been one life coaching session after another. The knowledge that one has to have to survive and succeed in US- the legal proceedings of application for an International Student Status, the ever so confusing and, might I add, brilliant social security and credit systems and the evolved definition of basic needs in US- is essential as it helps you nurture your personal and professional lives and all other spheres of life. But as you make your way through this meticulous system of legal, social and professional proceedings you arrive at a stage where you are settled in in a magnificent place and the system that surrounds you and are ready to live your lives. I was well versed with all that was happening around me and I was proud of the knowledge I had amassed in the short time that I have been here. With integrated technology and all this valid, and up-to-date information, I was able to achieve some of the tasks set to me easier than I thought I could. Two instances where technology helped me enhance or satisfy my  personal or professional needs is evident in the rest of the paragraphs.

When you move places, move countries even, you always carry your culture, knowledge and responsibilities to the place where you go. You do not and can not simply leave behind what once you called your own. My cousin, who is farther driven by technology than I am, helped me out in a situation I encountered here. I needed some extra legal documentation for institutional purposes and I wanted to relay all the information to my cousin back home without having to worry about lag in communication saving both us time. Skype made it possible. I could relay all the information to him, give him specific cautions and instructions so that the task I had set him was carried out effectively. We discussed work, weather, family and experiences. I found, with the help of Skype I had been able to communicate better, taking my time and not having to worry about costs, and experienced this method way more effective than a phone call could have been. Following that Skype session we engaged in a virtual conversation several times after and I also celebrated his wife’s birthday, thanks to Skype. You are at home, your friends and family are there and there’s a picture of a man on a laptop grinning madly at you just as you’re cutting the birthday cake; sure, I think that was a good experience. But the important thing is, however silly it may have seemed, Skype made it possible for me to engage in social activity over the seven seas. It may seem like a little thing but I believe little things matter. Little things like telling a friend that the world hasn’t come to an end because she thinks she has ringworm. Little things like getting yelled at my your second cousin for not liking a brand of perfume she prefers. Little things matter.

My Red-headed friend, who lives in England, has been a friend for the best of the last 4 years and she, I believe, is wonderful. It is a joy to speak to her or IM her and I always look for opportunities to talk to her. Once I told her I was in United States and that beginning my professional life her she was thrilled. More thrilled than I was, I suppose. We IM each other a lot and she updates me with her weekly routine and vice versa. One afternoon, considering the timezone difference between California and London, I suggested that we Skype. We both signed in and it was a delight to be able to see and speak to her. We spoke for the first few minutes and she complained that I had murdered my English accent and i had gotten to American. Count on her to criticize me for slandering my preferred mode of communication. It was amazing, though. We had, quite literally, ‘seen’ and ‘spoken’ to each other after years. We had a good time in that Skype session. We laughed about our school times and kept marveling about being awarded the connotation ‘Most likely to take over the world’ in our school yearbook. We joked about Zombie Apocalypse and World Domination through Starbucks.

We’ve Skyped each other a couple times after that first time and I encouraged her to bring along some of our mutual friends on our next Skype session for my benefit. Thanks to Skype, nostalgia bites at my soul less often than it used to. If I’ve learnt anything from this experience its this: You make friends all over the world and thanks to the technology in the 21st century it’s easier to hold on to them for as long as you live. I consider this as a boon and I hope I get to hold on to my memories and my people from across the world through Skype and other such technological marvels.

I haven’t mentioned names in this blog post for privacy reasons. The people who I talk about in this blog are people close to me and I’d like their identities to be a secret. To the people I’ve mentioned in this post, you know who you are.

Signing off.  -Ab



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