Friday, 22 June 2012

My Week "Unplugged"

I am happy to say that I have survived my week of unplugging! In order to prevent myself from cheating I actually gave my laptop and my cell phone to my Nan and told her to hide them from me. I was very relieved to have given up my technology. It was as if a weight had fallen off of my shoulders, but despite the freedom, it wasn't all easy.

The first couple of days were the hardest. I kept thinking of Facebook and Instagram, if anyone had messaged me and all of the updates I was missing out on, the lack of communication with the "outside world". Those thoughts never left my mind the entire week; I would literally daydream about being able to get back online after the week was up and see how everyone was doing. Ialso  realized how much of a clutch my cell phone can be; it can be a comfort on a bad day or something to occupy me if I'm bored. There were times where I literally felt lost and didn't know what to do with my time. I constantly thought of things to research on Google and words I needed to look up on, which are two things I do quite often, as well as checking out my favourite blogs and watching videos on YouTube. I watched a lot of TV that week, which I felt defeated the purpose of giving up my laptop and phone in the first place, but it was usually in those moments where I felt I really couldn't handle it.

One of my goals for this week was to read more and just be still, instead of constantly checking my phone where something new is happening all the time. I remember on the first day, sitting down and forcing myself to read a book. Reading is not a chore for me at all, I love it, but that day it felt awful because I had a terrible time focusing, in fact for the first three or four days it was like my brain just did not want to cooperate, no matter if I was watching TV, reading a book, or having a conversation with someone face to face. It was incredibly frustrating! If anything I was expecting my focus to be even better on everything because I wouldn't have anything else on my mind. You know those days where you're just not "there"? That was me. No matter how hard I tried it didn't get better, then I realized that part of the reason I was having trouble focusing is because whether I realize it or not, I'm not used to focusing on one thing for long amounts of time. When I'm reading or watching TV I will still check my phone every five or ten minutes, or do other things around the house, and so my brain is used to taking little breaks. Also, how often do we multitask with our technology? Watching a movie and on Facebook, or listening to music while reading. Even now; as I'm writing this I'm listening to the news. I was never aware of this before and it's made me think about how we use our brains, and how we could be much more efficient if we only make a few changes. Any thoughts on this?

All in all, it was a tough but rewarding and eye opening week, and I do encourage that everyone try it at least for a day. I found that once the week was up I was excited to check everything, but then I found my tolerance for it was a lot shorter and I just wanted to be outside doing something else. I continued to not take my phone with me everywhere, and to not be online as often as before. I've since gotten back into the Instagram and Facebook frame of mind, but I'm trying not to let it consume my thoughts like it once did. Anyways, here are a few things I did during my "week off".

I spent a day with my cousin in downtown St. John's. We both love the downtown area, and like many of the same things such as history, art, etc., many of the things downtown has, and since he spends quite a bit of time there he showed me some of his favourite places. I didn't take many pictures outside as it was raining very heavily (we both got soaked!) but I had to take a picture of this, an old newspaper article taped to the window of an abandoned building. I love giant squids.

Then we went antiquing, which I had never done before! I managed to sneak a couple of pictures (with my camera, not my phone) as everything was just so beautiful. We both really liked these chairs. They were solid wood, great quality and some of the chairs which are not pictured had some intricate details carved in them. It's too bad a lot of the furniture made these days aren't as well built or as sturdy as these older chairs. It's also cool to imagine who they belonged to and the history behind them.

This antique store feels like an antique itself. This staircase leads to a third and possibly a fourth floor, but it was barred off, which was both sad and a little creepy - it made me want to explore it even more.

My cousin had a class at the university, so I went to the library for an hour and waited for him, then he helped me pick out a book. Given the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and all of the things we heard about Queen Elizabeth and Queen Victoria, the first and only other monarch to have celebrated a Diamond Jubilee, I was getting increasingly curious about Victoria and wanted to find out more about her. I found one of her journals so I took it out and am reading it right now. After that, we went to a place called Stogger's and had pizza. Very greasy, but very good.

We then paid a visit to The Rooms. They have an art gallery and other exhibitions, but we went there to look at the archives, where I dug into my family tree and found my great-grandfather, whom I have never heard anything about before. It was pretty cool.

The fog that day was crazy. This was the steeple of a church just next door.

And within minutes the fog moved somewhere else.

We paid a visit to The Newfoundland Chocolate Company, which is a fairly new business. A man and a woman started it in their basement, and now they have a new store which looks so cool inside, I wish I could have taken some pictures of it. Their chocolate is delicious! Each one is named after a town in Newfoundland, and the fillings are quite creative, with various nuts and fruits, including berries that are exclusive to Newfoundland. I don't usually go for fruits in chocolate, however what I liked about these were that the fruit centres weren't like a jam or a syrup, which I don't like, but rather little bits of the fruit mixed with a softer chocolate.

Aside from this day out on the town, I made some recipes for the first time, a couple of which are classics in my family.

Raisin Tea Buns

Cherry Cake. This is my Pop's favourite, so I made it for him for Father's Day.

I have also started on my garden! I have documented the process, but I think this post is long enough, so I will leave that for another post on another day :)

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