No Service

No Service -Anastasia Niforos

I think communication has become way too easy these days, especially with the all-day access to our cell phones. Want to ask someone on a date? Just send a text. Want to show people where you are in real time? Just post a picture or video on your Snapchat story. Want people to know how you’re feeling without actually speaking to them? Just tweet about it. It’s almost as if we’re trapped in a bubble and we’ve forgotten how to communicate with the outside world. Technology is great, but it’s nice to step away from it and appreciate what’s right in front of us sometimes. I’ve been thinking about this while I’ve been on my study abroad trip. While in Northern Ireland there were times where I lost communication with the outside world and it opened my eyes to a whole new one.

As we toured Northern Ireland there were many times when my phone lost service and I wasn’t able to show my world where I was in real time. I have to admit, at first it was weird. I kept checking my phone to see if I was getting any notifications, but then I had to remind myself that I had no service. On our second day of the Shamrocker tour, we stopped in a tiny town known as a Ballintoy. It was so small that driving through it from start to finish would be as long as a Snapchat story. We stayed in a hostel with four to a room. There was no service and even though we had wifi, it wasn’t great. I was cooped up in a small town with no service for the night and it took a second to get used to. I wouldn’t have changed this new experience for anything in the world though because it showed me what I missing out on when I wasn’t worried about my phone.

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A group of us ended up going to Ballintoy Harbour before going to the only pub in town. A few friends of mine had gone before dinner and said it was a must-see. It was about a 20-minute walk to the harbor and as we made our way there we observed everything around us. The vast ocean ahead, the cornfields to our left and right and the smell of manure. It wasn’t anything I would experience on a regular day, but it made for a new appreciation. As we walked we all cracked jokes and pointed out the differences between this tiny town and the big cities we had been traveling to. It was nice to talk and laugh. No one was on their phones because we were so engaged in our conversations. We all knew there wasn’t any service, but we didn’t care. We were taking in this place that was unfamiliar to us.

We eventually arrived and I couldn’t believe what I was looking at. Massive rocks surrounded the Harbour, some covered in bright green grass and others a dark black color. There was a pile that was compacted together and we saw that people were climbing and walking along the rocks. We decided to do the same. We had to climb on one rock and walk across a wall of concrete to get to the others. It was surrounded by water and as I walked across I could feel the mist from the waves hit my face. Climbing on the rocks was difficult but man was it a blast. I slipped a few times on the grass and fell on my butt. Many of my friends did the same and every time this happened we all fell down from laughter. Eventually, we made it to the top of this rock that was covered in grass and small white and yellow flowers. The grass was a vibrant green and soft. Everything smelled so fresh like I was in a rainforest full of exotic trees and plants. As I looked out into the ocean I thought about how lucky I was to be seeing this with my own eyes.

We all stayed on the same rock for about an hour. The entire time we were talking and laughing. We covered a variety of topics and I was so absorbed in the moment that I forgot about my phone. The only time I took it out was to take pictures. The funny thing was we actually had great service by the Harbour, but it didn’t matter. We were enjoying the moment and making memories. We ended up staying until sunset and we all sat on the rocks and looked out into the vast open area. It felt so good to bond with people that I had only known for two and half weeks. We were communicating face-to-face and enjoying each other’s company. I never wanted to leave, but eventually, we had to go. As we walked back I took one last look at the amazing view in front of me and took it all in.

This one moment showed me how much the world has changed because of technology. Cell phones have allowed people to mass communicate but it has taken away physically communicating with someone in person. Going to a small town in Northern Ireland was almost a wake-up call. It showed me that what is right in front of me is more important to see with the eye rather than posting all over the internet. It also exhibited that talking and laughing in person feels so good.

This experienced was like no other and I set aside one form of communication to communicate in another way. Not having that constant reminder of notifications on my phone took some weight off my shoulders. I wasn’t thinking about who was texting me or who posted what on their Instagram. I was taking in the world around me and listening to the voices of my friends as they spoke. To me, this brought on a whole new form of mass communication because I set aside the technology and went back to having conversations face-to-face with people that I enjoy. I wouldn’t change those moments for anything in the world, because it showed that connections in person are a lot better than anything over a screen.

 

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