A Week without a Laptop in Paris

As of today, I have officially survived an entire week without my laptop in Paris. Sounds intimidating, right? As a 21st century technophile, I couldn’t imagine not having my smartphone, my tablets and most importantly my laptop all connected to the hopefully fast internet right next to me when I am at home. I hate to admit how deeply addicted I am to checking social networks, but I honestly have formed the habit of waking up with the most up-to-date news from my friends and significant events from all over the globe. Unfortunately, ever since my laptop screen blacked out this past Sunday while I was finishing up a ten page long paper, I have not been able to turn it back on. Initially, I was genuinely shocked and could not believe this stroke of bad luck. It seemed like something that could only happen to others – not me! However, after I fruitlessly tried to turn it back on for what felt the millionth time, I finally began to accept the fact that my paper was gone and my laptop with it.

The reactions of my friends effortlessly summarized the “tragic” part of this unfortunate incident. Thanks to the internet, where I have stored all my introduction, outline and sources, I was able to rewrite the paper by pulling an all-nighter. However, the real challenge comes after the struggle to rewrite the paper: how am I going to deal with life without a laptop? How do I stay in contact with all my friends? And what should I do when I eat (besides watching episodes of shows or videos on YouTube)?

While having these thoughts, I started to realize how controlled and even manipulated my life has become with all these “necessary” activities online. And that’s when it started to dawn on me that I am in Paris – living without a laptop could be the worst or the best situation. It all depends on how you look at it and what you choose to do when you are laptop-less. I am hopelessly unable to concentrate on the act of eating itself thus I always watch something during the process of consuming a meal. With my laptop dead and gone, I replaced the activity of watching shows while eating with reading while eating, or simply asking friends to dine out together.

Voila! The result of this replacement is that I have successfully finished a huge book that I started a long time ago and am finally able to move on to a new one. Without a laptop to divert my attention, I have been able to read whenever the chance arises. It has simply reminded me of my initial motive to learn French and come to France – for the abundance of French art and literature. Also, being without a laptop has motivated me to shake off my lazy bones and go around Paris seeking out good cafes suitable for students to study after finishing a meal. In this way, I have discovered some cool places in Paris which I would have never set foot in by eating in front of my computer screen. Another difference I have found out about my life without a laptop was that it has filled me with the desire to go out and explore. With the possibility of surfing from one site to another or catching up with my favorite TV shows for entertainment gone, all I have wanted to do is to go visit museums, explore a place I’ve never been before, try to study or read in a new café or enjoy a good movie with some friends. And yes, I have tried doing all these activities and have felt more fulfilled than ever.

Looking back, I realize that I have probably settled into a routine where metro, school and dorm sum up my day. In this sense, losing my laptop could be a blessing in disguise: a reminder for me to revive my spirits and keep up my exploration of the city. Of course, I will also embrace the day when my laptop comes back to life. But until then, I choose to stay optimistic because no matter what happens, at least I still have Paris!

Exploring Paris

Galaries Lafayette Christmas Display

Musee des arts et metiers

Vicky Huang is a student at Colby-Sawyer College and an official API Student Blogger. Vicky is studying abroad with API in Paris, France.

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