Cling – 11th Jan Promp

[PHOTO: Taken at Bodnant Gardens sometime a couple of years ago.]

Cling – hold on to tightly.

People cling onto everything. We cling on to people, places, things, memories, dreams, and ideas. Some people cling less than others, some people like to live a very minimalist lifestyle and have no room for things that clutter up their life. Others are the opposite. Others are like me… I’m going to try and keep this blog separate from my “Getting lost in documentation….” post that I wrote way back in June, but, I feel I need to make some form of connection before I can move on… I cling to a lot. Not so much people, I’m not a person who needs to be attached at the hip to others at all times and cling to them and their every word, I’m much clingier to things… Back at the house (36) I have roughly 5 boxes full of “things”, bits and bobs and random crap. I cling to them and what they mean, what they represent, and I’m not very good at giving them up. Up until this summer I even had an old Sprite can in a bag, in a box with a really badly drawn love heart on it from high school. I have ticket stubs, old corks, my Emrys ap Iwan swipe cards, bookmarks, notes etc. etc. … all collecting dust and weighing down the rafters. I hold tightly to things that once upon a time meant something to me, whether it was something that made me smile in the middle of class (thinking here of a 2 inch piece of paper that Aysha threw at me one Chemistry class), or a token memento of a really good night… no matter how big or small it was, if it was even vaguely significant to me for more than 6 seconds, it’s probably in a box somewhere.

So, imagine my upset when the phone I’ve had for 3 or 4 years (it’s been with me through Hereford, Tempest, Suzhou, and half of Country Garden), started to fail me… first, it just slowed down. I could handle that, I’m a pretty patient person, rarely in a rush. Then, it was the calling abilities; 50% of the time, I couldn’t hear the person on the other end, or they couldn’t hear me. Next went the recording quality; in China I send a lot of voice clips, I use them for work and just normal chit-chat, but every 5 seconds it cut out. Then the storage was full, despite having all of my (thousands of) photos on my SD card and nothing actually on my phone. And last but not least, went my ability to use my mobile data, something which is pretty damn necessary in China.  So, basically my phone had become a photo-holding-Wi-Fi-bound useless device… that I still loved oh so much!!

I’m not the biggest fan of change, contradictory I know as I sit here in China planning my travel adventures, but I was resisting so hard against getting a new phone for a number of reasons:

  1. It costs a lot of money.
  2. There’s the whole China vs. the rest of the world issue.
  3. I have everything just where I want it on my old phone.
  4. I can’t be bothered to re-download everything all over again.
  5. This phone has literally been in my hand for years, its, shamefully, like an extension of my arm. And no one wants part of their arm cut off…

On Sunday morning however, I found myself in a bit of a predicament that really drove home the realisation that, I truly do need a new phone, I need a working phone. I found myself at 8am, somewhere in Guangzhou, no idea where, no idea how far from the nearest metro, and no idea how to get home. Here is where I’d usually have whipped out my phone, got onto my maps app, found out where I was, and directed myself to either the nearest metro, or got a taxi if it was way too far. As I pulled out my phone and stepped out onto the busy street, it dawned on me that none of that was possible. I stood there for a bit, looking around, and wondering what to do. I got up a picture of the metro map and walked up to a security guard. I showed him the pictures, shrugged my shoulders and gestured my hands around pointing up and down the street. He gave me some general directions and off I went. (Long story short, I had to ask 3 more people, and eventually a lovely lady and her teenage son guided me to the street I needed to walk down, I was home with a cuppa by 9.45am.)

Anyway, the tale of that story was that this is exactly the kind of situation that a working phone would have helped greatly! I’m going off to Japan, Korea and Thailand next week, and I’m not exactly as confident in those countries as I am here in China. I don’t want to find myself in a sticky situation without internet or calling abilities to help get myself out of it. So, this week, I took the plunge. With Kim [my friend and trusty translator] we headed on bus 125 to a town that only has mobile phone shops, literally, shop after shop after shop, all phones. After about 2 hours, I walked out with 3 new friends on WeChat, 1153rmb lighter, and a Samsung J5 in my bag.

I’ve been slowly moving my life over to this new phone for 3 days now, and honestly I’ve clung to that old trusty (not working) phone so hard. My lock screen, home wallpaper, WhatsApp background, WeChat background, folders, and lock pattern are all exactly the same as they were on my S4… You know what they say, if it’s not broke, don’t fix it… in this case, it was broke, so I replaced it, and duplicated my S4 life into the J5. Kim did have to stop me from buying the exact same phone again, that brand new S4 was crying out to me pretty hard, but I resisted.

Anyway, this isn’t the most exciting or thoughtful blogpost I’ve ever written. I’ve typed it up after my students presented in the assembly, and while I wait for my 6.30pm meeting. It passed the time, and let me woffle on for a bit. And hey, this is my blog, I’ll do what I want to…

My next few posts will definitely be on the more adventure filled and exciting side of things! (I bloody well hope so anyways). So, keep an eye out for my travel updates over the next month or so… 2 more days in work, 3 days in Country Garden, and then Tokyo, Seoul and Thailand here I come!!

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