This morning, something amazing happened to me: the internet.
I know you’re probably thinking, “Silly Ann. Tsk, tsk. Why, I’ve been reading your blog posts since you arrived in Malaysia, and you’ve been there for at least eleventy days now. Surely you’ve had internet, because how else would I have been able to read about eating chicken packed in mud?”
Oh, we did, but we also didn’t. A few days after we arrived in Kuala Lumpur, the hubby and I bought an internet “stick,” or what is more commonly referred to in the U.S. as a wireless 3G card. I don’t know what we were expecting this 3G card to provide us. I think part of it was that there was some sort of promotion going on for this stick, loud music was being played, there were blue balloons everywhere, it was hot as blazes outside and we just sort of…buckled. I guess we didn’t really think about the fact that a wireless 3G card is just like what powers the internet on your iPhone, minus one whole G. Now, I’m no internet whiz kid, but something inside me just thinks that whatever powers the iPhone, less that one G, cannot possibly power both my Mac and the hubby’s tiny Netbook, and let us Skype and blog and do all the fantastically wonderful things that the internet allows me to do, like figure out why Kanye West is such an angry little rapper.
Anyway, it didn’t take long for both of us to figure out that using one tiny stick to be our sole source of that wide world of web was just not going to be enough, and so we did something about it.
More, after the jump.
The little tiny miracle box in our living room, along with a batik and a ceramic pot I’ve purchased here.
Two weeks ago, we applied for internet service that, from what we can tell, is the equivalent of DSL, though they call it high-speed broadband here in Malaysia. Even the people who sold us the stick told us they had high speed broadband. As the hubby says it, “It was more like we were traveling on the Information Dirt Road.”
So, fourteen days passed, and we were still patiently waiting for our service to be installed, having abandoned most of the internet as “too fancy.” Take, for example, You Tube. Friends and family were sending me all sorts of e-mails with tantalizing subject headings such as “You have GOT to see this — sooo funny (and makes me miss you)!!!” and, heartbreakingly, I’d have no idea what it was that made them think so. I pray that it rises above the level of something like a kitten getting stuck in a jar of peanut butter, but who knows.
Anyway, this morning, I received a phone call from a man who sounded a bit muffled, but I managed to hear him say, “Internet.”
“Oh yes,” I responded breathlessly. “Please sir, give us some more internet.” I heard him say something else, muffled again, but it didn’t matter. We were getting internet today, the sun was shining, and I’d had a really delicious green tea mooncake for breakfast.
Thirty minutes later, the doorbell rang. It was Rosli, our friendly neighborhood internet installer person, and as he gestured towards our home telephone line, I realized that the muffled sound I’d heard was actually Malay, for Rosli spoke little English.
Now, I have no expectations that, as a foreigner here in Malaysia, anyone should speak English to me. The fact that most everyone here in Kuala Lumpur does is a blessing, and it’s made our transition here incredibly smooth. But, of course, fate and Murphy’s Law would have it that the one person in Kuala Lumpur who spoke the least English of all the Malaysians we’ve met so far be Rosli, who needed to explain to me the technical aspects required to install our internet. For example, just try pantomiming, “What’s my bandwidth speed here?”
Two hours later, five computers and about 30 feet of wires were splayed across our living room. Rosli and I were furiously typing away at each other’s respective keyboards trying to find words, any words, in common to communicate. He wanted me to give him a username and password, and I wanted him to make it so that I could watch Jacques Pepin online. We both wanted the same thing: for this insanity to end. Finally, Rosli turned my computer towards me, saying three simple letters: CNN.
And there it was — news from my homeland, streaming into our living room. I turned to Rosli, and the expression of pure joy and relief on his face mirrored mine. We hugged, and I wished him a happy Hari Raya. Then we turned back to watch the video. President Obama was speaking about health care reform.
“I like Obama,” said Rosli.
“Me, too, Rosli,” I replied. “Me, too.”