I’ve been in Brunei for two weeks, and so far it’s great. It’s amazing to be with the engineer again, the weather has been fantastic, the town is small enough that I pretty much know my way around already. The only thing lacking is an internet connection. The engineer tried to sign up for internet over a month ago, and was told that they were out of modems, and they wouldn’t be in stock again for a month. A week ago, he got a call saying he needed to come into the office. Unfortunately, his visit was not to pick up a modem, just to pay them some money. And still we wait for the modem, with no real idea as to when it might arrive.
So in the meantime, I am settling in and learning this new place without the help of the internet. From my research before I left, this might not actually be much of a disadvantage (a lot of stuff in Kuala Belait is not found on the internet), but for someone very used to being connected, it’s disconcerting. I miss my people at home, I miss being able to google “how to cook okra” and “best coffee in Kuala Belait”, and I definitely miss being able to google maps my way around town.
But at the same time, I’ve actually enjoyed the forced break from technology. I like just exploring and trying things out. I like having to get out of the house to work things out. I even sort of like the search for the perfect wifi spot (insider tip: the Coffee Bean Tea Leaf at Seaview Resort is a surefire contender).
And during this break, I’ve learned some things:
- Local people are even better than google. Sometimes I’m nervous to ask people things, but when I have, I’ve had some great answers.
- I am subscribed to a lot of things I don’t actually care very much about. When I get access to my email, I spend a fair bit of time deleting the things I can’t really be bothered reading.
- Having no internet is especially difficult when you don’t have a phone. Connecting my cell phone meant an hour long wait. I nearly gave up, but the fact that without connecting it I had no way to contact the engineer gave me the patience to push through.
- Life without connected devices is nice. Board games are fun. The internet tends to drag me away from the people I love sometimes.
- Random exploration without a plan can lead to great things. Like last week when we drove around with no plan finding a place to take photos, and stumbled across a great path, with amazing views of the mosque.
- As much as I talk up this break from technology, I actually really like the internet!
So far, I’m managing well. I am looking forward to the day we’re connected again, but in the meantime, it’s manageable. I am getting good at using an hour pretty well, writing blog posts ahead of time, and making sure my time is not wasted. I’m making myself a nuisance at the coffee shops around town (thanks Marilyn’s and Coffee Bean Tea Leaf), and learning what drinks are the best value for money. And who knows, maybe I’ll even meet some people while I’m out there!