Tuesday morning I went to music class, per our developing routine here at Nazare. Right before leaving the main house for the classroom further back in Nazare’s complex of buildings, I checked my phone battery—100%—unplugged it from the wall and plopped it back on my bed. It wasn’t much use to me since there’s not currently WiFi –though fingers crossed it might be coming—and I was going to teach a class. So probably not a good idea to be playing on my phone. Its only use would be pictures and I didn’t feel I knew the kids well enough to whipping it out for that early in my first week here. (I didn’t know then that the first time they spotted my phone they would be asking for pictures and to post them on facebook. But hey, I’m just learning.)
I returned after our morning music classes and English-Portuguese class to find my phone missing from its spot where I left it. Very peculiar. After a thorough search and my increasing sense that I was going crazy because I SWORE I left it right there—on my bed fully charged—we headed out for our routine afternoon walk to the Pousada for some internets. I figured the phone had to be misplaced and would turn up. Turns out I was wrong. We all were and a separate story tells of my Saturday with the Pocone police after Ethan and Julie tracked down two unfortunate but fully responsible young men who decided to steal from the gringos. Didn’t they know, as Seth said, our technology has magic in it? But that’s another story.
My phone was missing. I felt like it was my lost puppy. Somewhere out there, all alone in the wilderness….slowing draining of battery. Soon lost to my efforts to track it with Apple’s finder system, enlisted too late to be of use.
I was unduly sad. The extension of my hand for the last two years: missing. Gone from my side, my pocket, my bed, and backpack. Even though it wasn’t very useful in Brazil when disconnected from WiFi—I missed it. I missed the snapchats when we stopped by Mada’s house or walked to the Pousada. I had to resist the auto movement to check said pockets for the phone that wasn’t there. Mostly, I mourned the few pictures I had already collected from my first days in Brazil, arriving in Cuiaba, waiting in Cuiaba, driving down the Transpantaneira to Pocone. There weren’t many but they encompassed snapshots of my first memories here.
I did not know whether to go into mourning or keep the hope alive. I should have mourned. If I had know the taker had plans to send it to Cuiaba I would have. Thankfully, I didn’t not hope in vain.
I kept an increasingly dim hope, more of a trust or assumption, that my phone would turn up. I tried not to be bitter, but some bitterness inevitably crept up. Where was my phone?? And whenever something else was briefly lost “Oh it’s probably with my phone.” Straight face. Laughing…kind of.
Poor lost puppy.
Meanwhile, I got used to—well, accustomed—to the now necessary request to borrow a phone or laptop to get in touch with my world. Facebook, email, twitter, etc. There was less of it but I couldn’t–or chose not to–go without given the option to have access.
I didn’t even go a week before the phone was found. It seemed like a long week. On Saturday Ethan rode up and said he had exciting news for me. My phone was found. I was pumped to get it back. Unfortunately, it’s not the same. The takers wiped it ready to sell. An iCloud backup –thanks magic Apple—has put my close to back to normal but not quite there. My music won’t play. I’m hoping a hook up to iTunes back at home will do the trick there. My apps need to re-download. All of them via poor internet connection. That might take the rest of the trip. Thankfully, facebook auto-sync (which I almost turned off) saved all or most of my first photos. I’m most grateful for the pictures.
What though if I chose to go a week, maybe more, without connecting. With the option open quite frequently and life, responsibilities, people I miss on the other end of the internet, why? Perhaps, a test of my own will power. An experiment? like the garlic Ethan and Chris tried to kill the fungus on Gregg’s back with…that didn’t go too well. (Warning: don’t but garlic paste on skins for 6 hours. It results in 2nd degree burns.) I thought I’d have less access being in a rural area of Brazil. However, Nazare just got an Ethernet cord and a router to give us WiFi is coming back from the Pantanal tomorrow. Plenty of access. If you don’t hear from me I decided to go offline for a bit. I haven’t decided yet.
Earlier today I couldn’t locate my phone. You think I’d learn. On my way to check the classroom from our afternoon lesson, I remembered the last place I stuck it. In my backpack in a pocket on the straps on our way back from Pousada. Returning to my room I found my backpack and my phone. Right where I left it.