Sunday, March 3, 2013

one way to disconnect

It's Sunday in Paris, and you know what that means... not much. There are things to do though! Quite a few museums and monuments are free, for instance, because it's the first Sunday of the month (oh hello, March). Brunch is always an option, too. This morning, I met Amy at 3 Pièces Cuisine. At only 11 each, we devoured a pain au chocolat, orange juice, noisette, salmon tartine, salad, and a piece of berry cake with whipped cream. Delicious, cheap, and followed by a stroll around our neighborhood to savor "spring's" sunshine--what a lovely morning. It's too bad I've been inside researching for a midterm project ever since.

I don't wish to complain about my scholarly responsibilities though. Instead, I'd like to discuss how being a student and residing in Paris have completely transformed my relationship with technology. While living in New York, I made it a point to turn off automatic updates and iPhone notifications, to read real books on the subway, and to not listen to my iPod on the walk home. I fully intended to maintain these unplugging "rules" in Paris. What I wasn't expecting was to use a Nokia cell phone from the 90's nor rent a wi-fi-less apartment.
But for however "inconvenient" my current situation may seem, I appreciate it. Being a little less connected helped me to hone in on those forgotten student skills and it certainly promotes doing one thing at a time. Believe it or not, "heavy multitaskers actually have more trouble focusing and shutting out irrelevant information, scientists say, and they experience more stress," as Matt Richtel wrote in a Your Brain on Computers article. More evidence can be found in Nicholas Carr's The Shallows; I just read it for a class.
Personally though, my primary concern is not how "social media is ruining our minds", but how much not being on social media, my cell phone, nor my computer encourages me to simply engage in the real world--to make friends over coffee (or tea), to wander through markets and into gardens, to truly experience Paris and beyond. The first and third photo, for instance, were taken on a quiet weekend morning in Versailles. In other news :) I hope you all have a wonderful week up ahead. I'll be very busy with grad school, but spring break begins Friday afternoon. I can hardly wait to share the adventures I have planned for it.

9 comments:

  1. So many food terms that I don't know! Clearly I need some brushing up. I like that you mentioned not listening to music while walking. I don't think I ever do that because I don't want to shut the rest of the world out. It's intimidating to spontaneously greet someone if they're not completely there so I try not to do it to others. :)

    I do find myself being consumed these days by social media, emails, and the like. I'm gradually developing more of a schedule and disconnecting myself, but everything is happening so fast and it's all new in terms of being in my life. I'll find a way to even everything out while maintaining my sanity. Thanks, Danielle!

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    1. Ha, becoming familiar with "food terms" is a tasty process :) enjoy.

      I feel the same way about not wanting to "shut the rest of the world out." Good luck finding a balance that works for you!

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  2. I also had a $20 Nokia phone and no wifi in my apartment when abroad in Kenya- I totally agree! Makes your time a lot more purposeful. I need to practice that more in my highly wired NY life.

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    1. Yes, yes, I remember talking about this when you and Leslie were here. It's pretty darn difficult to self-impose these kinds of restrictions, but good luck. If anyone can do it, you can :)

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  3. Great post! I was in a similar situation in Paris and it was so good for me. I'm naturally inclined to hibernate with my computer and phone but feel so much better when I'm forced to interact and live in the moment.

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  4. I'm jealous of your Nokia! Sometimes I wish I didn't have an iphone! Makes me feel like I'm never 'present' and distracts me from enjoying the moment. Our Sunday ritual is a running the dog around the Tuileries and then take away hot chocolates from Angelina, mmmmm! St-Germain-en-Laye is also a nice Sunday get away! Highly recommended!

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    1. I know what you mean; it's tough to self-impose. Your Sunday rituals sound wonderful though! I'm going to have to look into St-Germain-en-Laye.

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