Sunday, January 22, 2012

Culture Shock or Technologically Challenged?

“Technologically challenged” is a term my children use to describe their father. It is the only area that I can think of right off hand where Roger IS challenged. He is adept and quick to pick up almost any and everything he tries to do, but even I have to admit that when it comes to technology, Rog is challenged……but only because he chooses to be.

He sees no need for most of the technology that we use these days. He HAS a cell phone, but has no numbers stored in it—they are recorded in his own memory. He is not embarrassed by this either; in fact he prefers it this way.
He realizes that the internet (via the computer) has it’s perks to look for equipment and material information he might need, but as long as he has me to actually sit down in front of the machine, punch the keys, move the mouse, and print off anything he finds pertinent, he is satisfied with the relevance of it. In actuality, he prefers just picking up the phone, and asking questions.

This is why when our children were considering what to get Dad for Christmas, and a Kindle was mentioned, we all shuddered at the possibility of what that would entail—in training.
Roger is a voracious reader. He wants a stack of books on his bedside table as much as he wants baked goods on the counter in the kitchen—trust me THAT is a MUST. Audrey and Nic were right in knowing that a Kindle would be perfect for a reader such as Roger.

The purchase was made, and it was presented. All eyes were on him when he opened the box. He grinned, and reacted just like his mother did when we presented her with her first microwave oven for she and Dicks 40th wedding anniversary—she grinned and looked at me and said, “I guess I will have to learn how to use one of these.”; which she did, every single day.

Audrey sat with Dad and showed him the buttons, explaining it in a language she hoped he would understand. That week while she was home, she helped, and explained, and we were sure he had it.

He is currently reading the three books I bought him for Christmas before I knew what the kids’ gift would be. The Kindle is on the bed side table. Don’t think he doesn’t like it, but Rog just simply doesn’t understand this “technology thing” enough yet to see all the pluses this can bring into his realm of entertainment; he hasn’t realized all the perks of the Kindle yet. He doesn’t realize that he can carry several books with him at once. He can play games, and do puzzles. We are talking a whole different culture for him.

This whole thing has made me realize that you don’t have to go to another county to experience another culture. There are lots of different cultures out there to be experienced right from your own armchair; some of them not the best. We extol the virtues of other cultures so much sometimes that we forget to extol the virtues of our own.

Moving into a new culture, learning the language, the customs, can be an exhausting thing, and not a little intimidating. But when it is necessary, and vital, we are able to do it. But it is nice to know that is some ways, we still have a choice as to wade in or not.

As we were watching “Lark Rise to Candleford“ last week, there was a line in the movie that struck a chord with me and I couldn’t help but look over at my husband. When our eyes met, we both grinned.

“It takes courage to move with the times, Alf.”

“What I’ve been taught sir, is that sometimes it takes courage to stand still.”

Roger and I are definitely modern and up to date in more ways than we would like sometimes, and we have never been ones to get too excited about “new and improved”. But the longer we tread the sod on this earth, we realize that sometimes there is a restfulness to letting the culture around us continue to develop while we stand still……..and rest.

So as I curl up with MY new Kindle I will rest in the knowledge that being culturally astute is a choice.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Lark Rise to Candleford

With the end of the year came a discovery, a new series that Roger and I have thoroughly enjoyed.

If you liked Anne of Green Gables, Pride and Prejudice, or Sense and Sensibility, you MUST try Lark Rise to Candleford.

"The series is set in the small Oxfordshire hamlet of Lark Rise and the wealthier neighbouring market town of Candleford towards the end of the 19th century. The series chronicles the daily lives of farm workers, craftsmen, and gentry, observing the characters in loving, boisterous, and competing communities of families, rivals, friends, and neighbours.

The narrative is seen through the eyes of a teenage girl, Laura Timmins as she leaves Lark Rise to start a new life under the wing of her cousin, the independent and effervescent Dorcas Lane, who is Post Mistress at the local Post Office in Candleford. Through these two characters, viewers experience the force of friendship as Laura and Dorcas see each other through the best and worst of times." (Wikpedia)

It is a period series put out by the BBC based on the books by Flora Thompson. It starts out reminiscent of the Green Gables series, but quickly reminds you of other English period pieces. You get to know each and every character in depth, and through circumstances that mirror so much of the world we live in today, only dealt with and handled with such grace and care that you find yourself sighing when it if over and anxious for the next in the series.

If you are finding it hard to imagine Roger enjoying what I have just described, (and I know he does because he has said so), trust me, he does. The conversational quality of the characters, the stress given to the importance of relationships and people, when times were economically hard for so many, and so people never even ventured to think about being wealthy because they knew they already were in friends and family, work and productivity. These are the things about this series that we have discussed as being soo refreshing.

When so much of what is referred to as entertainment is violent or irreverent, flippant and phoney, or “reality”—in the worst sense—these shows are a breath of fresh air. If you are not a fan of period pieces, and don’t like English accents, then close your eyes, and just listen. You will find yourself privy to conversations that you will want to be able to sit up and listen very carefully, and will be glad you did.

Lark Rise to Candleford……….take the trip, it is worth it.