What's it Like Living Without WiFi?

I lived without WiFi for almost three months when I first moved to Shanghai.  Obviously it’s not easy, but it’s doable.  I would definitely not want to go through it again.  Here is a little of what living without Wi-Fi at home looks like.

You’re bored.

….  It’s bound to happen.  I would easily get bored because I didn’t want to use up all of my data—on both phones.  What am I going to do without access to Netflix, Drama Fever, YouTube…the world?! 


Not over sleep.  But actually have a full night’s sleep.  You know the eight hours the doctor says we should actually have.  (Instead of squeezing 10 into 4.)  Well I got plenty of that; which meant that since I went to bed early, I naturally got up early—6:00 a.m. kind of early.

Early enough for breakfast.

Instead of caffenate and run, I actually ate breakfast.  My office offers a regular breakfast menu from 8:00 to 8:45 a.m.  So, I came in just in time for breakfast, or on other mornings, used the time to have breakfast in the comforts of home.

Work gets done early.

This may or may not be a result of no WiFi, but getting to work early allows me to organize my day really well.  Lesson plans are written and reports are sent in a snap, leaving endless time.  How do I fill the time?  Inhale as much media as I can on an “extended lunch”.  Shh.

Extra time is wander time.

I came to learn my apartment surroundings really well.  I got plenty of exercise wandering around blocks in circles.  The first few times, I definitely got lost.  (Still kind of do sometimes.)  I know nearby parks, restaurants and shopping plazas.  Even know the neighborhood cats.

Weekends are WiFi hunting time.

Without access to work internet, I’m stuck with finding prime WiFi locations close to my apartment.  Usually this ends up being a café, Starbucks, or another restaurant.  I arrive early—midday because most places do not open until 10:00 a.m. on the weekends—and claim a spot.  I aim for a booth because I need space not for just watching shows, but actually doing other work such studying and photo-editing.

Time is dictated by location.

I have to get as much done as possible when connected because there are few 24 hour locations (actually none by me).  Most places close by 11:00 p.m. or 2:00 a.m., if it is a bar.  It’s a race against the clock and I must win before returning to my quiet solitude.  At most I’ve spent six hours in one spot.  They just keep the coffee coming.

You meet people.

Random people too because they want to know why you’re sitting alone for so long.  What are you doing?  Many want to practice their English because I’m generally the only foreigner in the place, especially waiters.  The human interaction is unavoidable because you stepped outside.

You’re a public introvert.

That’s what you’re recognized as.  You get dressed every day with no luxury of pajama- Saturdays.  I dressed up to literally go across the street, and I’m only carrying my laptop but so far.  I came in by myself and left by myself.  On numerous occasions, the waiters and baristas (except at Starbucks) would ask, “Just one?”  I got used to replying, “Yes, just one,” without feeling weird.  I came for the WiFi.  And food.

Then return to quiet.

And in the quiet, I would write, read, or continue to edit. 

This cycle was on repeat until the internet was installed.  But I have to admit that honestly it wasn’t that bad.  I wouldn’t have updated my reading list, caught up on much needed sleep, know many great food places without having no WiFi, and be friends with the general manager of one of my favorite restaurants here.  But I don’t want to go through that again.

#lifestyle #storytime

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