My formative experience with technology or lack of technology happened when I was in China. My family and I were invited to go to China because my mom’s friend was a Spanish teacher at a college and the Chinese teacher invited all the language teachers to come on the trip. All the teachers with their own families were allowed to invite one other family to come and my mom’s friend chose my family to accompany her family.
When I was in ChinaI was expecting a lot of technological advancements similar to those I saw back home in the US. Well, that was quite the opposite. There was pollution everywhere and it felt like I was living in a different time period with how poor the conditions of living were. To start, when I was in Beijing, they did not have real toilets but rather just had a hole in the ground similar to a porta-potty but without the seat. Continuing, when I was at the Great Wall of China there were tons of Chinese people who had never seen Americans before because they did not have the technology to even Google search what Americans looked up. We were aliens to them and they were so excited. I took many pictures with the local people, but soon there were too many people who wanted pictures so I went back to our bus, but they tried getting in the bus to ask for pictures which was problematic. I remember clearly that I was the first person in my family to reach the top of the wall and there was a Chinese family who came up to me and did not want a picture of the Great Wall but just wanted a picture with me. At first, I did not know how to feel but looking back I still don’t know whether the feel happy for these people that they can be happy without much technology or if I should feel sorry for them that they were so happy to see me because they never had the technology to see anybody that wasn’t one of them before.
This experience made me feel much differently about how fortunate I am to be surrounded by all the technology I am exposed to. For one, I take for granted the technology to keep the air clean. My experience in China when everyone was wearing a mask to not breath in the air was hard on me because the people who live there are used to that which is a horrible thing. Also, the fact that they do not have clean bathrooms with real toilets was very upsetting to me because they have a hole in the ground which is not how people should live or ever be used to. Lastly, and most impactful to my life, my experience with taking pictures with the village people around the Great Wall who chose to take pictures with me, an American, over all the other people from different countries because they had never seen Americans before. This really touched me because I never thought that there could be such a lack of technology to the point where people from other places did not know what certain people look like and would never because they do not have the money or technology to explore outside where they were born. Overall, technology comes in many different forms and in different ways around the world, and we need to be thankful for the technology we have because some places do not have any.