I have come a long way baby …
Technology challenged, as my daughters enjoy pointing out, I have come a long way baby … remember my story of that little tiny drawer with that little tiny card that I had to ask people, strangers, to open and close for me while I prayed all my data would not be lost (I know I’m laughing now too) well I have mastered it. I can open the tiny drawer, I magivered a tiny tool to poke into that tiny hole, take out the tiny card and insert another in its place. As the world seems to be turning for me these first few months of my journey, nothing has been easy! Starting with the no go chip in Costa Rica, no idea why, no explanation from any one person who might have had access to the critical piece of information I was missing. I simply let it go and carried on with wifi and all the free services like Skype for example (I can call or video conference with anyone in the world for free, not a penny), TextNow another absolutely free app that allows me to text anyone anywhere for free, Facebook messenger, as I am sure every reader uses, but did you know you can video conference with the click of a button in the right hand corner, I literally found this out by accidentally clicking it and before I knew it my daughters face was on the screen, usually how I figure technology out, by mistake!
I wanted to give the chip card another try because, as promised, wifi is not available in my cabana so my super host Vianco brought me a chip she had at home along with two children’s notebooks because I had literally written on every blank piece of paper I had. Continually switching back and forth from old fashioned pen and paper to pecking it out on my small hand held device, both slowing my capacity to a 🐌 pace. Now with the promise of wifi thwarted in my cabana I have to be in the common area to write sometimes not the ideal place to work through my thoughts.
I insert the chip excitedly; only to receive that familiar message “phone card not activated”. Monday I spent the day in Bocas town and on the advice of the owner, Jelle, bought a particular type of phone card but not before I navigated my way to the post boxes hoping with all my might that my laptop was sitting there waiting for me even though Jelle knew it wasn’t my persistence was raging, maybe just maybe the universe was on my side, just for today! Nope.
Jelle picks me up several hours later and I show him the card to ensure I have the right one, indeed I do have the right one: did you get a card with credit as well, nope I didn’t know that, he runs and grabs a card. Phone cards here are ridiculously cheap, $7.50 for everything and they say it lasts you for a month. We are set, I am smiling inside on the boat ride home believing that this was the ticket, this was going to allow me calls and data. Call access in case of any emergency, wifi and data so I can write in private. I wait for an opportunity to ask for assistance with the phone card but I can clearly see today is not a good day, so I wait. Alone later that night in my cabana I give it a shot, I can figure things out, so I carefully take out my useless Telus card and insert the tmovil card, immediately my phone shifts off and the waiting rings are circling, looking good, asks for Apple ID and password, know it, feeling more and more accomplished by the minute. Excitement welling up inside me … you must be connected to wifi or data to continue … I simply put my phone down and crawled into bed.
The following morning my determination raging 😤 as soon as I hit the wifi signal my phone buzzes to life, my excitement returning.
“SIM card not authenticated”
FUCK fuck double fucking fuck
I resort to google; my generation keeps me from it being my first go to, I always just ask but in this case I was on my own, no one to ask, and I had the determination I needed to figure it out. I learned a plethora of things, first and foremost, that critical piece of information I referred to earlier that no one seemed to offer along the way; you have to make sure your phone is unlocked by your carrier. What does this even mean? I confer with google further … if you buy your phone from a carrier and not directly from, say Apple they have the right to lock your phone which simply means you cannot use the device with any other carrier, all the SIM cards I was trying to use would be part if that lot. Alright with this vital piece of information in hand, I wondered how to tell if my phone is locked, clearly suspecting my phone is on lockdown but I dig a little deeper. According to google many ways but first you need to know your IMEI number, what is a IMEI number and how do you get it, more research. It turns out it’s quite simple if you can make a call on your phone *#06# a little more work going through the back door, a little trickier but something I have become quite good at since entering password / authentication hell. See in order to confirm “you are who you are” you either get a text or a phone call to the number you originally used to sign up with, not an option since I cancelled my plan before leaving the country leaving me without this simple option and leaving me with backdoors and open windows as my only way in.
I finally come up with the IMEI number, now what? Back to google.
Another set of instructions lead me through my settings tab to see if my phone was in fact locked, I follow step by step until it instructs me to tap a menu item and it will tell you if your phone is locked only I don’t have that particular menu item. Back to google again. I see more instructions, more suggestions follow them all the way through to eventually hit another roadblock. Hours of research and I still don’t know if my phone is locked but I’m going to assume it is, I decide to go back to my original and much more comfortable game plan and I ask. I fire off an email to Telus but my impatience is in the lead and I want this resolved NOW so I call. Surprisingly after a relatively short wait and someone is on the line. I explain my situation to her, is my phone locked? yes absolutely, can Telus unlock it?no absolutely not, can I get my old number back? absolutely not, she went on to tell me I could try and get my old number if I went into Telus and bought a SIM card and requested my number but it’s still on hold so maybe just keep trying, the number will be released on March 27th so maybe better luck then but if someone grabs it before you blah blah blah. I thank her, hang up the phone and swear out loud! How can something that seems so simple be so impossible?
I feel the frustration starting in my toes and rising up my legs through my torso and into my chest sliding by my throad and into my face, reddening with anger and poof out through the top of my head. I feel like I can’t catch a break. Ever since I wrote “roadblock” it’s been a series of roadblocks.
I give up! I settle with the fact that I am simply going to have to get by with wifi which normally is just fine for me but under the circumstances being a 25 minute boat ride away from Bocas Town and an unpredictable host my only resource. I was beginning to believe having a functioning phone to call out on was imperative.
I let it go and went back to trust, the more I tried the more it didn’t work. I took all the numbers I might need in an emergency added them to my notebook and crossed my fingers. No matter what I not leaving until I get my laptop. I read, I wrote, I practice yoga and meditation every day, I try to stay in the moment, I cry a little inside knowing I can’t control any of it no matter how desperately I try.
As soon as I let go …
An email pops up from Telus customer care responding to my email I sent off before calling and to my surprise it’s full of options, full of hope, full of affirmation that indeed something can be done. I respond immediately, three emails later I have my old cell number back on a $35 a month plan, free incoming texts anywhere in the world, this will help with the authentication nightmare I am going to go through upon receipt of my laptop and signing into all the programs from a new device. He unlocked my phone allowing me to use phone cards from other providers, John another angel sent from above!
From Today, as I finish writing this post I am happily inside my cabana connected to data which means I can write in comfort of my own space along with the piece of mind knowing I can make a call if ever I need! Whew.
It is many days since the ending of this post along with many hurdles, detours and roadblocks. The wonderful thought of having wifi in my cabina was very short lived, it lasted one evening and I was back to writing in the communal areas with sketchy, limited wifi.
So as of today, I am still getting by using only wifi. My laptop arrived on Wednesday and since then it has been a whirlwind, not much writing, an experience that has allowed me to clear out some of the weight I have been carrying around for 50 years, more drama, a change in location, lots of exploring and fun with some new friends and now finally a place that I can call home for the next 10 days and writing heaven!
Read on for the many adventures!