Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a hibernating bear, wake up after a long winter and have no idea what happened while you were asleep? Or like Han Solo, frozen in carbonite? There’s a great scene in the movie “Castaway” that depicts it... Hanks’ character returns from years on the island and has no idea what’s taken place since he left (though the scene really speaks more to the changes in him than the changes around him).
We had a chance to get about as close as we’ll ever come to a hibernating bear, castaway, or frozen hero. When we returned to the USA after two years in East Africa, a lot had changed. We weren’t completely cut off from our old American lives. We still received news in Africa (in fact, we think there was more election coverage there than there was here... our african friends cared more about the race than we did: said one neighbor, “it is the election of the president of the world”), we still saw some new products come in through the ports, we had friends in the States who wrote to keep us abreast of the relevant goings-on. But there’s a lot we missed, and a lot we never experienced. Take Twitter for instance. That whole thing happened while we were gone. We’re still behind on that one.
We’re often asked what we notice is different. I’ve realized in recent weeks one thing that’s drastically different now than over two years ago when we left: TV on the internet. I’ve just about decided that there’s not reason to own a TV in the US anymore, or at least not a cable subscription or dish. You can watch TV shows on websites like hulu.com or the actual network websites (nbc.com, cbs.com, etc). ESPN streams a ton of live sporting events at espn360.com, and other websites exist with similar offerings. None of this existed that I can remember 3 years ago! And while it all seems a pretty sweet deal for international transplants like ourselves (who still love our NCAA sports, NFL, and select other shows), sadly most of these websites work only within US borders.