September 25, 2015

Making Connections: Wifi Shirt + Maroon Skater Skirt

wifi shirt college style
wifi shirt college style
wifi shirt college style
wifi shirt college style
herschel supply backpack in real life
Shirt, China | Skirt, China | Shoes, DSW | Headband, China | Backpack, Herschel Supply Co.
Photos by Alura Chung-Mehdi

I first spotted this shirt on a bustling street in southern China. As we rounded the sidewalk corner, I caught a fleeting glance of the quirky print through the window of a modest pop-up shop.

Amused, I kept walking and chatting with my family. Then I stopped.

If the piece itself weren't enticing enough, when would I get another chance to snag a wifi shirt for the equivalent of $4.55? Mind quickly made, I redirected my mom and brother round the bend again and into the store, where this top became the newest, funkiest member of my wardrobe.

Ironically enough, I had found just what I had been looking for, but in another form. Since my grandparents' apartment wasn't suscribed to wifi, my brother and I had been tirelessly and fruitlessly searching for accessible public networks. At one point, we even held metal pots over my phone in an attempt to catch signal. I claimed that our feverish efforts were so that I could respond to work emails--it'd be a lie, however, if I didn't admit that instagram was also a strong motivation.

Eventually, nice neighbors bestowed upon us access to their network, and I happily connected. I wonder, however, how my trip might've been different had I never found wifi. Would I have simply savored the majestic landscapes, rather than scrutinize their composition, constantly seeking an "insta-worthy" scene? Would I have engaged even more with the extended family that I rarely see, rather than tinker meticulously with photo edits?

In my efforts to stay connected, I often become detached--from reality, from what really matters. That's why I embarked on a 50-day social media fast two years ago (original announcement and reflection), and why I again renounced instagram and facebook during Lent last spring. 

And I continue to seek balance. The most fulfilling days, after all, are those where all the wifi I need is right on this shirt. 
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