A stainless steal casing around my locked Verizon iPhone 4 has turned my iPhone into an iPod in Asia. At least once a week, an ex-pat tells me, “You can get that unlocked, you know?” Actually, I can’t. Thank you, Verizon for subsidizing the low cost of the iPhone 4. The downside is that there’s no slot for a SIM card. I could have paid $600 for an unlocked phone, but did not know at the time I would be moving overseas.
Have I put Americans to sleep by now? Basically, this means if you travel outside of the US where SIM cards, not month-to-month plans are the way you connect for data and phone, the stainless steel case around your locked iPhone 4 does not have a tiny slot in which to insert a card that allows you to send and receive actual phone calls. But the iPhone 4 still works as an iPod. So in wifi zones, I can Skype, Facetime, upload to Instagram, listen to podcasts and stream radio.
I wake up every morning to the news and weather from my hometown in Michigan–segments often sponsored by my alma mater, Calvin College. Especially thrilling during January and February is the weather, when the contrast between equatorial Indonesia and northern hemispherical Michigan is most stark. The familiar dulcet voices of the local NPR hosts act like a vaporous sensation of being home: Christina Shockley, Jennifer White, Jack Lessenberry, etc.
American Podcasts (Link to a post where I go into more detail about my favorite podcast app, Stitcher) also connect the walks through my new neighborhood to my weekly routine back in my old hamlet:
Slate Culture Gabfest: Banter about random cultural topics with an English-majorly perspective.
KCRW’s Good Food: Just really lovely conversation about farmer’s markets, restaurants in and around Southern California, discussions about Korean tacos . . . good Sunday afternoon listening. This show once inspired a Saturday Night Live sketch that featured Alec Baldwin.
The Dinner Party: One of the people behind the now canceled NPR radio satire show, “Rewind,” Rico Gagliano, is a hipster nerd on this eclectic program along with his co-host, Brenden Francis Newnam. Celebrities drop by. There are bad jokes, history-inspired cocktail recipes, etiquette advice . . . whatever. Sunday afternoon “lifestyle” section in spoken word.
P.S. I have many many more recommendations if you’re interested. My favorites keep changing.