Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Who is SIM and Why Should I Care?

Day two in Dunedin included meeting my co-advisors, Caroline and Andrew, and the rest of our research team (they will be FANTASTIC to work with!; Caroline brought the most delicious chocolate glazed almond tart to share, too), window shopping for a bike ($1200 for a reasonable bike? Eh, I think I'd rather have Jon ship mine to me, thankyouverymuch), and shopping for a new phone (Sprint wants to charge me $2.30 per minute for a phone call and $0.50 per text sent on top of monthly charges).

For me (and other technologically challenged Americans), shopping for electronic devices is about as fun as going on a five hour car ride, hungover, with kids in the back seat saying, "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?"  I just want to point to something that I want, purchase it, and have it work; no questions asked.  I'm finding it's just not that easy.

In my Welcome Packet from the International Student Office, I received a credit card-sized piece of plastic with two funky rectangle-ish shapes punched into it.  Apparently, I was supposed to act excited and appreciative when I received it, not dumbfounded.

Turns out, each funky rectangle-ish thing is a SIM card.  According to it is a Subscriber Identity Module that functions as a memory chip for cell phones.  You know how you can take your favorite CD of, say, Kenny G's greatest hits (if you're into him, I'm not) and it will play the same songs in any CD player?  Well, take your SIM card and pop it into different cell phones and it works with your saved phone number, saved contact list, etc.  Cool, huh?

So, tonight I'm going to see if the SIM card works in my cell phone that I brought from Sprint in the States to see if it will work (more than likely not - US cell phone companies are mean like that and sell phones that are "locked") then tomorrow I'm going to go back to Vodafone to purchase a phone (they range from $60-600) and pop the SIM card in it.

My roommate says SIM cards at the store cost about an additional $30 and now that I'm starting to understand the whole acquiring-a-cell-phone-and-getting-it-to-work-process, I'm starting to feel like the excited, appreciative person that I should have been when they gave the SIM card to me.

I feel like this is probably a rather boring post to most people.  For those who plan to travel internationally for some time, this will have been helpful information.  For everyone else, I better leave you with something more...interesting.

Here it goes...

Last night, my wonderful (read: doesn't weird me out like some other people I've bumped into around here) roommate, Kate, and I went to check out a nearby grocery store.  This was no ordinary trip.  No, sir.  To get there, we had to walk through a botanic garden with a huge rose garden in bloom - oodles and oodles of yellow, pink, red roses eeeeverywhere.  How. Cool. Is that?!

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