Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Asking Mom for money while in Europe: 1980 vs 2010

When I was alone in Germany in 1980, asking my mom for money went something like this:

Day 1: Ask my hosts if I could call home.  Knowing it was very expensive (like many dollars per minute!), I’d feel very guilty.  Alternately, I could send Mom a telegram which was also expensive and required my hosts to make a trip to the Western Union office in town.  (The telegram would be delivered within hours or possibly the next day.)  There was no faster option.  If my request was warranted, Mom would ask my hosts for their bank account number so she could wire me money.

Day 2: Hoping that the money was actually wired, my hosts would drive to their bank and pay another fee to retrieve the wired money.

Thirty years later, a kid in Europe asking his mom for money looks something like this:


That IM lasted maybe 5 minutes and once I began the funds transfer process it took about… oh, 5 seconds!  No charge, no mess!

Things have changed so incredibly much in the past 30 years!  I don’t think our kids can even begin to fathom the immense difference in the speed of communication from when their parents were their age.  I wrote about it previously here… and I think I’ll need to write about it again soon. 

With details.  Because really, I think some 20-something jaws will drop!

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Margaret said...

Europe is easy, but for Africa I did have to actually wire money! I'm excited for him to visit Venice; I loved Italy.

Susanne said...

I soooo remember the times how it used to be...everything changed alot...our kids will never understand....
I am so glad he will be able to visit Venice...I loved did my kids....wish I could be there right now.....Big sigh............

Goofball said...

In 1996 I had exactly 4 phone calls with my parents during a year. And 1 written postal letter every 10 days. No e-mail or chat yet.

I'm very glad they could not comment & direct me and intervene on a day-to-day basis as they would have done so very much. Now they sent me instructions constantly not to do this, to ensure to do that, ... in a response to my letters but since the turn-around of such communication was about 3-4 weeks, it wasn't very effective.
And I became much more independant and self-assured.

Seriously being an exchange student now isn't quite the same if you can video chat with your old friends every day. You can choose to escape your culture shock and not totally submerge in your new environment if you don't dare to.

It's surely a big advantage but also a big disadvantage

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