Computer Buddies For Life!

, , , , | Friendly | June 6, 2017

In high school, I sign up for a program called Computer Buddies, where anyone in the community with a question about their computer or the Internet can come in and a student will help them solve it.

It’s my first time doing it, and I’m a little nervous, when I get paired with an absolutely lovely, elderly, Vietnamese lady who came in with her laptop. One of her brothers is in Vietnam, one is in Hawaii, and her kids are scattered across most of the mainland US, so she wants to learn how to do things that will let her see her family — email, Skype, and booking plane tickets, especially. One of her sons gave her the laptop, but none of her kids have had time to teach her how to use it, so we get it plugged in, and I show her how to set up an email account. Before I know it, the hour’s gone, and we’ve barely covered half of what she wants to know… so we make arrangements to meet at the local library, and I’ll keep helping her out.

While she openly admits to being nervous, she’s clearly a bright woman, and despite her protests that she’s never touched a computer before, she picks it up pretty quickly. She’s also pretty fascinating; while in the US, she worked as a teacher and social worker, and before moving here, she lived in Vietnam, Cambodia, France, and Germany, and speaks at least half a dozen languages.

Ten years later, we still see each other every other month or so, but these days it’s mostly for coffee or lunch. She now has a smartphone and can email, Skype, and web-surf like a pro, and though she still occasionally asks for my help changing her security settings or troubleshooting a problem, she’s one tech-savvy grandma. She’s also just a genuinely lovely person.

I’ve met most of her family and she’s met most of mine; when we see each other, we often bring each other a small gift like a bar of scented soap or an interesting bit of jewelry or a plate of cookies. My boyfriend and my parents quite adore her, and when we go out to eat, we always end up happily arguing about who gets to treat the other! She’s become an adoptive aunt/grandma, and one of my favorite people.

I’m glad she swallowed her nerves and came into my high school ten years ago!

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