Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Do You Mind Not Knowing What is Going On?

Show card for my Art in India exhibition.
A Nepali Indian friend asked if it bothers me ”when people just speak in Hindi?” She continued, “I think it would drive me nuts if everyone around me was talking and I couldn’t understand.” This is a good question…

The simple answer is “no, it has not bothered me yet.” I really enjoy observing and using these times to learn and listen. Every time I have wanted to understand more or need clarification I always ask.

So why does it not bother me? Haha probably because I am a bit socially awkward to begin with. I don’t mind observing nor do I mind that isolated feeling while in a large group, in fact I really enjoy it. I love people but am fairly introverted. That “alone in a crowd feel” can be incredibly nice…though I don’t really feel alone with my Indian friends. Most of the time I can pick up enough….though the times I am lost are nice too. Sometimes I just don’t talk even when I do know what’s going on. I suppose it’s less awkward to have the language “barrier” as an excuse.

The most important reason I don’t mind is the answer to the question “what is the best way to learn a language?” To go to the country…unfortunately I tend to do things backwards. I go to the country then a month after returning home decide to commit to learning the language. Spending time with people speaking the language you are trying to learn is really the only way to pick up a language…

The other friend in the car joined in and stated “they don’t do it on purpose, it’s just habit.” We continued the discussion for a bit longer (and by we I mean I continued to ponder over the question in my head…I will share my ponderings in future posts.)

I nodded in agreement as we continued to sing along to Bollywood music and drove off.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Jungle Pick-Nick: Week 3

Wow today was such a great day! We had a pick-nick, or picnic, with our kiddoes in a jungle for US Brazil Connect


I have this strange fascination with banana trees and today was my first actual hike through trails lined with banana trees and tropical flowers. In the following weeks there were more gorgeous hikes to follow, including one to a gorgeous waterfall. I should have some good video from that adventure. 
I think I will get another chance to go on a hike before leaving this beautiful and inspiring country.


We played volleybal, ate, sang karaoke, and hiked a beautiful trail literally in what I would consider a jungle. 


I had a blast on the bus ride and at the pic-e nic-e with my students. Yes, I am mimicking how Brazilians say words in English. 

I will share a blog about what happens on the back of Brazilian school buses. But for now, check out my YouTube videos.

Originally posted on my travel art website in August 2014

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

PROOF PIC Do Grapes grow on The Wine?

Mera Hindusthani accha dost pagal ha.
My good Indian friend is absolutely crazy.

One evening we got into a bit of an argument while drinking a bit of wine in my art studio. This friend, to be quite honest, is one of the most American Indians I know but not ABCD as can be seen in another conversation with him.

Me: Nahin, nahin bas tujhe pagal baat hai! Ananth* it is technically a wine yard its actually a vineyard
A: They are the same word...What we are drinking and thing grapes grow on are the same.

Me: No Ananth they are not. Tum pagal ho yaar!

A: What is the difference?

Me: One is Va and the other Wa?

A: ok, so it's the same sound...

Me: No, it's like Ta, Tt, Th and Tth, Da and Dha... They all sound the same to me (and I'm pretty sure I said them all the same) but people keep telling me they are not the same...

A: Thik hai, thik hai

A couple days later I texted Ananth with an explanation of how to make the different sounds...I am still not sure if he really thought they were the same or if it was the vine talking...


*Name has been changed to protect the involved party.Name has been changed a second time because he didn't like the name I picked out.

**Excuse my bad Hinglish...That is part of why I started this blog...Is to one day be able to look back and feel good because I have gotten that much better.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Dhanyavaad Doston: Saudades pt. 2

Interestingly while in Brazil I didn't find myself missing American culture or dealing with culture shock becuase Brazil was so different from the US.


My culture shock for the first few weeks was that I was around too many Americans, in a mall several times per week, surrounded by people flaunting their money, around too much English (haha yeah, I was around more Hindi with you guys than I was portuguese for a couple weeks), couldn't really take my shoes off indoors and couldn't eat with my hands. The food was not spicy which I craved...one night I added several teaspoons of hot sauce to Arabian food...and I was saying things like "bahut obrigada" and "muito dhanyavaad." And I'm still not convinced that I know how to convey the meaning of "thik hai" with the head bob in Brazilian culture.

The second part of my trip, however,  was a very different experience. I was able to experience many of the challenges I crave with travel. I was around no english for most of it. Some days I had a translator for workshops and seminars and such but evenings and mornings there was typically no english. After 5 days of no English, my brain could actually think in Portuguese which was incredible...I really did and still do love Brazil. The food may not have been spicy, but it was delicious and flavorful. And I know y'all like to claim to like sweets...but y'all ain't got nothin' on Brazilian sweets.

But anyways this post isn't about Brazil. It's about being homesick from you all...
I knew I was a bit crazy about and may have been excessively-fascinated with Indian culture. But I didn't quite realize how much the last year was impacted by you guys. I didn't expect being away from your culture to be as challenging as it was. I am so thankful you let me genuinely experience life with you all....I will miss you all and always have a space in my heart for you and your culture. One day I hope to really experience Indian culture again and really gain a grasp on Hindi...

Português has a word, saudade, it's used to describe the emptiness when something or someone has gone away. It is certain that I am having this experience for you all...
Eu tenho saudades pra vocês...beijos e abraços!

Brasília

Originally posted August 2014 on my Travel Art Blog.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Week 2 in Brazil: Protests

Some of the protest signs we saw in Joinville...



LAGARTO VIVE!
lutou contra o fascismo nas ruas,
contra o racismo
contra a homofobia
contra a alienação religiosa
contra a corrupção estatal
contra,  o capitalismo maquiavélico
contra, o especismo praticado aos animais
morreu em pé. vivieu e lutou
pela liberdade humana e animal
da tirania e do poder opressor de
poucos sobre muitos.
estará vivo em nossas mentes.
batendo forte em nossos corações e
presente em nossos punhos erguidos.
"nem todo irmão é companheiro,
mas todo companheiro será sempre um grande irmão".



Inglês: I used the help of google for parts of this so any corrections would be appreciated ;)
LIZARD LIVE!
fought against fascism in the streets,
against racism
against homophobia
against religious alienation
against state corruption
against the Machiavellian capitalism
against speciesism practiced on animals
died standing. vivieu and fought
by animal and human freedom
of tyranny and oppressive power
few over the many.
will be alive in our minds.
  pounding in our hearts and
This raised our fists.
"every brother is not mate,
but every companion will always be a big brother. "


Journal From July 1st

Originally posted on my Travel Art Blog in August 2014

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

24 Hours: No English

Its been 24 hours and my brain is kinda freaking out. I'm exhausted and feel like I am a major pain in the ass because people have to explain everything several times and the tension and the frustration and knowing I'm bad at Portuguese is is making it more difficult to understand, speak and recal what I do know...
 
Por outro lado, eu gosto la experiência porque é unique e eu sai que eu vou crescer mas que todas las otras situações em Brazil. Eu vou aprender mais português. Os pesoas tem muitos patience comigo também. Elles são fantásticos. 
 
My portuguese is atrocious and its frustrating because I want to connect with people deeper but I can't because the words must be simplified so much. Even my thoughts in English are being dumbed down. "I want sit. I like the day in the past. I make paint water."

Meus pensamentos em português são ideias complexas. Eu adoro la experiência é acredito que eu vou aprender muito coisas sobra la Brazilian cultura so observando. E eles falan que meu português é bom pra dois meses. E eu mais o menos concordo. Tenho muitos feliz e sorrisos quando uma convenção é swave. 
 
I miss home (mostly my husband) and I miss spicy food, eating with my hands and taking my shoes off indoors. I miss Laramie and am sad that there is a possibility that I may never return. I am sad that I'm not yet in Washington and I'm sad that Jim is stuck there without me.
 
Saldages é minha palavra favorite en la idioma português. E eu penso que é descritivo de a cultura beleza. Uma cultura com muito emoções linda e sentimental. As pesoas aqui é carinhosos e dulce. Eles pensam com suas emoções. E eu gosto disso. Tenho saldages pra meus amigos en Santa Catarina e eu terei muitos pra pesoas aqui, pierto de Brasília, e todo o país.
 
Challenges make you stronger.
Viagem é cultivo bonito. 
 
Looking at Brasilia
 
*I ended up going several days and it was amazing...eu tenho cinco dias sem inglês e é foi muito bom! Obrigada amigos Brasileiros! 
 
E mais uma coisa. Disculpa meio mal em português...Eu escrevi este no meu diário/jornal, depois de um mês de practca português :p 
 
For those of you who speak both languages...I didn't intend on the two different tones...it just happened as I journaled and switched languages...
 
 Originally Posted August 8, 2014 on my Travel Art Blog.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What Am I Listening To?

Lotus collage art inspired by travel. Felicia Follum
One of my favorite ways to practice language is listening to Pimsleur or other audio lessons in the car when I'm by myself.

I find that Pimsleur is great at getting you to think in the language. It uses similar techniques to how we acquired our native language and simplifies it all for the listener.

If you haven't tried Pimsleur, give it a try. I listen through my local library but you can also purchase the CD set on Amazon or other audio book sources. These are just the courses I have completed but there are many more languages available.