The school year is off and running again and everything seems to be happening at warp speed. Where is the slow motion button? I love the beginning of a new school year! Fresh faces, fresh supplies, and the hope and promise of a new year! It’s sort of like that feeling you get on New Year’s Eve. “We can do it better this time.” “This will be our year.” There’s time for reflection on the past year and planning for the journey ahead.
I was recently challenged to think of the question “What is knowledge?” and equally as important, “Who defines knowledge?” I love the confidence of seven-year olds who think they really are an expert and loath the confidence of adults who really just have over inflated egos.
I spent much of my summer traveling through India and Nepal and this question about knowledge really coincides with my trip. So much of what I thought I knew was TOTALLY wrong. It was also clear that what some people there thought they knew was TOTALLY wrong about me as well. My experience shaped my knowledge. I now have a totally different tool set to use when I speak about knowledge of the world and of this region in particular. I read lots of books before going, but nothing can compare to actually being there. I could have spent my whole summer reading and researching, but my knowledge would have been vastly different, arguably inferior.
Just taking something like Indian food. I’ve eaten Indian food in America and even had a friend make me a list of her favorite Indian foods before traveling. Whelp of course when I arrived I learned that in America I had been eating South Indian food and we were traveling in North India. There was an entirely new menu to learn!
Movies and pop culture play have a major influence on what we “know.” India is colorful and lush! Well yes in movies it is very colorful and yes color is very important in India. Color signifies a good life and happiness. People decorate their homes and trucks in vibrant colors but I think there is some major editing going on in the movies. There isn’t just bright colors everywhere, there’s a lot of dust and dirt, clay and marble too.
I thought I knew crowded…I had no idea!
I also thought I knew how societies were supposed to work. I thought I knew what was socially appropriate. There is an entirely different set of manners and customs everywhere you go in the world.
I created a short video of some pictures from my trip. I wanted to try out a new online photo sharing website so I chose Slidely. It went pretty well, a few kinks: you can’t rotate photos and I’m not sure why my first two photos play twice. The background song is the theme song from Aladdin. I used this for two reasons. Number one some people think they are going to have an Aladdin fantasy when they travel to this part of Asia when really they don’t know what they are talking about. Secondly…it was a whole new world… You can watch the video below.