Archive for February, 2010

The False Imperative

The pebbles were round and smooth. Collected one on another as if they all agreed, there was no other place they’d rather be. The only thing they might ask of life is each other. That’s all they need.

Having internet connectivity is nice and I don’t care to devote the time it would take to fully explain how much easier having my iPhone has made my experience. When I sat outside to write this, I almost put in my earphones again. The pig squealing, motos crossing, and random horns have ruined several a guitar practice, reading, pivotal movie scene, and conversation. It’s obnoxious. But, when I put the earphones in to replace it with an artificial soundtrack, I trade in some of the gift also. I’ve done it several times and promise to do it again. It’s useful fiction. Float down a river long enough though and it feels less necessary. The trades that we make all the time seem so superfluous.

Those smoothe, round rocks got me wondering. How much do I really need? What do I really want from these transactions? As the current pulled at the anchored raft I heard, life. I saw the gigantic peeking palms say, life. I felt the pebbles beneath my feet say, life. I want life on the other end. The toughest part of the journey has not been the illness, natural disasters, or a lack of common creature comforts habituated from home. The toughest part was the communication difficulty. The challenge of sharing. Being denied free and undisputed access to the life on the other end.

Almost anything can be normalized and accepted. I’ve heard several definitions for civilization. Some of my students think their country is on it’s way to modern civilzation. They know what it looks like now. They’ve tasted it in their soup and civil products have reached their shelves. They can have what they can have now, almost. Moving down that river, witnessing the gifts it bestowed kept nudging me. I’d seen ducks before. I’d seen palms, and rivers, and buffalo, and sedimentary cliffsides, and yeah I get it; nature is gorgeous. We floated further down and had lunch. The pause pointed to how happy and fortunate I was to be able to experience this with friends. It kept poking.

After taking humanities in college, I came away with four personal postulates. One, Impressionism over Baroque. Above my bed is a large print of Impression Sunrise. I love it and it speaks to me. It says, “thoughtful yet not thought-full”. I do not understand everything I saw on that river. I don’t want responsibility for that many pages or that much ink. We came to a waterfall. I stood there a moment. Water was running, falling. Sheer trickling over green, brown and into light blue. I pulled out my iPhone and took a picture. I put it away.

Sometimes I miss home. I miss the people. I miss the places. I miss the comforts. Odds are when I go back home I’ll miss here too. I’ll miss the people. I’ll miss the places. I’ll miss the comforts. But, I’ll leave. And when I do I’ll take with a few new personal postulates with me. One, I do not need a vast majority of the stuff I have. Two, I do not need a vast majority of the stuff I want. Three, “civilization” will try to convince me otherwise. Politely rebel. Four, remember what I really want and what I really need is life on the other end. Everything else is negotiable.


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Photos of late

Apologies for not posting very much in recent history. Life has settled a bit more and am far more focussed on the potential legacy of my time here. I have a few things I’m working on. One is a learn by teaching English Sunday School program just up the road from the school. It think it will provide a lasting and beneficial community service component as well as provide students the opportunity to approach English language instruction from
the other side. Along with that, I’m helping to develop a debate team. we have had two meetings thus far. I think we have a good group. It’s important to note that both these ventures could not be nearly as progressed were it not for the direct involvement of my team teacher. We have been partners in these works.
I’ve added some more recent pictures. The picture with students holding candles comes from an English worship service which happens 1-2 a month. Each class sponsors at least one over the course of a semester. I’m having an incredible time overall and look forward to the lessons ahead. Apologizes again for the slow update cycle.

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