Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Finally Getting Closer On My Proposals

I've been working on these proposals for a long time now. I think I may have started with the wrong attitude, seeing them just as something I needed to get done, rather than something that could help me develop my project. But now that I've written and rewritten these proposals so many times, I've noticed the great progress that I've made and how much more specific and doable my project is because of all the drafts I've written. It's been frustrating, but over the last two days I spent a good eight hours just sitting down and pumping out a detailed proposal based on everything I've worked out with Jay and with my mentors.

Today I had a meeting with Ashley where we went over my proposals, and I was surprised to hear her give a very positive response. Not surprised because I was expecting her to be negative, but surprised because all my previous drafts have been so full of holes and problems, that I just expected this one to be the same. It is good to know though that with enough hard work, you can eventually succeed. Now all I have to do is finish my IRB and get it turned in. Hopefully this will be much easier to do now that I have finished the other. It will be a big relief to have these done, but I think I have finally learned the lesson I needed to learn from them, and as a result, my project now stands in a much better place.

Book Review: Toward a True Kinship of Faiths

This is a book written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama about how the world's religions can come together. I love this mission that the Dalai Lama has taken upon himself to help in the uniting of the world's religions. I think it is a very just and noble cause, and that if more people could embrace these ideas, many of the world's conflicts and even wars could be avoided.

He starts out writing about his own experience growing up in an all Buddhist  community and thinking that his own religion must be the best. But in later years, and especially with his eventual exile in India, he came in contact with many other religions and began to understand just how deep, spiritual, and powerful the beliefs of each of these religions were. As he learned about these other religions he found that within practically all religions there is a strong belief based in showing compassion and love to others. However, this idea seems to clash with a lot of the ways people treat each other in these days because of differences in religion. This is not right, and something should be done to fix this. There is no easy way of convincing everyone to get along, but if enough individuals can adopt these ideas and demonstrate them for others, it is possible to make a change and to bring the world's religions closer together.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Almost Leaving

It's crazy that we're leaving so soon, and I feel like I'm still not very close to being ready. It's been a long, but also very fast semester, and I've learned a lot. With the help of the prep class and my faculty mentors, my project has grown and changed a lot. I still have a little ways to go to finish it up my proposals, but I'm hoping not too much further. At many points I wished I could have just gotten out into the field and started working, but I do appreciate the help I've had in making my project more specific. I've gone from wanting to study "Tibetan and Indian Relationships" to filming the stories of one Tibetan and one Indian. Now I think I will have a little more structure and direction in my work rather than just wandering around hoping to find useful things. It is still too bad that I don't know already who my subjects may be, and this may be a new cause of grief and frustration in the field, but hopefully things will all work out. Making a documentary film has turned out to be a lot more work than I thought it would be. Especially a lot more paper work. I still look forward to doing it though and want this to be a very special project. I'm sorry, this post itself isn't very specific. This is just how I feel about my project right now...

the End.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Culture Shock

I'm falling asleep right now, but I'm going to try and write a blog post.

We talked about culture shock today. It reminded me of going on my Mission to Mexico and the terrible shock I was in for at least the first week. We got there late and I remember driving speedily down the dark, narrow streets, closed in by cement walls. People were still out and about and little buses went zooming by us in the oncoming lane. This was the original shock of coming to a foreign country. The second shock was waking up the first real day in my area to the sound of the Gas truck driving down a distant street, blasting over its loudspeaker, "EL GAS!" I remember I woke up and couldn't figure out where I was at first. It was all just kind of scary at first. Walking down the streets everyone spoke Spanish, and I could only pick out words and phrases here and there.
However, over time, I learned and became more and more accustomed to the location, the people, the customs, and the culture. With a little time, I began to take great interest in their language, history, food and stories and learned as much as I could. I found that with this attitude I was more humble and more charitable in my dealings with the people I met, and when they saw my sincere interest in knowing about them and their culture they were super excited and welcoming to me.

I hope that having had this experience in Mexico, I will be able to avoid the original shock just a little better, and will remember to show the same interests that helped me learn and make friends on my mission. Of course, India will be a whole new country with an entirely different culture, and on top of that, I will be entering both Tibetan and Hindu cultures, but I will do my best right off the bat to show my interest and to be as humble and charitable as I can with those I meet.

I want to learn a lot while I'm there, and I'm sure that as long as I have the right attitude, I will.