Thursday, January 27, 2011

Cultural Literacy

Honestly, what is Clemson's obsession with forcing cultural anything onto us? (re: being "Culturious") I'm quite sick of it. You know who you're dealing with here, right? The half Japanese girl who speaks 3 languages and is learning a 4th, who is currently in Barcelona, Spain where none of these aforementioned languages help? I was born "Culturious".

That being said, since birth, I have always been exposed to at least 2 different kinds of cultures: the American one of my dad, and the Japanese one of my mom. Needless to say, I've always been ahead in the game of "who knows more languages" where I was raised to be fluent in both English and Japanese. 
Then middle and high school happened, where I was required to take on a 3rd language for school, so I decided to tackle French. Now it's safe to say I am also fluent in French.
Since last semester, I started studying German. I've always wanted to and my schedule allowed for it, so why not? 

To understand a culture, learning the language in class just isn't enough (though in terms of "Nomos", it's an excellent start). Everyone always says that to best understand a certain culture, one must immerse themselves into it. This, I completely agree with. I've been fortunate enough to have had opportunities in the past to explore different cultures by visiting other countries and even staying there for an extended amount of time to learn more about how the people of the region live. I've also made many friends in high school of different nationalities, which also definitely helps in understanding not only your friend better, but where they and their family come from, and in turn understanding that culture better.

This semester in Spain is a bit different. I had no previous idea about anything in Spain, nonetheless Barcelona (who wants to break off from Spain and become its own thing, essentially) so I definitely jumped into the big kids' pool this time with no floaties. It was very difficult and strange at first, but by now, I feel like I've gotten into the groove of things (it's been almost a month already!). 

I wish I could travel at my leisure and immerse myself in as many countries and cultures as I possibly could, but financial and time restrictions pretty much hold me back on that front. In terms of becoming more culturally literate in Barcelona, it will probably just take more time being here. Living here and being completely immersed is one thing, however, our professors also share with us the history and explanations of certain things while we're here, which is incredibly helpful.

At first, my goal here was just to survive, but now, I would say I'm trying to thrive :)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Photo editing!

Here is an original-size picture of Messi's first goal from my first FCB game while in Spain. I feel it is quite deserving in its massive size. TAKE UP AS MUCH SPACE AS YOU WANT, MESSI. (Thanks for the hat trick!)

Here is me on a cat, at an appropriate size for this blog.

The first image would be easier to crop and edit, but that would defeat the whole purpose of what I just did. The second image might be able to be edited so that I am in outer space or something, but it's actually cropped (note: my missing right foot). Cropping is easy, but other methods of photo editing is pretty tedious and difficult, as I've learned from our renders for architecture projects. Hopefully I won't have to do anything THAT tedious for this blog?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Online Communities

Okay, firstly, did I just get Rick Roll'd by our professor? I believe that just happened. It really did.

In terms of online communities, I've had a Blogger for a while, and of course I use Facebook. I got started using Blogger from a friend of mine who had gone to Germany and told me that I should start blogging too. This same friend had gotten me onto Facebook, as well, so I guess she's just keeping me in check with the latest ways of being in these online communities. 

The benefit of using a blogging site, such as Blogger, allows me to stay in touch with friends and family miles, states, oceans, and continents away, while also letting them see how I'm doing: what I'm doing while I'm gone, being able to share my adventures, and add a little personality pizazz as well to know it's actually me who is alive and posting. Friends and family usually tell me that they enjoy my blogs, so therefore I'm really encouraged to keep it going. After all, who likes blogging to an empty audience? (I surely hope I'm not doing that with this one.)
Needless to say, Blogger is really easy to use, and I'm lazy. Everything just works out.

So with this Barcelona trip being the longest trip without any family members, it's nice to have a blog and being able to not only tell them, but show them through pictures, that I am alive and well, and not to worry from whatever is probably on the news right now. (current events? what?) It's a more personal form of keeping in touch, and it's nice that you can just tell about your adventures once while multiple people can read it without having to share individually, like you would have to by snail mailing everyone like back in the day. Online communities are very useful, so far I have seen no downside of them, besides being badgered to update all the time.
You guys, I have a life, you know. :)

CLAM intro

Welp, I was kind of hoping that this CLAM course would just be a simple blog, which I'm used to keeping for my previous travels, but looks like there's going to be more interesting media and methods involved! I am looking forward to it, just to get to learn new ways of documenting my experiences as I travel. I just hope they're not too complicated (this whole technology thing? Not my thing). It seems like the tutorials provided on the CLAM (almost typed CLAN, oops) site will be really helpful, and our professor seems to have a sense of humor, so I'm pretty excited about that as well. 

Maybe one day I'll be able to make videos that are just as well done as the introductory ones that I've seen so far. But it'll be a matter of time, and I also kind of hate being in videos. Well, until then!