Tuesday, April 12, 2011

today i am

Thinking: about diversity issues again. About immigration and integration and the ways that culture is fluid and fixed. I work in a very ethnically diverse school and my students are always challenging me to rethink my cultural assumptions. It fascinates me but also reveals some of my latent hypocrisies... for example, I'm totally ok with my students holding on to their cultural narratives but condemn my in-laws for the pressures they put on their sons by expecting them to maintain old world traditions that no longer exist in their home country, while demanding that they be successful in Canada. How can you expect one form of integration and yet reject the shift in values that comes with it? Why move to a country in order to have a better life, only to reject the values of said country? And why am I willing to accept this imbalance in my students but not in my in-laws?

Yeah, big thoughts about diversity and immigration these days....

Creating: Scrapbook pages with newspaper clippings in them. Historical narratives and personal memorabilia combined.
Planning: to finish episode 3 podcast this evening! Here's to episode 3 being almost done, and 1131 feed hits as I write this. That's just crazy people. For an intro and 2 episodes so far. Wowzas! 
Reading: Sweetness in the Belly by Camille Gibb. Such a good book. If you haven't read it, you should. It really does a good job at telling you things through the bits of story she omits and the pieces she focuses on. It was also interesting to hear another side of the starving Ethiopian famine that I grew up with. You know, the "eat everything on your plate cause there are starving kids in Ethiopia" line that our mothers (in my generation) fed us when we complained about the food in front of us.

Wait, was that only my mom? Was I the only child who petulantly sassed back with "well, then just send it to them then, cause I don't like it?"

....Yeah, I didn't think so....

It was a story that brought a nation to light to me. It taught me a bit more about a history that I was woefully oblivious of. Oh, I know that it's fiction and I'll have to learn more from more reliable sources, but still...
Listening: Inciting a Riot podcast and his discussion on black and white. My response... I think maybe part of the reason we use white is because it reflects back, rather than absorbs like black. Though I do agree that a black candle would have more of that particular colour energy latent within it. White is a blank slate for me. A blank canvas that I can write onto and have reflected back out into the universe, be it magically, or literally in terms of art and writing.  But it is intriguing to see how this idea of blankness is alternately viewed as either positive or negative, depending on cultural context. Ultimately, I think it be both and that our particular association is what the colour reflects back to us. So if I associate a certain colour, be it white or red, with marriage, then that association is what the colour will create for me. I married in white for my husband (because it was one of those things that spoke of wedding for him and made him happy.... it was one of those compromises that weddings and marriage are about) but was uncomfortable with the blankness of that slate, so wrote over it with character! (not literally of course, but with cut and accessories, and all that good stuff)... which has nothing to do with magic (I'm just in a rambling mood today apparently). But yeah, colour... I think that culturally we have a longstanding association with white being "pure" because it is such a ready medium that we use for everything, from whitewashing a wall, to typing onto a white screen... white is the background colour that is used for neutraly receiving information, which, since we expect it to be that, reflects that intention back to us. (all of this makes more sense I'm sure, if you listen to his episode...)

Realizing: that I'm not sure when work got so busy that even though I feel ill, I can't actually call in sick. Seriously. What's up  with that? Or is it just a sign that I feel too attached to my students' success/work that I feel bad leaving them when they need me...
Feeling: a wee bit ill but otherwise energetic.

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