Posts tagged pakistan
I spent a bit of the afternoon reading about conversations.
I didn’t get very far before I was distracted by all the different voices in my head talking to each other, which reminded me that the most interesting conversations are oftentimes the ones you carry on with yourself. It also reminded me that these conversations are usually the most important, so here are some thoughts that have made their way into normal speech and onto the page:
As a designer and communicator, and as a person who is fascinated by the stories people tell, I love learning about the languages that people speak. I love their stories, am enthralled by their experiences and I am incredibly frustrated when I can’t have a conversation with someone simply (or not so simply) because I don’t know their language. Either I physically can’t form the sounds in my mouth and imbue them with a meaning that is comprehensible to the person sitting on the other side of the table - or my experiences are so different from theirs that, even with a common spoken language, I have few ways to understand the experiences or ideas they are trying to tell me about.
Conversations undeniably change the way we think about and interact with the people we engage with on a daily basis.They remind us that the real world - the one that is “out there” is different than the one we have created inside our heads and challenge us to find ways to bring the two closer together. I spent the majority of the past year traveling to places where people didn’t speak my language. It gave me a lot of time to talk to myself, but also afforded me huge opportunity to try and talk with people that I don’t understand. Not only because I literally can’t make out a single word they form on their lips - but also because they come from places and backgrounds that are completely foreign to me.
i posted this on my Pakistan Blog a few months ago. The ideas are still very present so I thought i would repost - if for no other reason than to remind myself that the world is real. It is there. It has problems and stories to tell us. I’m itching for a way to get back out into it … sooner rather than later…
July 21, 2010: I have just finished reading the entirety of a blog written by my dear friend Shannon who has spent the past two years in South Africa. It never ceases to amaze me the effects that our geography has on our experiences, our emotions, our likes, dislikes, our relationships and perceptions of the world. Without a doubt, place is important. I have come to understand through my own travels and the adventures of my close friends that, for lack of a better word, there is something very special about the places we go and the ways we choose to experience them. These places, whether they are far away or close to home, ingrain themselves and tie themselves inextricably to those experiences. A seemingly obvious statement, but something that makes itself undeniably apparent to me the more places I go. This past year I had the chance to visit Shan in South Africa, and can say without hesitation, that it is one of the most meaningful experiences with a particular geography I have had. I can say honestly that I have no idea what that means – I don’t know why I felt so connected to a place that I had never been before nor had ever really considered going to until I found myself with some spare time and a good friend who needed company. Perhaps it was this relationship that made the place pull on my heartstrings, maybe it was the landscape or the weather,the rich culture or painful history. Maybe it was simply the wonderful people I met and the amazing things we experienced. Maybe it was all of that. But maybe it was even more than that. After reading through two years worth of Shannon’s adventures and insights, victories and heartbreaks, I cannot claim any true knowledge of the place except the miniscule bits and pieces that seeped into my three weeks there. I will say, that of all the places I have been, of all the streets I have wandered – South Africa has been one of the few that have truly surprised me. And I love that.
(Originally published on November 3, 2010)
Ahsan, Linda and I started talking about the K2 documentation this weekend and everyone seems to be on the same page: How the hell do we communicate our experience? Is it about how we prepared, what we would have done differently, what worked out well and what didn’t? Is it about the actual trek itself - photos and diaries and a day by day hash of our experiences? Is it about our interactions with other people? Having to address their fears and confusions and bewilderment in going to a place that most westerners don’t get to go and most Pakistani’s don’t know is even part of their country? Or is it a combination of all of this? The conversation was started, but soon melted into talk of tikka masala, palao, samosas, pakora, the best way to cook the chickpeas and if we should grill the pineapple early or wait to grill it so it is warm with our ice cream. I think everyone is still processing. And that is okay.
(Originally published October 3, 2010)