08 April 2011

"Now, we can do anything!"

Fortunately, my passport and visa are safely in my possession, and I'm 2.5 weeks out!  Here are some of the things that have been going on in my mind and life:

  1. I gave my project presentation to a wonderful audience of three people on Wednesday.  It went well; I showed the video that my group had made of the interview with Norbu last semester because it occurred to me that it would be the perfect introduction to my project!  Not only did Norbu give background of the Tibetans in Dharamsala and the TCV but he made many excellent points about digital culture.  Here is one of my favorite quotes from the video: "I think [computers and internet] are a wonderful thing for us, for everyone.  I think it's a new culture for everyone . . . .  With the coming of computers we can do lots of things.  Now, we can do anything!"  In addition, the fact that I even have Norbu as a friend (thanks, Facebook and Skype!) and the interview itself are excellent representations of my project--the things that you can do with technology have changed the way I do my project and indeed the way I run my life.
  2. One of the questions asked after my presentation was how am I practicing proper reciprocity with Norbu?  It is an excellent question.  Norbu has been so kind and helpful to me for a long time.  I certainly need to respond with some kindness and generosity of my own, and I have yet to decide what I can do for him.  One thing that I think I have done for him, however, is give him the opportunity to have his voice heard.  He wants people to know about Tibetans and their situation, and the video we presented at our digital civilization event informed our audience (including many college students and faculty) of just that.  I also published Norbu's statement about his culture on my blog, which has a respectable audience as well.  If all goes as planned, I may even present the same video at a much larger honors conference in the fall (more on this to come!)
  3. There are two main challenges that I see in my project right now: the first is that I am unbalanced in my field experience proposal.  I am leaning heavily on my academic project and I have not given nearly as much thought to my overall experience of cultural immersion.  I need to work on balancing my thinking here.  The second challenge is my methodology--I am probably trying to do too much (c'est la vie) and I need to revise my methods.
I have a great deal more to do, and not just with this field study preparation.  Let's see if I can get my life back in order!

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