“Last night, I dreamt about poverty. A little boy lived in the attic of our hotel and he would come play with me when I wandered up that way. All I wanted to do was buy him some shoes. All I wanted to do was buy anyone some shoes.” I shared this story with my classmates in Bangalore, a confessional regarding the influx of guilt I’ve had to tackle throughout the month I’ve spent in India. The guilt comes with a realization on the lack of empathy I tend to feel in my regular li
At Dalaut Ram College in Delhi, I engaged a young girl named Kritija in conversation. Tired of the monotonous questions about boys and American dating that were being constantly hurled at me from some of the other students, I decided to ask her point-blank about the one thing I had really come to India to learn more about: “When you study psychology here, what is it, exactly, that you’re studying?” Kritija blinked a few times, taken aback at the pointedness of my probing, but
Growing up, I was fortunate to have an uncle who owned a plastic surgery clinic in Florida. Though his practice had the usual patients - boob jobs, rhinoplastys, tummy tucks, the works - one particular case has stood out to me my entire life. The patient in question was named Bilkis Khatun, a Bangladeshi girl whom my uncle took in and supplied reconstructive surgery for following a brutal acid attack she suffered in her sleep at the hand of an angered and rejected suitor. Whi
"The Psychology of Globalization" by Jeffrey Arnett is quick to highlight the growing role youth have in the development of cross-cultural communication and world development. In Bangalore, we attended a lecture on the nature of technology and communications on the role of positive psychology. While the lecture itself was hard to understand, the conversations I witnessed afterward were especially poignant and relevant to this movement toward youth-oriented understanding of gl
Originally published on St. Olaf's TIME 2012's Group Blog.
On the streets of Zamalek, at the base of the pyramids, wandering Al Azhar park, we are celebrities. Our blonde hair, our blue eyes and our armed guard (mandatory by Egyptian tourist law) make us the subject of numerous stares and whispers. The bravest of these admirers are undoubtedly the fearless children who, with absolutely no sense of what we would consider decorum, run up to us and tug on our shirts and proudl
The viewfinder on my camera focuses in, then slightly out. Framed: One cat, scrawny with sparse hairs matted in dirt, crouched on a heaping pile of old papers, rotting fruits, discarded potato chip bags. It’s bitty feet slip between the broken seals of old bottles, its tail drips from an unidentified goo. The cat sits unaffected by the gnats and flies that flick it’s whiskers and then -snap- a moment is captured as it takes a bite from a twisted moldy loaf of bread. I examine
Originally Published on St. Olaf's Term in the Middle East Group Blog. It’s become second nature on this trip, especially in unknown areas, to stare at the ground when I walk around, avert my eyes from passerby on the street. Any attention I may draw tends to come from men sitting on the sidewalk, and if I make myself invisible, I don’t have to worry about feeling exposed. But the moment I step into Zamalek, our little island neighborhood in Cairo, everything changes. My step
Originally published on St. Olaf's Term in the Middle East Blog. When I signed up for Term in the Middle East, many members of my Catholic family posed the following question to me: how will you manage your faith abroad? After all, I was about to step into a world filled with radical Islam, disdain for Western society and religious systems, and streets lined with mosques instead of cathedrals. Some family members still send me emails littered with daily bible quotes, a step w
Originally Published on St. Olaf's Term in the Middle East Group Blog. The beauty of Term in the Middle East is how absolutely calculated and exquisitely planned it is. Sure, traveling is always an adventure, and we have, as a group, run into our fair share of minor bumps in the past few months, but, as a whole, we’ve been inherently fortunate to have the excellent team at the St. Olaf International and Off-Campus Studies office plan out our logistics – where we’ll lay our he
harem- noun 1. The part of a palace or house reserved for the residence of women.
2 .The women of a (Muslim) household, including the mother, sisters, wives, concubines, daughters, entertainers and servants. Note: Definitions retain to gender distinction. The feminine is defined in relation to otherness, that is, separate from male. Harem therefore becomes reliant on the presence of males in order to create and make distinct this otherness. According to definition, without t