Friday, October 14, 2005

pongour falls, and other things we never heard about in school.

You know, sometimes I get incredibly upset when I think about what I learned in school. We had to learn so much about the US Government, about US History, and we took physics and algebra (at least I did) and geography and biology. How often do we use all of that everyday? And I also am acutely aware of how our education is so narrowly focused on the history of the US (in a way that we are approved to hear about) and the lack of history and current education on other cultures, religions, beliefs, and landmarks.... not to mention the history of other countries. The only time we learned anything about another country was if that country crossed out path, like Japan at Pearl harbor. Only learned about Spain because of Christopher Columbus. Not to mention the only thing I really learned about Vietnam was from movies like Platoon and Forrest Gump. Really. That is so lame. That you can get more "real" education from movies, which are usually trumnped up and fictional, than you can in school. I do recall learning about Cinco De Mayo and other things about mexican culture, but only because I took a year of spanish. It's a real shame that there aren't required courses to teach us about other cultures, their ways of life, the things they believe in, their histories and their legends. It really bugs me. It bugs me every day. When I learn that Pongour Falls in Vietnam is a beautiful spiritual place, with monks chanting in the water and pilgrims coming from far away to witness the 7 layer waterfalls. All this I stumble across on the internet. And learning about the Korean war and the DMZ because Carrie LIVES there for god's sakes. I mean, who was supposed to teach me that Ho Chi Minh City is Saigon? How many times have I heard the words "Ho Chi Minh City" in a movie and never knew that is Saigon? Never even knew it is a real place! I always thought it was a fictional anime type place. How do we get through high school knowing NOTHING about a world outside the US borders? I don't get it. It's a sad, sad shame. How do I learn about the landscapes, food, cultures of places like Pienza in Tuscany and cities like Venice and Rome by reading books by Marlena DeBlasi, Watching The travel channel, and going to restraunts like Verucchi's? How do I get through high school knowing only that Venice is a city on the water with Gondolas, in italy, the country shaped like a boot? I swear that I learned more about the "real world" in my 10 years living in it (and thanks to my husband, who has seen every movie and every history channel special, flown to france, etc.) There should be more required reading in high school about other cultures.... more information on travel and history.... MORE I SAY! It makes me want to travel, especially since I have conquered my fear of flying, and see other cultures, other countries. I just want to LEARN! To absorb! I don't want to be afraid of going other places and meeting other types of people. I sometimes feel like the US Likes us to be afraid, to only feel secure within our boundraries.... especially with the terrorism. It's difficult. When we went to Canada, we saw nothing but welcoming, generous, smiling people. Eager to hear about us... where we were from, why we were there, were we enjoying ourselves? Is this the way the USA looks to outsiders? I seriously doubt it. Have we put ourselves in this class that prevents us from having that culture? I am just shocked sometimes at the one sided thoughts we have, and at the redneck people we turn out here in the good ol usa. We really need to be more open minded, and more educated about other cultures and countries. I remember once chatting with a man from Egypt online. He was my age. When he asked me what I knew about Egypt, all I knew was pyramids. The Nile. Cleopatra. I was totally ignorant. And he was furious. He asked if I thought that Egypt was still pyramids and did I think that he went to work on a camel? I honestly had never once thought of what Egypt is like. Not once. And that is so embarassing.


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Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a big fan of your blog and your flickr page. I agree so much with what you wrote on october 14 2005. I am from Mexico, I came to the US 11 years ago, when I married my husband (who is puertorican) a Marine at the time. Sometimes people misunderstand where I came from. They think in Mexico, people still dress in sarapes and hats and ride in donkeys. I DIDN'T came to this great Country because my life in Mexico was bad. I graduated as bilingual secretary. I worked with a public notary, which in Mexico, is TOTALLY diferent from here. In Mexico a public notary has to be a lawyer. The state governor chooses him/her. If he/she was a Judge before, the better. it is like a private practice. I have a nice family back in Mexico, my sister has been working for the goverment for 20 years, my brother, too.
Many times people sees me like the stereotype of the movies, sometimes those who judge me by my latin appareance or accent, don't even have a small percent of the education I had back in Mexico.
I am glad to find people like you. I have always believe that we can learn from each other, I don't see it as "differences". I see it as new things I can learn from You, and new things You can learn from Me. I really enjoy your blog, I going back to back in your "complete missions". You are a great inspiration. Take care.

Cotty Santiago

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