nicole rademacher

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Thinking in photos

Media is like languages. For some time I have been in VideoLandia: everything I thought came out in video. Soon I visited BookLandia (and would subsequently live between the two). Now I have returned to PhotoLandia, maybe just for a visit. Perhaps I will make a mountain home here.

Here are a few thoughts from PhotoLandia:

Maybe one day they will form a community so that I will not have to change currency every time I cross a border.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Two Weeks In ...

Once again I have found myself in the cultural cross-roads. It seems that I freely choose to be in this predicament. It seems that perhaps I enjoy the difficulty. Almost two weeks and barely an English conversation. The same frustrations that I have experienced in the past have resurfaced. Yet, there is a new relationship with them. Maybe it is because I have been through similar situations, but this time I can look at it in an objective manner, or rather, from a more educated position.

Somehow I identify as a fake Spaniard, as a fake Catalan. I don't want to give up what I know, what is familiar to me. When I walk into a store my instinct is to greet everyone with "Bon día" and when I leave "Adeu". Every once in a while a word wants to come out in Catalan. I don't want to say " Buenos días." I don't want to have to re-think what comes natural to me in a Spanish speaking country. I don't want to use the choclo for corn. I don't like it. I like maíz. I like how it rolls of the tongue. "Choclo" is to choppy. Maaaaaeeeeeeeeeeez. The dipthong phonetic connection feels nice in the mouth. Not only do I not want to use the word, but I want everyone to know that I don't want to use the word, that I know and prefer a different word - as if I needed something else to help solidify my foreignness.

As if I needed something besides the slight Castillian accent and frequent errors. As if I needed something other than the slightly different gait, or preference to cross at a crosswalk, yet not wait for the light. As if I needed something other than my inability to tell the difference between a 500 peso coin and a 100 peso coin. As if I needed something other than everything that I am.

I don't want to lose my foreignness. It is part of my identity, in every culture. Sometimes it was a bit irritating when people in my home town would ask me where I was from, thinking I was even from a foreign country, but I would have probably been more offended if they thought that I was from there.

From there. From where? That is one thing that I find quite striking about Santiago. In Barcelona there were many Catalans, yet many had traveled quite a bit (if only in Europe, or the surrounding countries). Most people are from Santiago and have barely traveled. They don't find it too strange that a foreigner wants to make a home for themselves in their city, yet most (at least from what I can tell as of yet) do not feel that they would not be able to answer that question: where are you from?

For many people I know, that question is perplexing. Not only Americans, but others alike. Yet, I think that even Americans in America, well many, have trouble answering. Where do you identify your home as? With what people do you identify? While you may have been raised in one place, there are other places that are a part of your adult life. These places, at least from where you are standing now, have moulded you into who you see as yourself now much more than a place where you learned to ride your bike, yet have no visible identifying marks.

Next, I ask, why do you fight it so much? There was a point when the experience was about the experience. Now, what is the experience about?