The human mind is capable of some amazing things. Whether I’d like to admit it or not, sometimes even mine is. They say you learn something new every day, but the way people learn is completely different. Our “education” (to use the word in its informal meaning, what we have learned thus far, as opposed to the institutions we all had our brains rot away at) experiences are different from person to person. Everyone has their own way of learning, and their own experiences that got them to where they are today. My experiences are a bit different than my partner’s, and his is a bit different than his mother’s, and hers a bit different from her brother, etc. We’ve all got different learning experiences. Mine goes a bit like this.
Those who are reading this that know me in person is going to be baffled that I’m saying this. But church was a major learning point for me. At one point, I was a very staunch Christian. I would go to church three times a week, went to a Christian school, never say the ‘fuck’ word, and only listen to Christian music.
Photo CC by Trey Ratcliff
Thing is though, and I’m not trying to insult Christians by any means. Believe what you want to believe. But, getting away from church was my first great learning experience. It was when I started asking questions that I started doubting my faith. I realized that this was a problem. When I asked questions, and couldn’t find a logical answer for the stuff I was believing, I realized what I was doing was wrong. So…I started asking questions, leading me away from the church and towards my new learning experiences.
I know this is going to sound fuckin’ hilarious (especially after reading the first experience), but the band Showbread had a huge effect on me and my learning experience. Now, for those of you that don’t know (I’m going to go ahead and assume most if not all of you) who that is. They are a Christian rock band, and at the time I was listening, they had just come out with an album called “No Sir, Nihilism Is Not Practical.” Now, gradeschool me had no idea what the hell ‘nihilism’ was, or what quite a few of the words in the songs meant.
Photo CC by Matt— Yeah…I learned vocabulary from this guy….
Thing was…this band actually taught me things. Like the fact that I fucking love Franz Kafka. They have this song called “Sampsa Meets Kafka” which is about just that. The lyrics for the entire song are as follows: “Gregor starved to death, no one dies of loneliness…” And that’s it. Naturally, I wanted to know more, so a quick search on le Interwebz led me “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka. I then knew who Gregor was, and also that I was a bit of an existentialist who went from six to midnight for existentialist literature. This brings me to my next topic….
Whenever I step foot in a book store, I am overwhelmed with the urge to buy absolutely every book that has pages. Albert Camus is my HOMEBOY. In fact, I even forced my partner in crime into buying his book The Stranger. It’s a piece of genius that I have been allowed to grace my stupid little corneas with by all that is holy. Also, like Mr. Kafka, Camus is a master at what folks like to call “literary genius” and “everything amounts to the same: nothing. So you should kill yourself. Or maybe an Arab. FOR NO REASON. Because, why not?”
SO. The first book I really got into was Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelson…and man. After that, I was sold. You couldn’t keep a book out of my hands. It got to the point where my parents would complain because they never saw me, and if they did, I was on some crazy rant about how stupid/intelligent the main characters of said novels were. As a result, I branched out into other genres, aside from YA novels and existentialists. I went to sci-fi and fantasy. So sue me. I became an even bigger dweeb when I got into The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia thinking, “OH MY GODS. THIS IS SOOOOO COOOOL.” My mum still had The Lord of the Rings from when she was in high school, still in pristine condition from never being read. Poor dears. Got that fixed right away though. When the movies came out…I wanted to cry I was so happy. Peter Jackson did a really nice job for the most part
Photo posted by Ry-Spirit on Deviant Art (no CC…but credit where it’s due, check their art out on their DA account! :D)
ANYWAY. Back on topic. Now, I’m reading the Dragonriders of Pern books, which are amazing. Those of you that have read them probably saw that I stole a bit of the lore for my “About Me” section, which is completely true. *cough*
So, as a kidlet, I had a job and nothing to spend my money on. So I shoved it all in a bank for college. That didn’t work. At all. At my job, we had a few Slovaks come in and work. They were all amazing. We told them all we would visit them in their own country and they laughed and we laughed and then went to visit them in their home country. I had saved up the money on accident, but it worked in my favor. I got to miss a month of class at the dreaded Dubois High School all while experiencing a ton of ‘firsts’ for me. I was fifteen at the time, and experienced my first time getting drunk, my first tattoo, my first time holding the beautiful creatures that are tarantulas, my first time out of the country, my first time being in churches the size of my town, and my first time on some historically significant places. On our trip, we went to Slovakia, Austria, Hungary, and the Czech Republic, which are all places that would make any history buff go from six to midnight (do you get it yet?). That’s not all though, Costa Rica gave me some interesting experiences, too. I went to go zip-lining in the rain forest, spent a couple of weeks with a host family, the parents of which were archaeologists who smiled all the time, and my host brother who was obnoxiously good at beat boxing. I love them.
But, the biggest experience of all was spending an entire academic school year in China. IT WAS AMAZING. I was there to study the language, but mostly what I did was make friends, completely immersed in the Chinese culture. I did walk out of there almost fluent, but lost a lot of it coming home to the States. I spent the entire year learning how the innermost workings of the Chinese family went, and I grew immensely close with my host sister and host mother while I was there. The culture was so different from everything that I was used to. I felt like I was five again, learning to read, write, and not be rude to the people who I asked to pass the soy sauce. Before I sound too racist, every family uses soy sauce as much as every United States family uses salt. My best friends while I was there was Shu Hao (an English major at the local college), Katty (a bad ass Swiss girl whose grandmother was exceedingly famous), and David (a fellow American who was just as obnoxious as I was) , and I probably learned the most from these folks. My host family gave me the name Zhou Ke Han, which means ‘beautiful’ and ‘virtue of patience.’ They were too kind. I think the reason they gave me that name though is because I would eat anything put in front of me. Even these.
Don’t believe me? Here’s proof.
Yep. That happened. Felt no need to caption these…they were taken on my camera.
5. My Stupid Boyfriend
I don’t think he’s stupid. But anyway…before this sounds corny, there is a reason I am involving him in my learning experiences. I had a lot of…dead ends. He changed that. Since as long as I can remember, I’ve hated myself. That’s why I escaped into books. Yes, I know this sounds corny as fuck. But it’s true. Don’t know why. It’s just a thing. But he helps out with that. He makes me feel important. Like I actually matter. More importantly, he’s a butt. Particularly when I have homework. I’m pretty lazy and irresponsible, if you couldn’t tell from my other posts. He helps keep me on track by bothering the ever-living-shit out of me until I get on track. I don’t know how he does it, but he does. It’s pretty amazing how he’s able to pry me off of FFXIV (I’m starting a thaumaturge, already hit fifty on a white mage. Kinda proud of that. Not gonna lie) to start doing my homework. Then, I can’t really say no when he gives me that stupid look of his.
Photo by Glandomenico Pizzo