Tag Archives: India

The Before I Die Project

28 Jan

Photos By Subtext Projects

“[Artist Candy Chang] transformed a wall of [Dallas based East/West] Galleries into a giant chalkboard stenciled with the phrase, “Before I die I want to _____.” People can use chalk to write on the wall and remember what is important to them. This project is also about sharing and discovering the hopes and aspirations of the people around you. In addition to the gallery show, Before I Die is being installed on neglected buildings in New Orleans in hopes of improving both our physical environment and our individual well-being while understanding our neighbors in a different and enlightening way.”

via CandyChang.com

I came across the above fascinating art installation today.  And I love that it’s being installed on neglected buildings in New Orleans.  I kinda wish I had one on my wall, for myself, for my friends and family… it’s such an intensely connecting concept.  I kind of think it’s appropriate that the proclamations are made in chalk as well.  I like knowing it’s okay to change my mind about what’s important, but I don’t have to.  I wonder if I could fill up an entire wall myself?

Here’s a few things I think I’d scratch out:

  • Before I die I want to touch someone’s heart and mind with my writing.
  • Before I die I want to watch my nephews and niece grow up.
  • Before I die I want to visit India.
  • Before I die I want to take care of those that have taken care of me.
  • Before I die I want to read thousands and thousands more books.
  • Before I die I want to eat pancakes at the White House.

Yah, OK, so that last one might be a stretch. (Unless the Obama’s are actively looking for brunch guests, in which case, do put me down)  It still sounds like fun!  The truth is there are probably thousands of things I could put on my wall.  Big and small, simple and outlandish. I’ve never been short on dreams.  The real question for me is not, WHAT do I want to do before I die, but HOW do I make those things happen.  I’m afraid that wall might look a bit more messy.  My plans are never step by step, this leads to that.  Life intervenes, and we skip ahead and fall backwards and jump to another wall altogether, all the while scribbling notes in the margins and wondering if this is really what we want after all.  For me, the messiness of the process is part of the joy of life.

But now I’m curious…what would be on your wall?

India

24 Jun

This weekend has given me the opportunity to do alot of thinking about what I want out of life.  After realizing I’ve not been fulfilled working simply to get by and my yearning for travel and cultural understanding has gone unfed, I’ve made the decision to spend 4 to 6 weeks next year volunteering in India.  I decided to do the volunteer program after deciding I wanted more than just the cursory tourist experience.  The task of finding the best program is still a bit daunting, but I’m confident that the decision at least is the right one. 

 In preparation for the trip I will be learning Hindi, one of many national languages of India, including English. I’ve already began to fall in love with the beautiful Devarangari script.  Allthough speaking Hindi is in no way a requirement for any of the programs, I feel it will give me a better opportunity to understand the people I am working to help and their needs and desires.

 My goal is to do a trip a year, to different countries or areas and to become a global advocate and public speaker for global issues when I return in my spare time.  It’s also something I hope to incorporate seamlessly into my writing.

 I just feel the sting of how easily we as Americans, sit within our four walls and are so disconnected from the world at large, the suffering that is taking place is so easy to push out of our minds.  I feel the need to do something to address that.

 Why India?  I’m not exactly sure where my fascination with India began, but it has not diminished over the years that I have been aware of it.  The opportunities I’ve had to meet natives of India and hear their stories have been fascinating.  And these have been the lucky ones.  The well off ones who have come to the US.  Within their stories are horrors of sexual inequality and social systems that make helping their own people difficult.  But for many in India hunger, unemployment, and an inate sense of an inability to help oneself are commonplace. 

I’m also fascinated by the religions and cultures of the different regions of India.  The history, colors, spices and fabrics as well as rituals and rites that are worlds apart from what we know here in the United States.

I hope to spend part of my time in Delhi and part of my time in rurul Dharamsala were I will also be exposed to the Tibetian culture as it is the home of the exiled government of Tibet and the Dalai Lhama. 

I’m not sure exactly when the trip will take place.  Things will have to be worked out with my job and fundraising.  But I’m hoping for sometime next summer.

I’d love to hear your comments and thoughts on this endeavor, and any suggestions or advice you might have for me.

Live Well!

Rebekah

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