Tuesday, April 14, 2009

"Live, Love, Learn"

“Then she added in perfect English (and perfect Balinese logic), ‘To lose balance sometimes for love is part of living a balanced life’” (298)

Like Mary, I became (somewhat) jealous of Gilbert’s traveling: why couldn’t I, amidst all the chaos and confusion of my senior year of college, just simply go somewhere else? You know, ‘get away from it all’ just long enough to ‘find myself’? I picked the quote above because I think it blends together many of the main elements of both the novel and the course itself. First of all, as Gilbert suggests, the ‘perfection’ of the statement becomes evident in both cultures: a coming together of modern English language and Balinese thought in harmony. I know it’s probably cliché to say, but I do think that love finds a way to throw a wrench into your plans when you least expect it – chaos and confusion piled upon more piles, and in the midst of it all, love. For some people, like Gilbert, the solution to love, or even not loving, is to go three-thousand miles in the other direction, a complete one-eighty. Love in New York is hard (if you’ve ever been to one of the thousands of singles bars and/or clubs, you’d know what I mean), but I bet divorce is ten times as difficult. What do you do when the person or people you once love no longer share that emotion with you? (To thicken the theme…a little union and then disruption of the balance of marriage, symbolized by both the circular wedding ring and the removal of such an item from your hands)

All mushy stuff aside, the same can be said about the marriage of cultures. In our discussion with ‘homeland signifiers’, I am reminded of the “America” sub-discussion: i.e. America as our homelands/what is American?; thoughts of baseball, beach houses and the ‘American family with 2.2. kids come to mind, as well as Gilbert and Yudhi’s ‘American road trip’ across the Delaware-sized Bali (and their use of the words ‘dude’, ‘sweet’ and ‘[from your mother]’). I like the idea that [you] can have this (distinctly American idea of a) road trip in a place without roads (literally): it’s not where you have the road trip, but the experience you have wherever you are and with whomever you’re with. I think the same can be said for any journey, not limited to, but especially, that of ‘Liss’.

Throughout the course, we’ve gotten a chance to look into many different ‘homelands’, none of which are physically close to [my] current home of New York city. But, this course was a pleasant surprise in that regard: I didn’t know what to make of a course entitled “Post-Colonial Literature”, and I thought (please don’t hate me) that it could be ‘boring’, for lack of a better term. It was far from that, however, once I gave it a chance. Whether through blogs, service, or discussion, I found that we communicate with and interpret what ‘home’ means to us in different ways. I thank you all for being a wonderfully-surprising part of my [collegiate] life and thank you equally for allowing me to both share and see glimpses of where and what you call home.

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