My first official blog post…here goes –
Just a little bit about myself – I’ve just started my PhD in Hispanic Studies at the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures here at Western. I spent the last six years getting a Bachelors and Masters degree in the same discipline at the University of Delhi, India. Strange as it may sound at first, yes, there are a considerable number of people interested in the Hispanic world in India. The Hispanic Studies departments at the two major public universities in the Capital – JNU and DU – have been around for roughly thirty years. The courses there encourage a multidisciplinary outlook: be it literature, translation, linguistics, didactics, commerce. This is where I grew up, so to speak, learning a bit of everything.
As of today I have completed 4 weeks at the CulturePlex Lab and it’s been an interesting start to the year, to say the least. For a kid coming from New Delhi – a city with probably the highest density of perpetually teenage Facebookers – this place has been a revelation. Everything is in constant motion here. Everyone is connected at all times. The innovative projects that we work on at the Lab are beyond exciting – which for me is a considerable change from my previous university experience. Because let’s face it, the main reason I used the DU website was to look up the next National holiday, and the dreaded end-of-term journey to the ‘results’ page.
Whereas here, the possibilities of what you can accomplish with one machine are staggering. The classes, the teaching, the ideas and projects – everything made so much more dynamic. Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have an amazing team at the lab to guide you through everything. After a crazy day of back to back classes I can almost imagine my neighbour, David going, “Worry not, young grasshopper. I am here to guide you to the light.” Or my other super-chilled-out neighbour, Roberto saying, “¡Pura vida!” every time he sees my crazed look. Seriously, I’ve been here a month and not once have I gotten homesick…which of course could also mean I’m a horrible person, but I haven’t had the time for introspection yet.
One thing that concerns me at times is my ‘inner Desi‘ unleashing itself at the most inopportune moments. Like in the Spanish for Beginners class where I’m to only speak English or Spanish. So of course that’s where I accidentally pepper my lecture with ‘achha’, ‘theek hai’ and ‘kya hua?’ and then wonder why they stare at me all funny. Juggling between three languages is hard, you guys. So the only solution as I see it, is that everyone at the Lab learns a bit of Hindi. But since I’m not exactly homesick yet, I guess it’s OK for now. But the one person I am truly grateful to for tolerating my garbled Hin-span-glish and strange Desi ways is Natalia. I’m sorry you have to go through that. And I’m sorry for pinching you the other day because you got a new laptop – it’s kind of our way to congratulate someone and celebrate their shiny new goodies by causing them pain and suffering. #CulturalDifferences
Anyway, what I’m saying is, even though everything was new, different and scary at first – innumerable emails, endless barrage of vital information, crazy college traditions, strange classroom practices – it’s great to be part of a team that makes me feel like I belong. Thanks guys