Orientation was Great!

Trip Start Jul 04, 2008
Trip End Aug 09, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Texas
Thursday, July 3, 2008

So the two day crash course on India is over. It has been amazing! Fulbright has flown people from all over the world to give us lectures. Many of them are professors sharing some of their interesting research. We've learned about the education system, the "Call Center Phenomenon" from the Indian perspective, the lanugauge of Hindi, MRI research, women in India, art and culture, and Islam. My brain hurts after these two days....and we'll recieve more once we're in India. I'm so nervous for my flight tomorrow morning! It will be what it will be I guess.

After dinner tonight we went to watch this phenomenon in Austin with bats. Apparently they have the largest bat popluation in North America and everynight millions of them fly out from this bridge. It was a sight to see.

Yes, what looks like clouds are bats!


Some caught up close:

One of the last lecures today was on Islam. It was really very interesting. Two things stood out to me. One is about a story of Moses walking through the jungle. Here are my notes from the lecture.

Moses walking through jungle and hears Christ from one direction and there he sees a small hut and hears Christ in it. Realizes there's an elderly man in the hut and speaking to God, he's saying he's complaining about how God has never came down to the hut and given him company. Moses barges in the hut and confronts man. Thunder is heard. God says...what are you doing Moses? Don't you know that I am not contained in heaven or in hell but in the heart of all my creation. You have no right to judge others by the standards of your own devotion.

I think this is a nice perspective going into India. Also, he then talked about Qawwalies which are an important component of devotional traditions. Here is one he showed us on youtube!

The singer is talking about how the love of God makes a person wander from place to place. How appropriate considering the journey I'm about to take. She also never refers to God by name, but by Yaar which means dear friend. In Islam God is someone who is extremely intimate with us. The literal translation of the two verses in the song are:

"My friend has made me go from door to door. He made His abode where there are no walls"
"In order to see Himself He made us into mirrors"

I can't wait to see and learn more! India here I come!
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