Monday, February 20, 2006

Commitment

Everyone in CETP knows that I’m staying in Hungary indefinitely. It’s such a given for me that I rarely think about it. It’s enough to just have it on hold in the back of mind, that of course I’ll be here forever.

But the subject of my stay in Hungary has come up twice recently, with two different reactions. First, talking with my mum a few weeks ago. I mentioned in passing something I was going to do here next year, and her reaction was quiet, sad shock. She had assumed that I would come home after a year. Second, talking with my 5th graders today. They asked when I would go home for the summer (June), and when I would come back in the fall (August). Not if I would come back, but when. They never assumed otherwise but that I would stay for two years.

The point of this rambling is... well, I’m not quite sure. Pointless, as usual. I’m not questioning if I’ll stay here or not - that’s still a given. I guess I’m just questioning what it is about Hungary that can provoke this level of commitment from me. Mostly because I’m already anticipating having to answer the eternal question that I know I’ll hear a thousand and one times this summer: “So what is it exactly that you love so much about Hungary? Why are you staying there?”

Any ideas? Rach, any psych insights?

Song of the moment: Woke Up This Morning, by Alabama 3

1 comment:

indiana said...

My first thought is that something in the culture [verb here]s something within you, an inclination or value or preference (like an aesthetic appreciation). The reason why that verb is blank is because there are options. Perhaps it corresponds, in the way that i studied russian stuff because the russians suffer they can't define or understand life without the theme of suffering--it's not bad, and they're not sad or something, but the suffering, always there. (forgive me my broad generalizations about a rich and complex culture; think of it like an example). Suffering is a theme in my personal life, not because i've suffered in any meaningful way different from others, but because whatever suffereing there has been for me has felt meaningful to me. It is a way in which I make sense of my life (sense-making, social construction--any anthro coming back here? Education theory?).

Or the cultral stuff could compliment something about you. I am reserved (talkative, yes, but only with people I get introduced to or know, y'know) and perhaps if i were in a "tight" culture in which social activites were clearly determined but transparent to me (i.e. i'm not talking about how it would really work, because social practices are complicated BUT if i could understand clearly what i were to do, I would appreciate that more than the US where people can do a lot of weird shit, so that makes me feel like "am I doing the wrong thing" a lot).

Or it could be a "grass is greener" situation (perhaps also invoking cultural relativistic concepts, but not the problematic aspects). I am type A, uptight, and my fantasy of living in spain is fueled by a desire to "be a differnt person." I believe this means type B and i also allow myself to beleive when my feet touched the yellow-tinged soil, i would simply become laid back and at ease, even though I know that is not what it means even to be type B. I do think, when I actually think about it, that if I did go to spain, the laid-backness would create interesting contrasts and experiences for me, but i"m motivated to appreciate spain (I've publically professed my love of the country), so that might be distorted.

Of course, there are more convoluted intepretations possible. We could explore what Hungary represents for you. Or what other aspects of your choice represent (e.g. expatriate status, world traveler). Have you known people who lived abroad? Who never left their hometown? Etc...

Additioanlly, humans like continuity and consonance. So, I recall early in knowing you your "thing for Hungary." The more one professes her "things," the more they are created. The first time you said "I think I'll teach english in hungary" was a step on the path, so you staying there could be encouraged not just because you're there (although theres a point to that, we generally stick with what were doing b/c change is hard) but because you're on a trajectory that began long before you got on the plane... or started liking your students.

Thats what i've got for now. I was too rushed to explicitly include and explain the theory that informed my analysis, but I can offer an addendum if you would like. Please let me know.