I had to pack up two years worth of stuff in my studio space today because our program is painting/remodeling the space. I didn’t want to have to do this until the actual end of my stay here, but I guess I should really start adjusting to the fact that even though I will be in Doha for roughly six more months I’m really just in a place of transition.. wrapping up the space helped me identify some of the more meaningful things I have collected during my stay. I was even pleasantly surprised when the flowers I pressed more than a year ago fell out of one of the textbooks I was packing into a box.. I pressed them because they are the same blossoms I grew up with in Kuwait.
I know most people don’t need tangible manifestations of their experiences with people and places to retain a sense of them, but I do.. and its incredibly important to me to hold onto these things as witnesses of my life narrative, or something like that 😉
Over the past few months I’ve gotten really close to a fellow grad student. She has become my confidant and partner in crime. I don’t think I’ll ever share the same kind of relationship with another person.. I just wanted to make sure my rarely used blog has this moment in its archives, so when after grad school I’m blessed again with the luxury of time I can go back and explain more how great it is to have a true friend like her.
Today is the is the 6th day of the 3rd week of our last semester (Inshallah). Its ticking away so quickly..
I know this is rough, but its the first time I’ve ever used my new Genius tablet.. its really nice actually.. and its only a sketch of an idea, not the actualization of it.
The idea I got today was physical gestures as means of communication and connection. If you make a small circle movement using the upper hand on the lower hand this Arab hand gesture means “die of envy!”.. as you can imagine small little Arab girls use this often, and it is one of the first gestures I ever learned as a kid..
While I was complaining one day to one of my closest friends about the black and white nature of my emotions, he suggested that perhaps I should consider myself on more of a gradient, perhaps that would be easier to bear..
Obviously not all the work I am doing for my thesis is sketches and experiments, a great deal or it is reading and note taking. I’m really liking my new notebook. Above are the notes I took from a book that focused on the very first and most important relationship in most peoples lives; their relationship with their mothers. Everything I’ve read on the topic is fascinating. This isn’t the first time I’ve been interested in exploring this relationship either, clip here to see my photographic project on the same topic.
This year at VCUQ I was able to do something I’d been wanting to do for a long time, which was working with people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. At the beginning of the year I joined Best Buddies of Qatar where I was paired with the sweetest soul I could ever ask for as a friend. I can’t fully express right now how or why meeting and working with Aisha represent a step in the direction of my thesis, but I know it belongs in my 60 day challenge. I’m just not ready to talk about it yet.
There we sat, the five of us, on the last day of our field study, in a Muslim run Italian restaurant in the heart of Amsterdam. Not wanting the night to end one of us suggested a game of truth or dare. However after reviewing the types of dares that might be suggested we decided to stick with playing our slightly modified version of the traditional game. It was that game that finally allowed us to put down the masks we so desperately clung to every day of our lives. For a short while in Amsterdam we allowed ourselves to be seen as exactly who we are.
Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
It wasn’t until a few weeks after Amsterdam that I realized that I wanted to change my thesis direction. It wasn’t until after the semester had ended that I found this image from my trip to Amsterdam. Out of all the totem poles in that park I only photographed that one, I only cared about that one.. It seems to me looking back on a great many things in my life that I’ve always been headed in the same direction. Perhaps its time I stopped worrying about where I am going and starting trusting that I’ll get there regardless.
Sometime last year I decided I was going to experience everything I could possibly experience in one lifetime.. as part of that decision I am constantly poking my nose into places that look interesting. This week at VCUQ I witnessed a Kimono demonstration by a very lovely, soft spoke, Japanese women. I hadn’t realized that the Murakami exhibit was part of events that will be going on all year to celebrate the 40 year relationship between Qatar and Japan. Also this week I stopped by to see what the freshmen from both VCU-Richmond and VCU-Qatar had put together as part of the Richmond’s students visit to Qatar. I love it when students take over the hallways and feel free enough to claim their school as their own.. lets hope they create more chances to do so!
Well, here I am.. the first day of grad school, sitting at my desk in the MFA design studio. I’ve spent months picturing this day, this place, how it would be, if I’d ever really get here. We had our orientation this morning and we had a chance to meet with all the faculty and staff that will be helping us along during our journey over the next two years. Everyone was just so nice, there is a really pleasant atmosphere about the place. It’s amazing how easily you can tell the people who absolutely love their job from those who just do it for the money (or who have slowly grown bored with things). I can tell for certain that all my professors are passionate about what they do, and that reassures me that I chose the right program to apply to. I can’t wait to get started with some design projects.
We actually have our first class in an hour so I’m going to take a break and eat my lunch. More updates later.