Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Dharma

One more day until India and I am getting antsy. Five days at sea starts to drag on and on and on. I don't know what I'm going to do when I've got NINE days between Japan and Hawaii. Just write lots of blogs, I suppose.

As we approach India we've been learning about the Hindu religion in Global Studies. In particular we learned about the various gods. There is Vishnu, the peaceful organizer of all things. Then there is Shiva, the blue god with dread locks who creates and destroys all at once. His accomplice is this bull named Nandi, his "vahanda"- which means "way of getting around". There are many others. The guest lecturer told us to read "Hindu for Idiots", because it explains it all and she as a Hindu herself learned a lot from the book. For some reason that cracks me up. I am fascinated by this religion. I think what stuck with me the most is the part about "dharma" which is a Hindi word meaning "purpose".

I think I know my dharma in life. And that would be: to write blogs, be a top-notch counselor, have babies, get married, work hard, own a home, and be a warm, loving and generous friend.

Not in any particular order. Deepak Chopra also taught me to be detached from the outcome, so I'm just letting the cards fall as they may.

Here is a photo of some of my co-workers at lunch. We pulled a bunch of tables together. Brad and Mark were so far away from me, so I put my hands around my mouth like a megaphone and shouted "Helloooooo down there! Brad, could you pass the saaaaaalt?" I don't even think the people at the other end knew we were taking a picture, because some of them in back are looking out to sea:
And here is a close up of Sarah and me:
Right after lunch yesterday, we saw dolphins flipping right outside the ship! I tried to get a shot, but they were too quick. Hey Dad- I wish I would have remembered to have you bring your binoculars to the Bahamas. That is the one thing I forgot to bring on this voyage.

In case you're wondering, I did cut my hair. We are at like 2 degrees North latitude and it is hot around here, so I wanted it off my neck. Here is a photo I just took with my computer. Isn't it amazing what Macs can do these days?
When at sea for days at a time, between my meetings with students, I find all these fun ways to entertain myself, like taking photos with my computer and tilting the screen at different angles to change the effects.

Speaking of entertainment, I think I mentioned before a game called "Mafia". I wanted to explain it a little bit more, because it is really really fun and I hope you guys will all play with me when I get back to NYC. Here's how: There is one facilitator. Everyone else sits in a circle. Cards are dealt. If you get one of 3 jokers, you are the Mafia. If you get the Queen of Hearts, you are the Doctor. If you get the Ace of Spades, you are the Detective. If you get any other card you are a "townsperson". The objective is for the mafia to kill all the townspeople and for the townspeople to figure out who the mafia are and to avoid being killed. Everyone puts their heads down and "goes to sleep". The facilitator asks the Mafia to wake up and the three of them collectively decide who to kill by pointing. Then they put their heads down. Then the Doctor wakes up. The Doctor may save one person of his/her choice. Then the Detective wakes up and may find out the identity of one person of his/her choice.

Next comes daytime. Everyone wakes up. The Facilitator reports to the group who was killed (or saved, depending on whether the doctor made the right choice). Then the discussion is wide open. "I think it's Laurie, because she looks suspicious." "I think it's Andrea because she has been reeeeeeally quiet." "I'm the detective and I know it's not Laurie." (You can choose whether to reveal yourself or not. But then you risk the mafia killing you off.) The discussion is organic and anything can be said during the "daytime". The townspeople may also vote to kill off people if they suspect they are mafia.

This goes on for several rounds of night-time killings and daytime discussions, until either the three mafia are dead or all the townspeople are dead.

It is such a cool game, because it is a team activity, yet you're uncertain who is really on your team. You have to use your judgement and pay attention to non-verbal cues, like the person next to you shuffling in his/her seat at night to determine who is mafia and who is not. You can lie. You can bluff. You can use your best poker face. To mix it up, we all played in our alter-egos. I was Dominique, so I spoke wiz zee French accent. Eet eez fun zees way!

Other than that it's just more global studies and such. I think I wrote about all of the faculty/staff adopting a "family" at sea. Most people have like 4 kids and for some reason I have 10. And then last night my "son" Bobby decided to bring 3 extra people to dinner, so now I have 13 kids who run around the ship calling me "Mom".

It's so weird here.

Oh- and let's not forget the crazy dreams the malaria drugs are giving me. They are so.....vivid. Maybe I'll write more about them later. I wake up feeling like Indiana Jones. One minute I'm running from huge rolling boulders and the next minute I'm on the football field, in high school in my majorette uniform.

Told you they are weird.....

AUGHGHGH! Are we in India yet?

Dear Vishnu: Please preserve some Cosmic order and get me around the world in one piece so I can fulfill my Dharma!!!!!

2 comments:

Kat said...

Enjoy India! you are right about the days at sea dragging...those 9 days will be a challenge but you'll be exhausted and may need the time to recoop.

I want to hear about the Sea Olympics! :)

Dara said...

OMG....Vishnu is totally my god....Organizer? He's for me!!