Finding Inspiration in Other DimensionsSubmitted by Cassie Anderson on Sat, 04/16/2016 - 2:01pm
As I was sitting at a dining room table in an unfamiliar house in an unfamiliar city with an unfamiliar family that was my boyfriend’s, I realized something. Cultures connect the world. This is inspirational because there are other worlds out there that we don’t even realize are hidden within our own until we become part of them.
I couldn’t communicate with about half the people at the table, but a smile was universal. I also realized that there was another world within my boyfriend himself, as he slipped fluidly between English and Vietnamese to communicate with his extended family.
We can say that the world is truly connected, however as a nation we are focused on differences. Other cultures can be similar to other dimensions, scary and new, but at the same time there is so much inspiration and beauty to be found in them. Once you crack those walls, there is much to discover. Even with all my travels to Europe, I had never experienced something quite like this before, especially in my own state. It was easy to be baffled in this situation, and it was easy to experience culture shock. I was also quite anxious about this. How is it I was completely fine in France, but the minute I’m in an Asian home in the middle of Wichita, Kansas, I’m puzzled by the workings of a breakfast gathering, and, oh, my own feelings?
However, I draw inspiration from situations like this. New experiences give me fresh ideas, especially for my writing. I feel like I can take these beautiful experiences and make them into something even more dazzling. That’s what the world is: beautiful. I know I am using that word a lot, but there’s nothing more appropriate or fitting to describe these adventures. I write when I am happy, I write when I am sad, and I write when I am just bursting with creativity because I experienced something new, like should I use chopsticks to eat eggs in this situation? (or, how this glass of water is really fancy). Sometimes, I also like to picture that there is another world behind other languages – languages I don’t know. That’s how I felt at that breakfast, inspired by the language I was immersed in, but one I did not understand at all. There is something more to other cultures than just what is at the tip of the iceberg.
When I went to Europe, I regretted not writing fully about my experiences, but even though they were two years ago those moments are still fresh in my mind because they were so special to me. I can still remember eating horrible eggplant at dusk in Italy, smelling the Mediterranean Sea out the open window. So yes, I draw inspiration from other cultures, and I’d like to inspire others to as well. Travel may be expensive, but it is worth it, and sometimes you don’t even have to travel far to discover a new culture or experience – sometimes it’s just behind someone else’s front door.