Friday, March 30, 2007

My Own Private Academia...

Snarfed shamelessly from Sober Briquette this morning. :)

Amusing's Childhood Dreams Meme. If you are reading this, you are tagged. The objective is to give a glimpse of what your life would be like if you'd actualized your childhood dreams.


My house is an old Victorian on a tree-lined street. The rooms have hardwood floors. There is a slight musty odor in the house. Not a distasteful odor at all. It is just a very old house. A few cats and a dog roam freely and peaceably. They can usually be found asleep on the old Persian rugs or the antique furniture.

The den has two walls entirely filled with books. The rest of the room is cluttered with artifacts from my various travels throughout the world.

I am a professor of Social and Cultural Anthropology at a New England university. My course involves the investigation of myth as a foundation for cultural development. I sit with the afternoon sun streaming in through the bay window, putting the finishing touches on my third book ...

I write:

The debate over the place of science in cultural anthropology is an epistemological controversy that can be illuminated by considering the evolution of the hominid brain. The brain evolved under conditions in which cultural knowledge was stored in the biological memory of human beings by specialists such as shamans and story tellers.

Of course, I would not have been able to write such a thing except for my good fortune in studying with the best and brightest in the field. Joseph Campbell, Eric Wolf, Julian Steward and that new upstart Michelle Rosado. My shero is Elsie Clews Parsons. My PhD hangs on the wall.

I live a quiet but satisfying life. I have good friends and academic passion. I've travelled far and wide in an effort to learn more and more. The learning never ends.


Reality: In fact, my major in college was Sociology. Alcoholism intervened and I did not get a Masters Degree or a Ph D. I was a part-time student which means basically that I was going to school for a very long time. I had to work and did not qualify for any grants. However, I am inspired by those people who have gone back to college in their elder years. Who knows what decisions I might make in Thailand.




Geneviève said...

Oh! and you are alone, except a few cats and dog, in this victorian "castle?" I would imagine this big house full of friends, family, children...and of course, many servants to keep the house clean, no? But that is reality!

Actually, as soon as retired, I went back to the uiversity to pass a masters, and I had lots fun, even though to be with young students has been in some way frigthening at the beginning, but then they used to take me under their wings, I mean to protect me, to help me to find the rooms etc

Moreover, since it was a masters in French as a foreign language, there were plenty foreigner students, and it was very enriching..

QT said...

Chani - I could so see you there. You are so contemplative now, it is not a big leap.

I do wonder how you would do in the structured environment of academia? Perhaps the intellectual freedom of the PhD would sustain you. I never made it that far - just a good old BA for me, like the rest of the planet. The BA is the new high school diploma.

Yes, who knows what decisions you will make in Thailand? :)

Sober Briquette said...

Thanks for playing. I've read quite a few of these, and you know, I can imagine us all crossing paths somehow, even if these dreams had come true.

Julie Pippert said...

Oh...I can see that! Maybe I will see it. :)

I wish I had a nice slice of reality-dream like that.

I had two major dreams as a child: become a character in an LM Montgomery book or be a superspy/crime solver PI.

I know. LOL

I'll try not to leave it hanging there. I will try to blog soon about it. :)

meno said...

I absolutely love these posts. They are so sweet.

I can very much see you in this life, writing your third book. And of course there are pets. :)

Thailand Gal said...

G, I can not imagine myself in any type of "castle" at all. On a professor's salary, one better be prepared to live modestly. Also, I wouldn't be comfortable with servants and such. Just not my style.

Oh, you are one who went back! That's awesome! :)


QT, I think I would have been okay with it but it's always hard to say. It's never been tested but I suspect the PhD would have given me enough freedom to satisfy me.

I also have only a bachelor's and it's a miracle I got even that far. LOL

The thought of going back to the university has always been in the back of my mind. I think I'd be more comfortable at Khon Kaen University than I would at any here.


De, we probably would have. In fact, I'm fairly certain we might have crossed paths in some manner.


Julie, please do blog about it. This is such an interesting series.! We all had so many aspirations when we were young. Too bad life comes along and derails us sometimes ~ but I think there are very few who actually know so young what to do.


Meno, oh... yes. Pets. Definitely pets! :)

I secretly harbor (well not so secret anymore. I'm writing it on the Internet.. :) a hope that one day I can write a first book. If I am successful in what I am doing, it might end up being an interesting sociological story. Very few people "get" what I am doing from a sociological perspective. Adopting a foreign culture as my own and living it without external reinforcement in my immediate environment is a definite test of some sociological principles which say basically.. it ain't possible.

We'll see.

(It's not that this is all some weird experiment concocted in my head. It's very, very real to me.. but I still look at it with at least a minor degree of sociological distance.)





Lucia said...

What a lovely life you're projected from your childhood. Walls filled with books. Artifacts. Investigation of myth. Streaming sun. Beautiful!

Thailand Gal said...

test ~ (Someone told me blogger is kicking her out of the comments section.)

Rude comment section!

Bad comment section!

Slap, slap.


Suzy said...

Childhood dreams manifested, based on an autobiography I wrote in 5th grade:

I am living on the Isle of Skye, in one of those whitewashed cottages with a thatched roof, surrounded by (what else?) a cottage garden -- delphiniums and foxgloves, primrose and poppies. I have many cats, and I make my living as an artist. I am a weaver, a children's book illustrator and a potter. (I definitely know that the potter image came from an old National Geographic magazine; I can close my eyes and picture the very photograph.) I live alone, except for my cats. (I must have formulated this life vision before I woke up to the existence of boys.) Shelves full of books, a whole case with just children's books: Kate Greenaway, Beatrix Potter, Maurice Sendak, Margot Zemach, and more. Tea -- with milk and sugar, of course -- by the fireside and long rambles over the green hills. I'm going to throw in some sheep, for good measure.Wild cuckoos calling.

That's it.

I've been back in school part time for a while, getting a Master's degree in Library Science.It's hard being an older student. I'm pretty sure that once this is finished, I won't get any more advanced degrees.Maybe I'll move to Scotland to run a library ...

flutter said...

Oh I just love this!

liv said...

Chani, Somehow I want you to be more free than in a stoney East Coast environment. There is something a bit more wild about your sensibility that seems to sing "don't fence me in!" to me. I could be totally wrong! I'd rather you in Thai silks and sandals bustling about and exploring. It suits my adulthood dream for you more!

jen said...

oh, I liked this a lot...i would want to go to school there.

Geneviève said...

Oh! my old eyes and my poor english: I thought it was the house of your dreams, not a university! which strangely looks like the one where I have been in my twenties.... Lately, it was in a ugly new modern new one, with no charm at all. But going back to school feels very good when you notice that your old neurones still work perfectly well...And I kept enjoying also to watch all the twenties' students, how they were dressed, such unconventional and fancy way. Feeling incongruous there, I first came to approach a Japonese young student, as foreigner as I could feel, and we became friends. Then quickly, all those young students have been very kind to me, and I was feeling comfortable, moreover when they would tell me "tu" and no longer "vous". I must say that the profs who were younger than me for the most, were no that comfortable with me!

Susanne said...

Of all those childhood dreams I've read about this one speaks to me the most. I once studied cultural and social anthropology, I have a M.A. (in music education), almost finished my Ph.D. and have dreamed about becoming a professor (with cats) for about 15 years of my life.

I loved stuying but I didn't like academia (and the academic job market).

At least there are two things from this dream that you're living now: you're immersed in a different culture than yours and you're writing. And you don't even have to deal with students or department politics...

MsLittlePea said...

Sounds good. I'll need a day to think sbout that before I do mine. The only thing I remember dreaming about for my future as a kid was getting Malibu Barbie and wishing my imaginary friend would come to life.

I so badly want to go back to college and finish.