Friday, September 12, 2014

Pay it Forward

Joinville from my window
We have all heard of various Pay it Forward (PIF) projects where you do something for people and they in return do something for someone else.
As a part of the US-Brazil Connect program I am required to complete a PIF project focused on culture or language. As an artist, I naturally chose to create and share some art. I am still working on this project and plan to for a little while, since my response to Brazil will be quite in depth and large and I still am not sure where it will go. I also expect my creative response to continue for some time.

My Project

I am creating artwork based on my experience in Brazil. Much of this work is in progress and still in sketch form. I have also been journaling a lot about Brazilian culture, my experience and Portuguese.
As of now some of the topics I am exploring include art, music, African diasporan culture, relationships between men and women, women’s roles, women’s beauty, religion, non-suggestive physical affection and more.
Joinville Rooftops

Artwork and Sharing

I created several drawings while I was in Joinville and had them in an exhibition in Brasilia for a month after. I am now taking these drawings and sharing them on YouTube and in my Blog. I will be uploading one or two short videos per day and creating a post every other week, so it is difficult to say when it will be finished. As I post them I will share them on Facebook, Twitter and other social media sites.

How To Follow My Brazil Response

I also have linked several blog posts to US-Brazil Connect's website.

The part for this assignment that has been completed so far can be seen on my Art+ Blog and on my YouTube Chanel Felicia Follum. Check back regularly to see new additions. You can also see my art responses to India and other travel. Check in the side bar.


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Stranger Danger and Facebook

Why I don't add strangers on Facebook.

As a disclaimer: I am not the average 250 close friend Facebook user. I love people and diverse groups of people. I love followers and even follow people with interesting posts or art. So feel free to follow or message me on my personal page and like my art page.

But to the pointfugas of this post...

I have several reasons why I dont add people I don't know on Facebook.

First, it's my page so others don't get to choose who I do and don't add. I don't like it when people try to get me to do things I don't want to do. It makes me uncomfortable when people ask over and over. Once is enough...if I say let's just chat, then let's just chat.

Second, I really prefer to use Facebook for staying in touch with friends who have moved or I have moved away from. I also love  staying in touch with people who I have met during my travels.

Now I also have Facebook friends from high school (or before) that I don't talk to often. They may Facebook stalk me every now and then or like a post here and there, but I don't need random people that I have completely forgotten exist stalking my page in a few years.  That's not what my Facebook is about.

Third, it can be a safety thing. People are not always who they say they are...I have a friend (family) who is in prison and uses facebook. He added my friends little sister. She accepted because she saw I was friends with him. A few months later I sent her his mug shot saying that he was in prison for rape. And he lived only a few hours from her (his profile info was 90% fake). She immediately deleted him. Granted this is an extreme, but it still happens. No matter how much I trust someone they still know crazies and may even be friends with one. I don't like the idea of strangers friends adding me or seeing my info. I don't like that there is a good chance your friends even good people will begin to add me and then begin to say things like "you added such and such, so you need to add me."

Ok, yes, I do have friends that I have never met. Most are friends of friends or artists. Very few are language buddies. And none asked to be friends before I knew anything about them.

But lets go back to my first reason. These are all people who have respected me and my boundaries. We have chatted for some time (often 6 or more months) and I consider them friends, which takes me to the second point. I considered them friends before adding them. I can tell you their name, where they are from, what they like to do and more.

these are just a few of my reasons.

So my answer is still "no, I will not accept you random friend request" but we can chat on here facebook. And please do not ask again.

Before I get accused of being mean, again, I do love followers and even follow people with interesting posts or art just because. I also like to meet new artists and interesting people. If you are an artist and would like to collaborate or are someone who wants to know more about my art, dont hesitate to message me and explain who you are. As I woukd have the respect to do if I wete messaging you.

So feel free to follow or message me on my personal page and like my art page.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

More Women

In progress women paintings.
I'm still getting back into the groove of things.  You may be thinking that it's taking me a while to adjust. And it is. But keep in mind we also moved to another state in a very different region of the country.

Now that I am back I am excited to start creating artwork again. People seemed to really like the women n sarees that I painted. I also like to paint them which is convenient. So I am continuing with this theme of women and the mixing of cultures...can't wait to share some new stuff.

The photos shows a few of my in progress paintings.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

10 Facts You Didn't Know About Me

Joinville, Brazil
One of the assignments for Us-Brazil Connect was to write 10 facts. To see more about my time in and my art in response to Brazil check out these posts.

1. I only eat certain foods in even numbers.
2. I can fit my entire fist into my mouth.
3. I knocked out 5 teeth as a child.
4. I want rear-ended a police officer and totaled my car.
5. I've been in two serious golf cart accidents.
6. I've been to Mexico, Haiti, India, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, but live in a state that borders Canada and have not been there yet.
7. When I travel I want to learn about a culture and the lives of people rather than see every tourist attraction
8. I lived in the woods for four months total and hiked 20-40 miles per week. For two of those months I have no running water or electricity.
9. I recently developed an addiction to studying language.
10. I sincerely believe that art can change lives!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Dhanyavaad Doston: Saudades pt. 2

Interestingly while in Brazil I didn't find myself missing American culture or dealing with culture shock becuase Brazil was so different from the US.

See Dhanyavaad Doston Pt 1. Here

My culture shock for the first few weeks was that I was around too many Americans, in a mall several times per week, surrounded by people flaunting their money, around too much English (haha yeah, I was around more Hindi with you guys than I was portuguese for a couple weeks), couldn't really take my shoes off indoors and couldn't eat with my hands. The food was not spicy which I night I added several teaspoons of hot sauce to Arabian food...and I was saying things like "bahut obrigada" and "muito dhanyavaad." And I'm still not convinced that I know how to convey the meaning of "thik hai" with the head bob in Brazilian culture.

The second part of my trip, however,  was a very different experience. I was able to experience many of the challenges I crave with travel. I was around no english for most of it. Some days I had a translator for workshops and seminars and such but evenings and mornings there was typically no english. After 5 days of no English, my brain could actually think in Portuguese which was incredible...I really did and still do love Brazil. The food may not have been spicy, but it was delicious and flavorful. And I know y'all like to claim to like sweets...but y'all ain't got nothin' on Brazilian sweets.

But anyways this post isn't about Brazil. It's about being homesick from you all...

I knew I was a bit crazy about and may have been excessively-fascinated with Indian culture. But I didn't quite realize how much the last year was impacted by you guys. I didn't expect being away from your culture to be as challenging as it was. I am so thankful you let me genuinely experience life with you all....I will miss you all and always have a space in my heart for you and your culture. One day I hope to really experience Indian culture again and really gain a grasp on Hindi...

Português has a word, saudade, it's used to describe the emptiness when something or someone has gone away. It is certain that I am having this experience for you all...

Eu tenho saudades pra vocês...beijos e abraços!


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Esperar - To Hope: Quando as Coisas Não Funcionam

People in brazil have a strangely beautiful and amazing ability to wait patiently and maintain relaxed when things não funcionam.

I talked to a man on a bus about this. I pondered "eu não entendo como pesoas em brazil tem muitos patience. É muito interesante pra mim."

I'm pretty sure this man ended up missing his flight because the bus didn't come on time. Yet...
We calmly talked about brazillian patience, lack of function, and a myriad of other topics for over an hour (em Português, I might add). 

Em los estados unidos pesoas....grrrr (meu mao português at work here...)..." In the US we want our money back if we stand, waiting, almost two hours for food.

But, I suppose it is rare that we would ever wait that long in the first place. We refuse to pay and walk out long before the 30 minute marker. 

If something goes wrong we get angry and try to get the priority service we paid for. After all we either earned or deserve it.  

At the end of out conversation, I think this man and I came to the conclusion that Brazilians are used to things não está funcionando so there is "no problem" and a backup plan will come along so that eventually things will work out even if they don't work... But Brasileiros sabem that eventually it all works out and not staying relaxed doesn't help.

If you wait through, it will all work out, even if it doesn't function properly or work. 
Se você tem patience, todas as coisas vão funcionar, mesma que ele não funciona direito.

I will end this post with a message I sent my husband while I was waiting for a delayed airplane with some Spanish-speaking imagrants coming to Pasco to work...

"well a cool fact...Portuguese and Spanish both use the verb esperar. It means "to hope" but is used for "to wait" as well. So you are literally hoping for something or someone. I like it. I think it shows insight into the hopeful mentality and patience Latin Americans have...anyways back to hoping :) love you"

Friday, August 8, 2014

24 Hours: No English

Its been 24 hours and my brain is kinda freaking out. I'm exhausted and feel like I am a major pain in the ass because people have to explain everything several times and the tension and the frustration and knowing I'm bad at Portuguese is is making it more difficult to understand, speak and recal what I do know...

Por outro lado, eu gosto la experiência porque é unique e eu sai que eu vou crescer mas que todas las otras situações em Brazil. Eu vou aprender mais português. Os pesoas tem muitos patience comigo também. Elles são fantásticos. 

My portuguese is atrocious and its frustrating because I want to connect with people deeper but I can't because the words must be simplified so much. Even my thoughts in English are being dumbed down.
meus pensamentos em português são ideias complexas. Eu adoro la experiência é acredito que eu vou aprender muito coisas sobra la Brazilian cultura so observando. E eles falan que meu português é bom pra dois meses. E eu mais o menos concordo. Tenho muitos feliz e sorrisos quando uma convenção é swave. 

I miss home (mostly my husband) and I miss spicy food, eating with my hands and taking my shoes off indoors. I miss Laramie and am sad that there is a possibility that I may never return. I am sad that I'm not yet in Washington and I'm sad that Jim is stuck there without me.

Saldages é minha palavra favorite en la idioma português. E eu penso que é descritivo de a cultura beleza. Uma cultura com muito emoções linda e sentimental. As pesoas aqui é carinhosos e dulce. Eles pensam com suas emoções. E eu gosto disso. Tenho saldages pra meus amigos en Santa Catarina e eu terei muitos pra pesoas aqui, pierto de Brasília, e todo o país.

Challenges make you stronger.
Viagem é cultivo bonito. 

Looking at Brasilia

*I ended up going 5 days and it was tenho cinco dias sem inglês e é foi muito bom! Obrigada amigos Brasileiros! 

E mais uma coisa. Disculpa meio mal em português...Eu escrevi este no meu diário/jornal, depois de um mês de practca português :p 

For those of you who speak both languages...I didn't intend on the two different just happened as I journaled and switched languages...