Friday, May 8, 2009

A Weekend in OtR

Every time I think about what to blog about, my mind goes back to what I am about to do this weekend.

I'm taking a class this quarter called Intercultural Communication. It focuses on, well, intercultural communication. Basically, what goes on when someone enters a culture other than their own. The theories we look at try to pin down causes for and ways to decrease anxiety when entering a strange culture, social construction and understanding of speech codes and other things of this nature. I find most of it pretty interesting, mostly because I spent a couple of months in Colombia last summer, and I can really relate to a lot of the stuff we talk about.

Anyway, we have spent some time talking about the "homeless" community in Cincinnati and the fact that it is clearly a culture of its own. Students who are interested can take part in the "36 Hour Homeless Experience," where basically they take a bunch of steps to put themselves in the shoes (literally and figuratively) of homeless people. I decided to give it a shot. I'll be spending the weekend at The City Gospel Mission in OtR and running around doing a bunch of challenges in an attempt to get a better understanding of the homeless culture in Cincinnati. The bigger picture, I suppose, is to get a feel for what it is like to enter a foreign culture.

The reason I am going to do it is because I really like Over the Rhine, and I enjoy being around the people we will be hanging out with this weekend. Emily and I used to spend a lot of time at City Gospel Mission. They have a thing every Saturday morning called The Outlet, where people from the area who are down on their luck can go to hang out, get some coffee and shoot some pool or play cards (they have Twister sitting on the game table, but I've never seen anyone play it). We used to go most Saturdays and play Euchre. We made a lot of friends and heard some amazing stories. While some of the students who are going this weekend are freaking out, I'm really not nervous at all. I know the lay out and basically know what to expect, so it's no big deal. I don't need any help with knowing what it's like to go to a different culture. I was pretty much drop kicked in to one when I rolled solo in to Colombia. I just want to go this weekend because I like it. I used to spend a lot of time with the down-and-out in OtR, but lately I haven't. I'm hoping this weekend will spark some flames that seem to have died out over the last few months.

I'm catching a bus down to the mission this evening at 5:00 and will be back home Sunday morning. I'm not sure what I will be doing the whole time, as most of the details have been kept secret. I'll have some details posted for everyone early next week. Wish me luck!!

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