Monday, August 1, 2011


Well, I have officially finished my observations, so my field work is done. I still have a bunch of work left, such as expanding my notes, coding them, looking for parallels, etc. And don't forget the many papers I'm yet to write with the information I've gathered. I have a long road ahead of me in my project, but the fun part is just about over ;)

But I look forward to sharing my notes and findings with others, and to maintain the great friendships I've made here.

Something I've found while abroad is that we are all just humans and we basically want the same fundamental things. We just have different ways of going about it sometimes. In the context of families, and from what I've seen in my observations, mothers are mothers and children are children. Children are funny and say hilarious things, and mothers laugh and repeat the humor to friends. Children are sweet and sensitive and mothers cuddle them and love them. Children say something profound and mothers are proud and in awe. Children are naughty and mothers discipline them, with the hope that they are teaching them to be better people and learn from their mistakes.

I suppose I didn't expect families here to be much different. So what was I here to learn?
I think that I just wanted to see HOW families accomplish these things and live there day to day lives. Did I see that? What did I learn? As the field work section of my project comes to a close, and as I organize my thoughts and ideas, these will be the questions on my mind.

So, briefly, I will share something I've observed while carrying out my project. Life as a Tibetan refugee is difficult in many ways, but something that seems very difficult to me is the family set up. By this I mean that there are many mothers raising their children on their own because the fathers are either no longer in the picture, or, in most cases, they have moved to America of Europe in hopes to make more money. They leave their families behind, and see them once every few years, if that. It's a lot of work for these mothers to raise their children on their own, as well as working full-time and trying to learn English, Hindi, or both. One mother came over 7 years ago from Tibet and, because of where she lived, only learned Chinese. She didn't even know her native language of Tibetan. These women are very strong and dedicated to giving their children good lives, while they struggle financially, emotionally, and sometimes physically. But they love their children and they try to save money to give them a good education.

So this brings me back to my point. Although there are many differences cross-culturally, these families want their children to succeed and thrive; to be happy and loved and loving. Sound familiar?

1 comment:

  1. Good observations, and I agree with you on everything. It was fun coming with you and seeing the way the moms and their kids interact, and just seeing how much love the mothers had for their kids, even when the kids were being difficult. That mother-child love is such a common universal trait, wherever you look.
    I can't wait to read your papers and see what you're able to come up with. You see and notice so much more than me when it comes to families and just people in general, so I'll be interested to hear what you have to say!

    -Your Husband